Review: Storm on the Levels (Detective Kate Hamblin Mystery #12) by David Hodges


Print Length: 270 pages
Publisher: Jofee Books (October 17, 2023)

From Multiple murder strikes at the very heart of the desolate Somerset Levels in the midst of the worst snow storm to hit the south west of England in more than a generation. On their way home from a short break, Detective Sergeant Kate and her partner, Hayden, are stranded in a lonely country lane when Kate’s car breaks down. Forced to take shelter in the isolated Warneford Hall Hotel, which is allegedly haunted by a faceless ghost, the detectives find themselves stuck there for several days, cut off from all lines of communication with the outside world.

When one of a group of former university graduates staying at the hotel drowns in the hotel’s lake in suspicious circumstances, Kate and Hayden are pitched into a complex murder investigation, which is to tax every ounce of resolve they possess without any prospect of backup and with a ghostly apparition watching their every move from the shadows. As the body count starts to mount, they find that they are up against a clever, twisted adversary who has no intention of quitting until whatever perverse force is driving them is satisfied.

But as they delve ever deeper into the secrets buried in the gloom of the old hotel - in particular behind the locked door of the mysterious clocktower - the hunters end up becoming the hunted, with the deadly trap that has already been set for them promising to abruptly end their investigation along with their lives in truly horrific style…


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

This was my first foray into reading this series as well as this author, and based upon this story, it will probably be my last. 

The first issue that I had with this novel is the fact that there are just way too many characters involved. I often found myself having to re-read passages as I tried to remember just who was who. The second issue is that, absolutely none of them are likable in the least. 

Not even our married police couple Kate and Hayden. In fact, I found it hard to believe that these two were married given the way they constantly seemed to be going at one another. In fact, the first time we meet this couple, he criticizes her for her use of "foul language" after their car breaks down in the middle of a blizzard, and she thinks him "overweight and lazy" when he scoffs at the idea of having to walk to find shelter from said blizzard. 

But that is only the beginning, numerous times throughout this story, the two of them are either sniping at one another (as she tends to rush in headfirst while he takes the time to consider things), or thinking unkind thoughts about the other. At no time, did I actually buy that those two had a happy marriage. 

And then we move into the plot itself. While the story had the potential to be a page turning thriller, a lot of things just rubbed me the wrong way. Maybe it began when every vehicle that had been parked at the hotel was suddenly (and inexplicitly)  disabled. Or maybe when ALL of the cell phones belonging to the people stranded at the hotel (including those of the two police officers) went missing and no one (not even said police officers) bothered to look for them. 

There were a lot of implausible, if not downright laughable scenarios happening throughout this book that it was a struggle for me to finish at all. However, if you are already a fan of this series, and the author's writing style, then you may enjoy it more than I did. 
DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

                                         Storm on the Levels is available on
                                           (for free if your subscribe to Kindle Unlimited) 

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