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Under a Silent Moon is a departure from the previous books by Elizabeth Haynes as this is more of a police procedural than a psychological thriller.

This book follows an investigation into two deaths discovered in Morden Village. Using dispatch logs, emails and some nifty charts representing the work of a police intelligent analyst which was the author's previous job. The first body found was that of Polly, a beautiful woman who had many liaisons throughout her time in the village. Polly was found by a friend, bludgeoned to death in her cottage. Soon afterwards the police were reporting to Taryn Lewis that her father Brian Fletcher-Norman was in hospital having suffered a heart-attack and her stepmother had been found dead after her car plunged into a nearby quarry. The police soon suspect that these two deaths `under a silent moon' may be connected.

Each of the six days the investigation took forms the chapters of the book, these are further broken up by the timings detailing the information and decisions being made by the police as well as the actions of the other characters in the village. I found this interesting but it did take a while to get into the book until the characters became more defined. There is the obligatory relationship problems between DCI Louisa Smith and her team, especially Andy Hamilton who have history! The characters are mainly fairly unlikeable, even poor Polly who is now dead but that just gives the reader more perpetrators to choose from.

A good read which is probably best read in as few sessions as possible to allow the investigation to flow and for the reader to immerse themselves in trying to guess whodunit.
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on 2 December 2014
Have enjoyed all the authors previous books but this one was a struggle from start to finish and just never got anywhere. By the end had got past caring who had murdered who, who was having affairs with who. And don't start me off on the love life's and the almost sexual death of police team member . Barely makes a two star and that only because of her previous books
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on 30 April 2017
Another great book from this author. Many twists and turns throughout the book as usual. Look forward to the next one.
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on 15 March 2015
Really enjoyed this book second in the series hoping that there is another one to follow like the lady inspector theme for a change
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A young woman is found brutally murdered in her cottage, and her female neighbour is later found dead at the bottom of the local quarry, having apparently driven her car over the edge. The coincidence of two deaths happening at the same time in a small village lead the police to think they may be linked, so newly promoted Louisa Smith finds her first case as DCI leading the Major Crime team head is to investigate both. She soon discovers that the murder victim Polly has been the cause of jealousy in more than one relationship around the village, and that she also had links to local gangster Nigel Maitland, on whom the police have never been able to get enough evidence to charge with anything...

This is probably the most 'procedural' police procedural I've read. Haynes, who apparently was a police intelligence analyst for several years in real life, gives a very detailed and convincing picture of how a police investigation works. She includes copies of reports, departmental e-mails and other case documents as a method of providing a feeling of verisimilitude to her story. On the whole this works well - Haynes keeps it down to a level where it remains interesting. However, she also includes fairly in-depth descriptions of team meetings and briefings, and while these make the investigation feel very realistic they also slow the plot down a little too much. The picture that most investigations are probably 90% routine tedium is, I'm sure, more accurate than the usual action-fest, but perhaps the book veers a little too much towards authenticity at the expense of entertainment on occasion.

The plot is complex and interesting, if a bit patchy at times - the obvious gets overlooked or we revert back to something that has already been considered earlier and dismissed. There are a couple of fairly lengthy episodes of S&M sex but, while the detail is considerably more graphic than necessary, they are integral to the plot. Some of the characterisation is excellent, particularly of the police officers, while in other cases it can be a bit superficial and less credible, and occasionally Haynes changes a character's personality midway through to fit in with a twist in the plot. DCI Smith herself is an appealing detective - ambitious and hard-working and without the usual angst issues. She has a fairly strong moral code which she tries hard to live up to and is a conscientious boss, loyal to her colleagues.

Overall, I found this a good read - not perfect, but with some solid writing and original touches that lifted it well above average. I don't know whether Haynes intends to make this into a series, but I'd be happy to meet Louisa Smith and her colleagues again. Recommended.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Little, Brown Book Group UK.
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'Under a Silent Moon' is the first police/procedural novel I have read by Elizabeth Haynes. As a former Intelligence Analyst, she brings a great deal of inside information into this series. Included in this novel are daily briefings in the morning and evening, case documents, charts and files of the on-going case, and a copy if the IBM's Analyst Notebook Software. There is also a name for the investigation, which occurs in every case. This one is called, 'Op Nettle'. As the author states, this book is intended to simulate an authentic murder investigation . I found this fascinating and added to the case.

Dispatch Logs opens this case, and along with the briefings and analysis, we are given emails between the characters, texts of phone messages, and the thoughts of the characters involved, police and the public. This is the first murder case for DCI Louisa Smith, and she wants to make it her own, she wants it solved, she wants specific communication and interaction between the participants. During the course of the case, we discover, she is excellent at her job. A young woman has been found murdered, her face beaten to a pulp. She lives in a wealthy community, inhabited by those who go to lunch, some have jobs but they all have some money, some more, some less. Most are upstanding individuals, but there are those with the criminal element, and they all are not just the public.

