Review: The Ravenswood Murders (Detective Alice Rossi #2) by Helen H. Durrant


Print Length: 233 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books (November 16, 2023)

From Day 1. A young woman’s body is found in a shallow grave in the woods, buried in a white shroud. She’s been dead for a week. Her teeth are smashed in, her lips stitched together. Her hands are missing.

She’s the fourth young woman found like this.

With no witnesses, no clues and no leads to follow, the investigation is going nowhere.

That’s when Detective Alice Rossi is called in.

Alice knows this case is a poisoned chalice. Not least because she has a new team to contend with — who don’t like being bossed around by a woman.

Day 2. Sixteen-year-old Maggie Hewson is reported missing. She never came home from school, and her father is beside himself.

Will she be the fifth girl to die?


My Rating: 2 stars out of 5

I am normally a big fan of this author's works, but this one just felt off to me. For starters there were a LOT of little inconsistencies that I hope were fixed prior to publication. However, because I did read an advanced copy of this novel, I have no way of knowing if they were and can only speak on what I DID read. 

To begin with it, it is plainly stated that the HANDS of the victims were cut off, but then when Alice goes to the PM of this new victim she is told that the coroner "ran prints" but they weren't in the database.  Ran prints on what exactly? Then the first time she meets Ralph he tells her that he can't see things far away, but then shows her the magnifying glass he uses to read his ledgers and claims to not be able to see things close up? And then he *spoiler alerts* later on? I mean which is it? 

We then have Alice and Hawkes interviewing Ralph at a later date. They tell him they will be back with a search warrant (in fact, Alice has already agreed to meet the lead Forensics person there at 2pm), and yet suddenly the search is put off? And I don't mean put off by a couple of hours, I mean Alice tells Hawkes that they are taking the following day off and will execute the search warrant the day after that. 

Added to that, I was getting pretty fed up with the sheer amount of characters who kept saying they had information, but "couldn't possibly say" because they would be killed. Look, we get it. There are some dangerous people involved in this story, but this was just overkill. And a few of those "bad guys" were either too stupid, or too over the top to even be remotely believable. 

The rest of the story went much the same way. People lie, Alice confronts them, they continue to withhold information (either on the grounds they will be killed if they talk or just because they are enjoying the game). But then, just when all hope seems lost, another member of Alice's team goes into a bar that is apparently frequented by cops (and criminals), yet the bartender is all too willing to shed insight and key factors into another part of the investigation for no reason other than someone (another cop nonetheless) mentions the person in question. A little too convenient if you ask me. 

All things considered, I will read more from this author. I will even give this series another chance, but if I keep seeing all of these little issues in the future, I might have to take a step back for awhile. 

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.

                                        The Ravenswood Murders is available on
                                                 (for free if you subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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