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Summary

A tragic accident or a murder on a mountain? Inspector Drake’s first investigation takes him to the middle of Snowdonia, but can he uncover the truth?

When two bodies are found sprawled at the bottom of the Devil's Kitchen in the mountains of Snowdonia, it looks like a murder-suicide. But something doesn't feel right to Detective Inspector Ian Drake, and his gut instinct has never let him down before.

Drake suspects at least one of the deaths could be suspicious, but who would kill such an ordinary couple, and why? This might be Drake's first murder inquiry, but his years as a detective have taught him one thing - every murder has a motive, and every killer leaves a trace.

If you enjoy crime mysteries, then you’ll love this prequel novella in the eight-book Inspector Drake series. If you enjoy clever, well-plotted mysteries with engaging characters, then don’t miss Stephen Puleston’s Inspector Drake novels.  

©2016 Stephen Puleston (P)2018 Stephen Puleston

What listeners say about Devil's Kitchen

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A great introduction to the series.

Devil’s Kitchen is a 70 page / 2 hour 21 minute novella prequel to Stephen Pulestone’s five Inspector Drake novels, set in fabulous north Wales. I listened to this via Audible, and it just happened to be the perfect length for my weekly drive to Wales. And the perfect setting too! Although this is a relatively short novella, the story is very complete, and never feels rushed, and there are enough twists, turns and dodgy suspects to keep fans of police procedurals very happy. Stephen’s writing is very crisp and clean, and his descriptions, brought to life for me by excellent narration of Richard Elfyn, paint a very vivid picture of the mountainous terrain of north Wales. I think releasing a prequel novella is an excellent idea to give potential readers a decent idea of a writer and their protagonist. And with Devil’s Kitchen, this pays off very well; I for one am keen to read more in the series.

2 people found this helpful

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Nice introduction to DI Drake

Although this is a short novella Stephen Puleston has packed lots of action into this story. Ian Drake is a newly promoted DI in charge of his first case as SIO when two bodies are found. We learn that Drake is conscientious almost to the point of being OCD. His sidekick, DS Caren Waits, is his opposite - a bit of a slob. The case looks initially like a murder/suicide but Drake isn't convinced.

The story is set in Snowdonia, an area I know from family holidays, and I like books set in familiar locations, which were described well.

I listened to this in one sitting, and although short the story draws you in and there were several twist to keep you guessing. I haven't read anything by Stephen Puleston before but I will definitely try one of the full length Drake novels.

2 people found this helpful

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Great introduction to the series

This is the first book in the DI Drake series that I have read/listened to and it is a brilliant start.

The book follows DI Drake as he investigates a murder in Snowdonia where two hikers have fallen to their death, one of whom as a knife sticking out of their back.

The book is a brilliant read set amongst the mountains of Wales and the way the police investigate the murder makes it a very believable story. I really loved the fact that Drake kept on at it despite being told to stop and the book kept me guessing right to the end as we only find out key facts when he does, making it impossible to guess who did it, why and how

1 person found this helpful

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A great listen

We listened to this on one of our frequent trips around Wales. The location of the story was Snowdon which is familiar to us. The book certainly gave a sense of the rugged terrain. This novella is a prequel to the other Drake stories. The crime was interesting with a satisfying denouement. Looking forward to the other Inspector Drake stories after this great start.

1 person found this helpful

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Exciting short story

Really enjoyed this detective story and especially loved the Welsh setting being a Welsh girl. This story kept me hooked and I devoured it in one sitting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • TG
  • 26-09-18

great quick listen

Really enjoyed this police whodunnit. As always, a few red herrings in this type of book and this has a satisfying conclusion.
The narrator was very easy to listen to and the story flowed well.

1 person found this helpful

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Fast packed story

A great full packed story. A cop who wants to be thorough and do a good job. Determined to sort this case out. Superiors who would make do. But guess what, this is getting sorted.
Enjoyed the pace and narration. Story was great. Jam packed in a short time.
One to listen to

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Great listening

I had read the book but was interested to hear the story. It was read extremely well and it was good to hear the correct pronunciation of the Welsh place names. Was disappointed when it ended. Such a relaxing way to hear a story. Well done Stephen Pulleston and Richard Elfyn.

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Good listening

I read the book but got the opportunity to listen to the book. I enjoyed listening to it. Recommend to listen to or even read.

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Prequel novella


This is a novella prequel to the Inspector Drake series. Personally, I love the idea of having an introduction to the series and I did read the kindle version of this book some time ago but I have recently started listening to audiobooks so was very pleased that this series is being released in the audio version. It is very well narrated and Micheal is a brilliant fit for the characters.

Drake has just been promoted to Detective Inspector and is still finding his feet when 2 bodies are found at the bottom of a cliff. He is a very particular character and likes everything clean and tidy and this comes across in his work as he likes everything neatly tied up with no loose ends. He has a difficult relationship with his work partner, Caren as they are totally different personalities. Caren is dedicated to her work but, compared to Drake, she is a little slovenly and disorganised. However, Drake is determined to create a good working relationship. He also has a slightly difficult home life as his wife struggles with the anti-social hours that detectives work.

As they attend the crime scene it appears this is a crime of passion with the husband murdering his wife and then committing suicide. Drake, however, is convinced that all is not as it seems and has a struggle to convince his boss to allow him to follow his gut instinct. There are many twists and turns to the story which moves along at a reasonably fast pace. It is an unusual story with relationships, deceit and jealousy playing a part. The ending is one the reader wont expect.

