Lead Review

  • Book: Holy Island
  • Location: Lindisfarne (Holy Island)
  • Author: L J Ross

Review Author: Tina Hartas



Holy Island is the first in the DCI Ryan crime mystery series (The Infirmary is a prequel) and this is where the cult figure of the investigative policeman was born. There are Facebook pages devoted to him and to the settings across all the novels, to which the reader will be transported in the beautiful North East area of England.

There is much debate on the pages about which actor might best play this man, with “a razor-sharp mind underneath that pretty exterior the girls seemed to love”. Over the ever expanding series, DCI Ryan has developed into a caring personality, with heart and humour, and quite some tragedy.

Holy Island – also known as Lindisfarne – is a spiritual island off the north east coast of England. The tide makes it inaccessible twice a day (many tourists have seen their cars stuck on the causeway when they have ignored the strict crossing times). It is a perfect setting for a murder, and young Lucy is the opening victim, her body found up at the Priory, laid out in a very specific way. Ryan (not forgetting that his full name is Maxwell Charles Finley-Ryan) happens to be taking a well-earned sabbatical on the island and of course is the first port of call to investigate!

In this, no. 1 of the series, it is the first time that Ryan and Dr Anna Taylor meet. The team members who come to  feature prolifically in the subsequent novels start to be introduced. Mix murder with a bit of local life and colour, a splash of pagan ritual and some stunning scenery and you are all set for a series.

Each book in the series can be read as a standalone but perhaps this is the optimum place to start.

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