The interaction between DCI Smith and her team is crucial to this book. This is how a murder case is looked at and solved. The everyday updates,the plodding, tiring work. The office romances, the after work drinking at the pub, the relationships developed and reduced. All the while, the main focus is to find the culprit responsible for the murders, since another one has been discovered. The case moves along rapidly, and we are with the officers every step of the way. We get to know them, and we get to know the other characters. This is fine writing, very involved and intricate at times. I enjoyed this style of police/procedural, and will follow DCI Smith, as her caseload increases.

Recommended. prisrob 04-05-16
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on 14 June 2016
Polly has been found dead in her cottage. Barbara has also been found dead in her car at the bottom of a quarry. Can DCI Louisa Smith find the connection between the two deaths.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book which features Lou Smith and she has to solve the two deaths in a small community, with Polly being the centre of it all.

I thought this book was clever and done very well. Elizabeth Haynes has drawn on her own experiences as an analyst and featured them in the story.

What I do enjoy about Elizabeth Haynes books is that they are all different. Every book up to yet have focused on something entirely different.

The story for me had plenty to offer with a good mixture of characters which no doubt will appear again in further books. The story had plenty of twists and turns and although it wasn't quite edge of seat was a worthy thriller.

An enjoyable thriller with good characters which have room for more developments in future books.
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This book follows the investigative process with DCI Louisa Smith who is leading this enquiry as her first. She will get some things very right and make a few mistakes, one of which will be crucial. The book is written very much following the process and even includes documents such as witness statements to show how this is done.

I like paperwork and forms so I liked the way in which the information was revealed here. I like systems and processes so I really enjoyed seeing exactly how such an investigation would work. I saw this as a great strength of this book and it gripped me. Where the book suffered because of the way in which it was told was that I lost track of who was who once or twice and how the two families were connected. Maybe I needed more documents ! There was a lot of emphasis also on the lives of the police officers and that also detracted from the murder suspects' characterisations.

I was gripped by this book but I really wished that the author hadn't made Louisa's sex life part of the plot. It woudl have been nice to see her as a strong woman without knowing who she had slept with and who she wanted to - I suppose that it made her seem more real but for me it detracted from her role as a woman in authority by making her colleagues seem like conquests rather than colleagues.

In the end the book was slightly too long and I did get the characters mixed up a few times in my head but on the whole I really enjoyed this book and liked its unusual style. I received a free copy from the publishers via NetGalley.
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Under A Silent Moon is something of a new direction for Elizabeth Haynes and follows a murder investigation headed up by DCI Louisa Smith. Told over a six-day period and interspersed with source documents, readers are able to interpret the evidence alongside Lou and her team.

A suspected murder and a suspected suicide - both on the same night, both victims living within yards of each other, both victims linked to many of the same people. Lou Smith is the newly-appointed Detective Chief Inspector, this is the first time she's been in charge of a murder investigation and she is determined that the killer will not get away.

Elizabeth Haynes has delivered a well-researched, incredibly well-written crime novel. Her vast knowledge gained when working as a police intelligence analyst is apparent throughout the story, this is an exciting, compelling and extremely gripping crime drama. Lou and her team are characters that are so realistic that they become part of your life when reading about them. Lou has an especially difficult relationship with her DI, Andy Hamilton, they have a past, he's a bit of a playboy and something of a loose cannon. Her relationship with Canadian Jason, her assigned analyst is much easier and their relationship develops throughout the story.

There is nothing that I hate more than solving a crime mystery half way through the book, there was absolutely no chance of this happening during Under A Silent Moon. This is a tightly plotted story, with many twists and turns, lots of associated characters and so many potential suspects, just when you think you've solved it, something else happens, and bang! you realise that you were so so wrong.

The sub-plots, the lives of the associated characters and the mechanisms of the murder team all work so very well together, they all blend seamlessly together, and although this could be an overly complicated story, it really works. Each individual strand is told so well and then sewn so well into the main story that it flows effortlessly.

Huge applause for Elizabeth Haynes, this really is a fine crime story. A police procedural novel with a difference. The added extras - the witness statements, the texts, emails and telephone analysis all work so well and add another dimension to the whole story.

I believe that this is the first in the series that will feature DCI Lou Smith - what a brilliant beginning, I'm already looking forward to the next instalment
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on 16 December 2013
I must start by saying that Elizabeth Haynes is one of my favourite authors. So maybe my expecations were set too high but I was very disappointed by her latest book. Police procedurals are hugely poplular and I thought that Hayne's brilliance at weaving a gripping story would lend itself well to the genre but I just couldn't get into this one at all. With so much switching from one thing to the other you need to concentrate hard and normally I would relish that in a book but this was so dull, the characters were flat and uniteresting and it was almost impossible to even take an interest in DI Smith. Lynda La Plante, Peter James, Mo Hayder do this kind of thing so much better but Haynes wins hands down with the Psychological thrillers and I for one will be giving the (inevitable) next one in this particular series a miss in the hope that she will return to form in the future. Sorry.
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