Dr Ruth Galloway returns to the moody and beautiful landscape of North Norfolk to confront another killer. A devastating new case for our favourite forensic archaeologist in this acclaimed and bestselling crime series.
The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.
Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.
All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm…
The Night Hawks is yet another addictive, great read from Elly Griffiths. I love the Ruth Galloway series, and this one is no letdown. With multiple narrative strands converging into a gripping story featuring – of course – buried bodies – we revisit Ruth and her daughter Kate, back living in Norfolk as Ruth gets to grips with her new role as Head of Archaeology at the University of North Norfolk. A body is found on the beach by local metal detectorists, but no one knows who it is or why it ended up there. Then, the dead bodies start to pile up…
I love the character development we always get in these novels – they’re one of my favourite parts about the series, and Elly Griffith’s writing. You feel like you get to know them all so much more with each new novel – and this is, amazingly, the thirteenth in the series yet feels as addictive and intriguing as always.
Although there are of course dramatic moments, the plot never feels too over the top of ridiculous. It’s interesting reading about Nelson and his team as they lead the investigation from the police’s side, but I also love reading Ruth’s point of view and how she sees the case through historical, archaeological eyes. It’s a bit of a twist on the usual police/ crime story.
The other supporting characters are also great to read about – a new Ruth Galloway book really is like returning to old friends, and I await each one with excitement! If you’re new to the series I’d definitely recommend starting at the beginning, to get the most out of the characters, but you could easily read and still very much enjoy this novel as a standalone, too.