Devil's Way by Robert Bryndza

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Devil's Way, the fourth in the Kate Marshall series, is another page turning mystery from Bryndza who writes a very readable thriller. Kate is recovering in hospital after nearly drowning when Jean the woman in the bed next to her, tells her the harrowing story of her 3-year-old grandson, Charlie, who went missing during a camping trip on Dartmoor eleven years earlier. His body was never recovered and the police have ruled it as a drowning. Kate agrees to investigate and she and her partner Tristan begin to uncover what really happened. Did Charlie drown? What details has his grandmother Jean left out in her story? Was the brutal murder of a social worker connected to his disappearance?

There are multiple twists and turns to the story as Kate examines the minute details of what happened at the time. Fans of police procedurals will enjoy the descriptions of the use of DNA, the necessity to examine happenings that do not seem related and interview witnesses, even while Kate uses her extraordinary powers of deduction and intuition to solve the mystery of the disappearance of Charlie.

Dartmoor serves as a wonderful background to the story. Bryndza paints a vivid picture of the brooding moors, bogs into which people can disappear and an ancient tree which people believe has the power to heal them when they pin a cloth to its branches. This background gives a sinister tone to the story especially as Kate is slowly recovering from her near drowning experience and is not physically at the top of her game.

Devil’s way can be read as a standalone and readers may want to find other books in the series, Nine elms, Shadow sands and Darkness falls, or try The wych elm by Tana French.

Themes: Missing persons, Murder, Police procedure.

Pat Pledger