Title: Murder in Shades of Wood and Stone
Series: DS Charlie Rees: Book Two
Author: Ripley Hayes
Publisher: Amazon/Kindle Unlimited
Length: 269 Pages
Category: Murder Mystery
Rating: 5 Stars
At a Glance: Ripley Hayes penned an effective cat-and-mouse challenge in this installment of the DS Charlie Rees series. Watching Charlie and his team grow closer is almost as rewarding as seeing Charlie fall head over heels into his relationship with Tom.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: An early morning phone call. A dead teenager. A bunch of hostile witnesses with a wedding to attend.
Charlie Rees was enjoying the calm after the storm in Llanfair. He thought he and Tom Pennant might get some peaceful time together. Maybe even fall in love. Not a chance.
As Charlie battles to get justice for a murdered boy, Tom has his own battle to save the art college and his career.
Review: If Ripley Hayes set out to write a sequel in the DS Charlie Rees mystery series that would make me like him more—not that I didn’t like him before, understand—she by all means succeeded. Charlie carries quite a bit of baggage into this series, in the form of his mother’s voice; the voice in his head that says he’s unworthy of happiness and makes him question his intellect is decidedly that of his hag of a mother. His every expectation is that failure is on the immediate horizon both in his job and his relationship with Tom Pennant. Charlie is slowly learning that voice is wrong, though, and the fulfillment of his happiness, while still a work-in-progress, is within reach thanks to the events in Murder in Shades of Wood and Stone.
While the relationship conflicts run deep, it’s the current of the recent murders in the small village of Llanfair that keep this book flowing briskly. There is much going on beneath the surface of the murders, a whole other set of crimes that run parallel to them. And this while Tom is facing a major challenge of his own—that of a small but vocal group who is fighting to have an art instructor reinstated at the art school. A man who happens to be guilty as hell of a racketeering scheme and murder, but the police don’t have the evidence to prove it. Yet.
Hayes penned an effective cat-and-mouse challenge in this installment of the series. Readers suspect we know who the killer is. Charlie and his small but determined police force believe they know who the killer is. The test is to prove it, but to do so they must identify the pawns first. And then get their confessions, which at times feels like a zero-sum game. There is big money behind them, and while the saying may be “money talks,” in this case it also buys silence.
Seeing Mal Kent is a great bonus, as always, as is watching Charlie grow into his role as the able sergeant Mal believed he would be. Watching Charlie and his team grow closer, albeit Evan is still playing the role of the spurned asshat at times, is almost as rewarding as seeing Charlie fall head over heels into his relationship with Tom. Found family is the happily ever after, and Charlie more than deserves it.
You can buy Murder in Shades of Wood and Stone here: