Print Length: 294 pages
Publisher: Joffee Books (January 26, 2022)

From Goodreads.com:  A dead body. Drugs residue. No fingerprints. Foul play?

At first PC Marnie Olsen thinks the man in the car is asleep. But the lack of movement and strange tilt of the head are a dead giveaway.

The only clue is a book signed by local author Juliette Kimani, who is holding court at the Wiltshire literary festival.

This could be a real breakthrough. If only Juliette Kimani wasn’t flatly denying ever having met the man . . .

Detective Craig Wild discovers that the victim was using a fake name. He must have been involved in something dark.

If Wild can find the man’s real identity he might just crack this case. But first he must deal with some very dangerous people. They’ll do whatever it takes to keep the truth buried. How far will Wild go to make sure the truth comes out . . . ?

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My Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This was one of those rare novels that while the action may be slow, it is just intriguing enough to keep you turning the page. I very much enjoyed aspects of this story. To begin with Detective Wild was one of those "skirt the line" kind of cops that make for an interesting story (although I cannot believe the number of times he got away with skirting that line or in one case blatantly stepping over it, and not getting into trouble). 

I enjoyed the balance between him and his not-quite partner Marnie, the way they are still trying to navigate working together. Marnie definitely comes across as the more empathetic of the duo, and I enjoyed the way they played off of each other during interviews (and even when they were just bouncing ideas off of one another). I feel like they are going to be quite the force to reckon with as this series goes on, and I can't wait to see how they continue to evolve as characters. 

The story itself is an interesting one, filled with some twists and turns that make you sit back and go "wow".  There were times when I thought I had it figured out, but then the author would throw in another twist (or victim) which forced me to re-evaluate my thoughts. And just when you think everything has been resolved? You get thrown a curveball that leaves you incapable of NOT reading on to see just what in the heck was going on. And oh man, the one twist? I'm still shaking my head over that one! 

While this is the second in the series, I had no trouble understanding it, and it does work well as a stand-alone. At first, I assumed that the first novel covered just what exactly happened to him that landed him in Mayberry to begin with (something that is alluded to several times throughout the novel with nothing definitive being said), but from what I saw of the synopsis, this series kicks off with him already being a part of the Mayberry team. 

I definitely think this story will appeal to those who enjoy police procedural novels (especially those set in the UK), and I will read more from this author!

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.

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                                    West Country Murder is available from Amazon.com
                                             (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)