Monday, July 01, 2024

Death in a Lonely Place by Stig Abell

First Line: You can see it, if you like, as a thick sheaf of papers, a breeze flicking curiously through them, each page another account of a crime committed, a life ruined, someone's thoughtless desires satisfied without challenge or recourse to justice.
Former police detective Jake Jackson's life is just about perfect. The little country village offers him the peace and friendship he craves. He tends to his chickens, swims in his lake, and spends as much time as possible with his new love, Livia. 
But every detective has an unsolved case that won't let him be. The cold case brought to his door drags Jake reluctantly into the shadowy world of a secret group called No Taboo that serves the no-holds-barred, spare-no-expense whims of Britain's elite. When Livia accepts a position working for a powerful publishing mogul, Jake begins to wonder if the billionaire could be connected to No Taboo.

But No Taboo will go to any lengths to protect its secrets. Jake not only doesn't know whom he can trust, he's put himself and others in mortal danger.


I fell under the main character's spell in Stig Abell's first book, Death Under a Little Sky, and I did it again with Death in a Lonely Place. Jake Jackson has almost convinced me that I would love to live his life. He has no near neighbors. He's given fields and trees literary names. He inherited a wonderful crime fiction library where he can sit and read by the fire in the evenings. He has nature at his doorstep and a lake to swim in... if only there were a few more amenities like hot, running water in the house.

Abell makes his setting live and breathe, and I always look out for the heron who's a regular visitor on Jake's property. The author puts me in tune with the earth and sky, and I love it.

I was wondering how this second book would deal with crime once again coming to such a small, isolated community, and Jake's old cold case was the perfect way to do it. None of the villagers were connected to the case, and Jake found out just how many friends he'd made. Although I am rather tired of plot devices involving secret gangs of the super-rich doing whatever they want, the one called No Taboo was handled very well-- and with a surprising bad guy.

As much as I love Jake and the remote setting, I still think it's going to be interesting to see what the author does in future installments. Livia and her daughter Diana can be used as threats only so many times before I, for one, will start rolling my eyes. But Abell did very well in this second book, so I'm looking forward to seeing what he does in the third.

Death in a Lonely Place by Stig Abell
eISBN: 9780063381124
HarperCollins © 2024
eBook, 352 pages
Literary Mystery, #2 Jake Jackson
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. You make an interesting point, Cathy, about using characters' friends and loved ones to ramp up the tension. That doesn't work for very long. Still, this one does sound interesting, and I'm already enjoying the setting just from your description of it.

  2. I wondered also about the possibilities of continuing crime in such a remote community, and am glad that Abell has a successful second entry with these characters. I'm looking forward to reading this after a little while; I have stacks of other books demanding attention, and it still feels too soon since I enjoyed his first one.

    1. I think we share even more reading DNA than I first thought. Some folks can binge-read their way through all an author's books, but I can't do that. I have to mix it up. It sounds like you might feel the same way.

    2. Some authors write 'popcorn' books that are easy and fun to read and move to the next one. That variety I can binge, at least for a while. But the meatier books that have more of an impact require time to digest as part of the enjoyment. Binge reading would actually reduce the pleasure in those cases for me. Abell's first book was definitely in the latter category.

    3. I don't binge-read any author because I've learned that, if I do, I'll pick up on any of an author's quirks-- like using the same descriptive phrases over and over, etc.-- and it distracts me from the story.


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