Both cases become stranger when Wesley realises they are linked to a sinister manhunt, mirroring events from the time of the Napoleonic Wars. Why did the teenage victims take part in an online game called Blood Hunt, which they were eventually persuaded to play for real?
Then a skeleton is found near the place where the dead teenagers were last seen alive and Wesley finally has to face a terrible truth . . . and a hunt to the death.
Tragic events from the past link Carmel with new-kid-on-the-block DI Joe Plantagenet, who, with his new boss, DCI Emily Thwaite, faces the unenviable task of identifying the killer before he claims another victim. The victims appear to have nothing in common but the manner of their deaths, but as Joe's investigations lead him to a pub with a sinister history, he is forced to consider that the case may have occult connections. Then Carmel becomes aware of a malevolent presence in her new flat and, when she starts to receive mysterious threats, it is Joe she turns to first. And that is when Joe is forced to get into the mind of a cunning - and scarily ruthless - killer.
Some paths lead only to the grave . . .
Strangefields Farm is notorious for its sinister history ever since artist Jackson Temples lured young women there to model for disturbing works of art. Some of those girls never left the house alive.
Now, decades later, Strangefields is to be transformed into a holiday village, but the developer's hopes of its dark history being forgotten are dashed when a skull is found on the site. And when a local florist is found murdered in an echo of Temples' crimes, DI Wesley Peterson fears that a copy-cat killer is at large. Especially when another brutal murder in a nearby village appears to be linked.
As Wesley's friend, archaeologist Dr Neil Watson, uncovers the secrets of Strangefields' grisly past, it seems that an ancient tale of the dead returning to torment the living might not be as fantastical as it seems. And Wesley must work fast to discover who's behind the recent murders . . . before someone close to him is put in danger.
What readers are saying about Kate Ellis:
'A beguiling author who interweaves past and present' The Times
'Kate Ellis has got to be one of my favourite authors' Reader review, 5 stars
'I loved this novel . . . a powerful story of loss, malice and deception' Ann Cleeves
'The chilling plot will keep you spooked and thrilled to the end' Closer
'Another brilliant book that keeps you gripped' Reader review, 5 stars
'Kate has you spellbound' Reader review, 5 stars
'A fine storyteller, weaving the past and present in a way that makes you want to read on' Peterborough Evening Telegraph
The whole family soon settles down to its new life near Falmouth, feeling comfortable and happy there, when suddenly the local maritime community around them is stunned by a murder in their midst. A young man is found stabbed and propped up against an ancient standing stone at the crossroads of two narrow lanes overlooking the water, a place where legend says a gibbet once stood.
It is DCI Channon's territory, and when he investigates he finds that the victim is connected to all the Pascoes, including the absent father, as well as to other residents of what was once a humble fishing village but which now includes out-of-towners with considerable wealth. The ramifications of the murder affect everybody; rumour and suspicion are rife, and Channon, aided by the abrasive Sergeant Bowles, find that the murder at the crossroads is one of his most difficult cases.
Praise for Olive Etchells
'The most unnerving crimes of violence are the ones that tear apart small, tightly-knit communities... and Etchells demonstrates this awful process of disintergration.' New York Times Book Review
'Etchells' smoothly written police procedural features an intuitive and sensitive hero, Detective Chief Inspector Channon... (his) compassion for the families of the victims, as well as his ability to synthesise information, leaves the reader eager to see more of him.' Publishers Weekly
'A quiet but suspenseful village mystery' Booklist
Sixteenth century Potwoolstan Hall, now a New Age healing centre, is reputed to be cursed because of the crimes of its builder, and it seems that inheritance of evil lives on as DI Wesley Peterson is faced with his most disturbing case yet. As more people die violently, Wesley needs to discover why a young woman has transformed a dolls house into a miniature reconstruction of the massacre scene. And could the solution to his case lie across the Atlantic Ocean, in the ruined remains of an early English settlement in Virginia USA?
When the truth is finally revealed, it turns out to be as horrifying as it is dangerous...
The staff at Stoley's Boatyard were used to holidaymakers returning their pleasure cruisers a little late after a week or so exploring the network of waterways around Norchester. They were not used to finding their yachts burned almost beyond recognition with the charred remains of a client still aboard.
Taking on the murder investigation, Chief Inspector George Gently faces an enquiry like no other he has ever handled. Somewhere beneath the lies of the victim's wife, somewhere obscured by the brittle edge of her daughter's fear, somewhere hidden by her son's hysteria, lies the truth.
Gently's only hope is to sweep aside the litter of chaos and confusion to uncover the identity of the killer.
Why had the deceased villain and two of his friends been spending money like it was going out of fashion? Where had they acquired the cash? Why had they strayed from their usual haunts? Why did Taylor's friends both disappear? In the kind of town where everyone usually knows everything about their neighbours, there are a few surprises in store for the locals and the investigation becomes ever more sinister when one of Taylor's cronies is also found dead. The race is on to find the third man before the killer can claim him as another victim.
Meanwhile, archaeologist Neil Watson has discovered a number of skeletons in nearby Tailors Court that bear marks of dissection and might be linked to tales of body snatching by a rogue physician in the sixteenth century. But when Neil finds the bones of a child buried with a 1930s coin, the investigation takes a sinister turn.
Who were the children evacuated to Tailors Court during World War II? And where are they now? When a link is established between the wartime evacuees and Dr Dalcott's death, Wesley is faced with his most challenging case yet.
At Morbay register office a terrified young girl makes her wedding vows. And a few days later her bridegroom is found dead in a seedy seaside hotel. As Wesley investigates he suspects that his death and his bride's subsequent disappearance might be linked to Kirsten's murder. Meanwhile the skeleton of a young female is found buried in a farmer's field - a field that once belonged to the family of Ralph Strong, an Elizabethan playwright whose play, 'The Fair Wife of Padua' is to be performed for the first time in four hundred years.
Is this bloodthirsty play a confession to a murder committed in the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1? Or does it tell another story, one that might cast light on recent mysteries?
Had she gotten too close to one of the married men?
Was she the victim of blackmail? Of a stalker?
Or was there some far more nefarious motive at stake?
The list of suspects takes Jessie into wealthy, manicured neighborhoods, behind the veil of seemingly perfect lives, lives which are actually rotten to the core. The killer, she realizes, must lie behind one of these fake, plastic smiles.
Jessie must plumb the depths of his psychosis as she tries to both catch a killer and hold her own fragile psyche together—with her own murderous father on the loose, willing to stop at nothing until he kills her.
A fast-paced psychological suspense thriller with unforgettable characters and heart-pounding suspense, THE PERFECT SMILE is book #4 in a riveting new series that will leave you turning pages late into the night.
Book #5 in the Jessie Hunt series will be available soon.
The dead woman's husband may be linked with a brutal robbery of computer equipment but Wesley soon discovers that the victim had secrets of her own. As he investigates Chadleigh Hall's past and the woman's violent death, both trails lead in surprising directions and matters are further complicated when a man wanted for a murder in London appears on the scene, a man who may know more about Wesley's cases than he admits...