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Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant - the best Wesley Peterson novel to date, 10 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Shadow Collector (Wesley Peterson) (Paperback)
I loved this book. I have read about half of the Wesley Peterson novels so far, and each one has been unique and a gripping read. This author can really make historical characters come alive, and blend past with present in a way other authors strive to but can't. Dan Waddell's Grant Foster series is a pale shadow of Kate Ellis' books.

I don't want to give any spoilers away, but the witchcraft story line and the finding of the wax dolls gave this tale a spooky air without going into cackling, Hammer-horror-film stereotypes. It showed how an ordinary person in the 1600s could be locked up, have a mockery of a trial, and be hanged - all on the say-so of a peeved relative or neighbour. Contrary to what a lot of people think, no witches were ever burnt at the stake in England (though a few were in Scotland) - they were mostly hanged, so the author has got it spot on here.

I like Wesley Peterson because he is not the run of the mill, stereotyped detective in a lot of TV series, films or books. He's not a wise-cracking maverick with women and booze problems, fighting against his superiors and 'doing things his way'. He's a happily married detective who has to do paperwork as well as the exciting bits of police work, and he's intelligent. One thing I do find odd, though, is that Wesley and his superior, DCI Heffernan, are reactive rather than proactive police officers. They don't seem to think outside the box with the evidence even when clues are standing up and waving at them. For example, when the ex-teacher says that John Grimes went on to be a pop-star, we the reader are crying out saying "Its Zac the boyband guy", but it takes Wesley and Heffernan a bit more time to realise that.

Overall, this is an excellent book, and I found myself unable to put it down. I read it in two evenings, I was that into it. I really enjoyed reading Alison Hadness' journal from the 1600s, at the start of each chapter, and there's a real twist at the end when the murderer is discovered. And there's another twist when we learn what Alison Hadness really got up to.

I really recommend this book.
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