Detective Inspector Nikki Galena is tough on criminals. Too tough. Now no one in the station wants to work with her, and she's been given a final warning: make it work with her new sergeant, or she's out for good.
Her new partner, Detective Sergeant Joseph Easter, has a history of his own and has come to Nikki's patch for a fresh start. Nikki is less than enthusiastic about working with a man whose nickname is "Holy Joe," but she knows an ultimatum when she hears one.
Galena and Easter have more than enough to keep them busy. The town is being terrorized by gangs of thugs wearing identical frightening masks. As their incursions into the generally peaceful town increase, a talented female student goes missing in the marsh, and every hour they don't find her means the chance lessens of finding her alive. These two detectives have to put their pasts behind them to save her life and to bring peace back to their town.
Crime on the Fens came highly recommended by a fellow friend and book blogger, so I thoroughly expected to enjoy it. What surprised me a bit was just how much I did. When the book opens, Nikki Galena is a world class witch (you know what I really mean), and even though she has good reason to whirl through town like the Tasmanian Devil of Warner Brothers fame, I wasn't going to be able to put up with her if she remained like that for the entire book. (I don't like to root for the bad guys to kill the hero after all.) However, there's good news: Galena knows she's got to straighten up and fly right, and she's intelligent enough to know she's got to change. I do like off-the-rails characters who are capable of showing some control.
Although initially suspicious of each other (their reputations have preceded them), Galena and Easter work well together, and I enjoyed getting to know other members of the team, like Vonnie and Niall in their patrol car and Dave, whom most consider to be past his sell-by date. What's rather heartwarming to see is how the mood of the entire station brightens when Galena begins to reclaim her humanity. There's also a bonus for animal lovers reading the book: keep your eye on a spaniel named Swampy. He doesn't appear often, but his scenes are choice.
This is a fast-paced read and has an excellent multi-layered mystery. Add this to the setting and the cast of characters, and I've just savored the first book in a series that I'm definitely going to keep reading. If you're a fan of British police procedurals, give Crime on the Fens a try.
Crime on the Fens by Joy Ellis
Joffe Books © 2016
eBook, 285 pages
Police Procedural, #1 DI Nikki Galena mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon.