BLOG TOUR: Beware the Past by Joy Ellis

Winter sunrise over stream on the Lincolnshire Wolds
Winter sunrise over stream on the Lincolnshire Wolds


A stunning new standalone crime thriller from #1 best-selling author Joy Ellis.

Detective Matt Ballard is haunted by one traumatic case he never solved. In the 1990s three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was never satisfied that the real murderer had been caught.

25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope. It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. Taken before the murder.

More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, and intimate pictures of Matt’s secret relationship.

Another killing takes place, with some of the hallmarks of the old case. Has the killer returned or is this just a sick copycat determined to ruin Matt’s life and reputation?

 In an absolutely breathtaking conclusion, Matt and his colleagues, race against time to stop a vicious killer who knows no limits.

The setting

Rural fenland is a strange place, with its never-ending fields, winding tracks, and long straight droves that lead to nowhere. The lonely lanes are flanked either side by deep drainage ditches and are, for a good part of the year, filled with tall, whispering reeds. Closer to the Wash, high seabanks form a barrier between river and marsh, and the richly fertile soil of the drained land. But when the mists come down, as they so often do, perspective is destroyed and all sense of direction lost, and then the fens become a rather frightening place of mystery and danger. Somewhere that you do not want to be at night.

My Review

Joy Ellis is, probably, my favourite author and I was very much looking forward to reading this stand-alone book.  This book comes shortly after Thieves on the Fens and I absolutely loved that book so much I really doubted it could be bettered but then along comes this one and now I am thinking WOW the books just get better and better I wonder what she will come up with next.

Matt is haunted by a case many years ago when 3 11 year old boys were brutally murdered.  The suspect died before his guilt could be confirmed and there was always a niggle of doubt about whether the sadistic killer was dead or still out there.  He made a promise to his colleague that he would put the case to bed and with retirement approaching his plan is to put the case to bed once and for all.

When photos start arriving it calls in to question whether the murderer from the 1990s is actually dead or is still out there.  As more photos arrive it is clear that someone is out to mess with Matt’s head.  With his whole team in danger and everyone running around in circles the race is on to unravel the clues before someone gets hurt.

Matt has lost everyone he loved and has built barriers around his heart but someone is tearing them down and the person behind the photos is collecting ammunition to fire as and when he or she sees fit.

This book starts at a fast, adrenaline pumping pace and that pace picks up as the book progresses as the reader turns page after page.  At no point did I guess the unsub I was as flummoxed as the team and as more and more people are drafted in to help they all begin to doubt if they will ever be able to identify the person behind the clues before someone gets hurt.

Beware the past is a psychological thriller at its very best as the reader is given an insight into the mind of the insane.  Joy has created something that I never thought possible.  The reader develops a clear insight into the mind of the character as we journey through many twists, turns, highs and lows we wonder if there will ever be an ending and when we get to that ending it is certainly not what I was expecting.

This is the best book I have read this year if not the best book ever.  Definitely worth 6 stars out of 5.

Joy+and+the+boys+039+jpgJOY ELLIS


700,000 books sold and rising!

“I was born in Kent but spent most of my working life in London and Surrey. I was an apprentice florist to Constance Spry Ltd, a prestigious Mayfair shop that throughout the sixties and seventies teemed with both royalty and ‘real’ celebrities. What an eye-opener for a working-class kid from the Garden of England! I swore then, probably whilst I was scrubbing the floor or making the tea, that I would have a shop of my own one day. It took until the early eighties, but I did it. Sadly the recession wiped us out, and I embarked on a series of weird and wonderful jobs; the last one being a bookshop manager. Surrounded by books all day, getting to order whatever you liked, and being paid for it! Oh bliss!

And now I live in a village in the Lincolnshire Fens with my partner, Jacqueline, and our two second generation Springer spaniels. I had been writing mysteries for years but never had the time to take it seriously. Now I can, and as my partner is a highly decorated retired police officer; my choice of genre was suddenly clear. I have set my crime thrillers here in the misty fens because I sincerely love the remoteness and airy beauty of the marshlands. This area is steeped in superstitions and lends itself so well to murder!”




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