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on 29 May 2012
Since moving into an apartment in Boothgate House in the Yorkshire city of Eborby Lydia Brookes has been having nightmares, but always the same one. She discovers that Boothgate House prior to being converted into a luxury apartment building was formerly known as Havenby Hall, an asylum for the insane, and it was here that the serial killer Peter Brockmeister was sent on his release from prison in 1978. Three years later Havenby Hall was closed.

Taking a call from her senior partner whilst in the park with her small daughter Daisy, solicitor Melanie Hawkes takes her eyes off Daisy for a few minutes and Daisy is gone.

Investigating both a burglary reported by Lydia Brooks, and the kidnapping of Daisy Hawkes, DI Joe Plantagenet learns that at the time of the kidnapping Melanie Hawkes was looking into suspicious events at Havenby Hall on behalf of a client.

When by chance Lydia Brooks comes face to face with her nightmare which links back to Havenby Hall, Lydia decides to do some research herself, and uncovers some disturbing information. While Joe Plantagenet's investigations reveal the sickening truth about Havenby Hall, the knowledge places Joe in terrible danger.

Kate Ellis has woven a fascinating mystery as several seemingly unrelated matters lead back to the sinister past of Havenby Hall, and the death of Peter Brockmeister in mysterious circumstances. Incredibly spine chilling this is a real page turner. Although sometimes so creepy, I was almost fearful of turning the page. Highly recommended.
Lizzie Hayes
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on 17 May 2012
I really liked this book as I have everything else written by Kate Ellis. I read for pleasure and don't tend to try and analysis it page by page afterwards! The story gripped me and I read it in a day. I found the characters beliveable and didn't expect the twist at the end. Surely that is a sign of a good book! Carry on, Kate, I look forward to the next one. Readers: just enjoy!
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VINE VOICEon 28 September 2016
The plot has been summarised sufficiently without a further input on that aspect. I'm certain that asylums have a grotesque history and were the worst way of dealing with mental illness but I hope such practices as Kate Ellis uses here are fictional. That apart the many characters and their history didn't hang together well for me. I had only a vague mental image of Lydia and the others living in the newly created apartments in Boothgate House. However Joe and Emily are developing as solid characters; Joe haunted by his own ghosts of Caitlin. Not sure if I shall pursue this series.
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on 9 January 2013
I've read all the books in the Joe Plantagenet series so far and this is the best. I have to qualify that comment by stating that I don't think that Kate Ellis is a particularly gifted crime writer, but this is an entertaining yarn none the less.

One of the weaknesses with Kate's writing is her characterisation - I really want to know more about he protagonist. This is disappointing because I live near York (pseudonymously called Eborby in the books) and this is what keeps me reading. A strong editorial hand, less plot and stronger characters and this series could be memorable.
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on 26 October 2016
I quite enjoyed the first 3 Joe Plantagenet books, but this was very poor. Plot was very disjointed and the solution seemed to have been picked out of thin air, not sure why she bothered having a kidnapping in it as it was pretty irrelevant. Characterisation isn't very good either. The police didn't seem unduly worried about the kidnap victim either and by the end of the book, I wouldn't have cared if the whole lot of them had been wiped out. I waited to buy this until there was a big drop in price and I still feel I was overcharged. There are much better crime series available.
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A small child is kidnapped apparently under her mother's nose. A burglar is going round piling up furniture against his victims' front doors so that he can make a quick getaway through the back door if the owners of the property suddenly arrive home. Lydia has just moved into a newly converted flat in what was a mental hospital in the historic city of Eborby and is troubled by nightmares which feature a malevolent clock. DI Joe Plantagenet and his boss, DCI Emily Thwaite are trying to keep a lid on the crime rate.

If you add into the mix a university researcher who has found something evil and a man with an obsession with a serial killer the result is spine chilling and a frightening read. This is a fast paced and well written story with more than a hint of supernatural happenings which make the hairs on the back of the reader's neck stand on end. I got close to the end of the book quite late last night but made myself leave the last three chapters until daylight!

I like the police characters in this series - Joe, with his troubled past and his current loneliness, Emily trying to juggle a hectic job and family life; I also like George Merryweather - the clergyman with the job of dealing with supernatural happenings. The background of the ancient city with its narrow streets and chequered past gives an added frisson to this series which mixes ghostly happenings with crime which is all too real and substantial.
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on 5 June 2016
Every bit as good if not better than the last three I have read by this author. I have only recently come across Kate Ellis but have only one more of the Joe plantagenet series to read and then am looking forward to starting on her Wesley Peterson books.
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on 6 January 2016
I've enjoyed the Plantagenant books so far but this one was messy and a bit of a disapointment. For me the characters and the story didn't gell and the whole thing seemed almost unbelievableand far too rushed and busy.
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on 7 December 2015
Another classy, intelligent detective story by Kate Ellis. I really got to feel for the characters and the final masking of the murderer was a surprise. The settings are well described and Joe Plantagenet delivers the goods again.
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on 29 November 2012
Yet another excellent police novel featuring DI Joe Plantagenet & DCI Thwaite. Set in the fictional city of Eborby, North Yorkshire(York to you & I). Once again the past & the supernatural rear their heads as the pair race to solve a kidnapping & set of murders. Are they interlinked? Has Joe finally found a female companion or will she be the next victim? Has a dead murderer re surfaced or is it a copy cat killer. The book twists & turns before the truth is revealed. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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