The woman’s limbs were so thin; the skin on her arms as translucent as tracing paper. Around her neck lay a faint string of purple bruises. In one so frail, darker, angrier marks might be expected but Beth knew the bruising would have stopped the moment her heart stopped beating.
When a hiker finds the body of a woman by the shores of Lake Ullswater, the police are put on high alert. Felicia Evans was known to be a tough character, but who would have strangled her?
Detective Beth Young quickly spots the links to three cold cases. Three women strangled and discarded in the stunning, wild hills of the Lake District.
As Beth begins tracking down witnesses, the team receives an anonymous letter claiming the charming mayor of Carlisle is behind the murders. There’s pressure from the top to clear his name. But Beth is determined to find the truth no matter whose feathers she ruffles in the process.
Beth knows the clock is ticking. The killer is hunting again. And it’s down to her to find who’s responsible before another woman becomes his prey…
‘Boy did I love every minute of it!... Everything that a true crime junkie wants and needs to satisfy that craving of thrills and chills… A Body In The Lakes is a dark and brooding read that totally held me captive. Parts chilled me to the core whilst other parts caught me off guard, causing an array of emotions. British crime writing at its best.’ By the Letter Book Reviews, 5 stars
‘If I was to sum up in 3 words: Exciting, spine-tingling and unpredictable. It had me on the edge of my seat at times, especially when we got a glimpse into the killer’s mind, and it literally kept me guessing until the very end.’ Booked up Girl
‘A thrilling edge of your seat story.’ Star Crossed Reviews, 5 stars
‘Excelled all expectations and this is a series that is right up there with my favourites… The book is set in one of my favourite places the Lake District with its beautiful scenery but the storyline is gruesome, disturbing and complex.. A gripping, fast paced thriller that grabs all your attention and doesn’t let go, it’s a real whodunnit and I would urge you not to miss it. Highly recommended.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Once I started this book I didn't want it to finish, it's a great read and a must for crime thriller fans.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Action packed, gritty, grisly in parts but also with some humour…and with a nail-biting build-up of tension this novel delivers on all counts for me. Great characterization and skilfully woven plot strands all add up to a captivating and very enjoyable read. Loved it and comes highly recommended.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘A tense whodunnit that will keep you gripped until the end. An exciting read it certainly kept me guessing.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘Plenty of red herrings and twists kept my brain engaged.’ Chapter in my Life, 5 stars
‘A compelling crime thriller that keeps you on your toes.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘A very well written book, plenty of tension, yet a compelling read… I highly recommend this book to every crime fiction fan.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
‘A good, tense police procedural… Beth is a likeable character, fiercely dedicated to her job and empathetic to the victims she fights to find justice for. Highly recommended.’ Goodreads reviewer
‘An exciting, well-paced story that links cold cases with a current one. It left me breathless.’ Goodreads reviewer, 5 stars
The abiding memory I have of writing A Body in the Lakes is that I had to be careful how I handled the sensitive nature of the crimes. To this end I worked hard to make sure the characters were suitably appalled by the crimes they were investigating and let the horrific nature of the victims’ ordeals drive them to a resolution.
As I often do when writing sensitive material, I kept the worst parts off the page, trusting my readers’ imaginations to fill in the blanks I’d purposefully left. I also inserted some humour to try and leaven the dark nature of the story, although only you readers can say if I achieved my aim.
By this time, Beth was settled in the FMIT and was no longer nervous about speaking up for herself when talking to her bosses. Her own backstory was also progressing nicely along at the slow and steady pace I wanted it to.
Dr Hewson got a bigger role in this novel and there was plenty of scope for me to “make up” reasons to travel around The Lake District on research trips. It was on one of the trips that I visited the wonderfully picturesque Buttermere for the first time.
From where I live, access to Buttermere involves travelling along one of two mountains passes, so the explorer in me just had to come back the second way.
For me, the most gratifying thing about A Body in the Lakes was that I managed to run a pair of storylines throughout the novels, plus Beth’s backstory in a way that came together to make sense of all the different threads.
The first draft underwent some pretty heavy edits, and though I grumbled about them at the time, I knew the points my editor made would make my story stronger in every sense, although I still tease her about the fact she likes nothing better than giving me homework.