Publication: 4th February 2021 – Quercus
Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series.
The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.
Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.
All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …
The Night Hawks is the thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloway series and I will say what I have been saying about the previous books: Ruth and DCI Nelson’s complicated relationship is still interesting and entertaining, Cathbad is my favourite character, the plot is suspenseful and gripping and the list of suspects is long and well-built and I never figure out the truth until it is revealed.
Let’s start by talking about the mystery. A body is found on the beach of Norfolk by the Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists who search for treasure during the night. Not only they found a body, but also ancient weapons and skull and that’s why DCI Nelson calls Ruth on the scene. While Nelson starts the investigation, he is called to another murder scene at Black Dog Farm, locally famous for its legend of the Black Shuck, a huge dog that it is a sign of impending death.
On the personal side, we see Ruth facing the fact that her daughter Kate is now ten years old, a few years short of becoming a teenager, and she already spends much time on her phone, goes to many birthday parties and sleepovers. In the meantime, DCI Nelson is trying to avoid his boss, Super Jo, who is pressuring him to retire, and he struggles with his loyalty to his wife and his family and his love for Ruth and Kate.
The Night Hawks is another win from Elly Griffiths. I loved the dark atmosphere and the sense of dread coming from Black Dog Farm that gave the story a chilling horror movie element. The story is riveting and captivating and, as usual, the incredible cast of characters kept me glued to the pages. Highly recommended!
A huge thank you to Quercus and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.