The series is set in the beautiful countryside of Wales and Stephen makes an excellent job of ensuring the reader can visualise the setting and scenery.

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  • NickSC
  • 24-09-18

An excellent introduction to a new crime series.

I am aware this series started a few years ago and this introduction novella came a couple of years later. For me, it's a whole new start for this detective.
The story: I really enjoyed this police procedural, the dogged determination of Inspector Drake with his neatness OCD. After the case was concluded for his superiors he takes it upon himself to ferret out the real killer, and amidst many red-herrings, he gets his man. None of the plot seemed contrived and he got his man by sheer doggedness and following the clues and his hunches/ experience rather than blind luck.
This is a literary crime drama too, with lovely prose describing the area of Devil's Kitchen and the town. I was entranced as much by this as the following of the crime.
The audio: This was excellent. The narrator was so natural and inflexion perfect. Accents were good, and the fast pace of the story came through in the narration too without being rushed.

All in all a great story and I'd definitely recommend if you're after a new crime series. I will be reading the rest.

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  • John
  • 18-06-20

A short, entertaining murder mystery

Devil’s Kitchen is a murder mystery that appears simple at first glance but proves to have more going on under closer inspection. The story is fairly short, but it is a complete mystery.

The narrator fits the story well and does a good job bringing it to life.

I received a complimentary copy of this audiobook. This is my honest and voluntary review.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Karenique
  • 11-12-18

Short murder mystery brilliantly written and narrated!

Sometimes a short story is a winner. After two losers that I returned, I was delighted to find this gem. Trying to solve a double death scene, officials meet some quirky characters. Well written and narrated, this book had an ending I ever saw coming. Looking for more in this series. Very highly recommended and worth it.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer DVH
  • 08-12-20

Inspector Drake’s first case

Devil’s Kitchen is a prequel to the Inspector Drake’s series. Stephen Puleston has written an exciting murder mystery. Richard Elfyn does an outstanding performance and really brings the story to life. Inspector Drake is such a wonderful character. He is smart and the reader forgets that he is fiction. Devil’s Kitchen builds a solid foundation and the story pace is fast and interesting. If you enjoy reading Inspector Drake stories, you don’t want to miss the prequel. I reviewed a code for my honest review. Delphia

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  • JT
  • 03-06-20

Interesting jumping off place

This novella prequel is engaging and flows well. It makes me look forward to experiencing the growth of the characters and Inspector Drake's settling into his new position in the department.There are layers of relationships with multiple issues that just get scratched in this book. The crime involved is a mystery laced with intriguing twists and a healthy dose of angst. I was impressed with Richard Elfyn's ability to narrate this journey. The end of the book was not what I had surmised. I am adding Stephen Puleston's works to my TBR list.

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  • Dee
  • 29-03-20

Great novella

If novella's are designed to whet your appetite for the real thing, this one succeeds in spades!! I loved my intro to Inspector Drake. It feels a lot like the series Endeavor, which is the Inspector Morse prequel. You know there is some seasoned cop at the end but how great it is to experience how they got that way!

This was a simple but intricate mystery. I didn't see the ending and I love it when that happens.

The narrator was seriously incredible and made the listen real. This was a great novella.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 09-02-20

Devil's Kitchen Interruptus

Audio stopped barely half through before all the suspects could be interviewed. Disappointed, to say the least.

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  • SK Smith
  • 19-12-19

Prequel to a British Crime Thriller

This was only a little over 2 hours long so the mystery had to be solved in a short period of time. I was glad to meet these interesting main characters. It whetted my appetite for the remainder of the series.

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  • DabOfDarkness
  • 05-10-19

Ooo! My new mystery addiction!

Ian Drake and Caren Waits dig into the deaths of 2 hikers in the mountains of Snowdonia, Wales. An accident? Murder? Murder-Suicide? Ian wants to dig into it. His supervisors want him to close the case swiftly and the immediate evidence points to a murder suicide. Yet Ian can’t ignore his little questions.

This is great little introduction to the Ian Drake Mysteries. Right away, I was captivated by the surroundings – the mountains of Wales. Part of that is the very talented audiobook narrator (which I’ll discuss later), but a good chunk of it is the details built into the story. There’s so many accents, so much history, and that makes for a rich background for the plot.

Inspector Drake is also an interesting guy. He seems a bit tightly wound, compact, not into chit chat. As the pressure builds we notice that he needs his little routines and likes being neat & tidy all the time. Ha! Too bad he’s paired with the easy going Caren Waits. She’s nearly always snacking on something and is more about the work than about being neat and tidy. Drake reminded me a bit of Monk from the TV series, but not so outrageous. Drake is aware that he sometimes comes off as odd and he tries hard to keep it in check.

The mystery had a few surprises for me – yay! I expected this to be pretty straight forward (just like Drake’s bosses) and I was proven (happily) wrong. As a reader, I applaud the twist. Though I expect Drake was left feeling a little let down. This is one of those cases where the truth doesn’t necessarily bring you justice, and that made it all the more interesting as a story. Great start to a murder mystery series! 5/5 stars.

The Narration: First, it’s just cool to say this dude’s last name – Elfyn. Richard Elfyn gave a great performance on this book. There’s a few Welsh place names and Elfyn pronounces them smoothly (and hopefully correctly as I am so ignorant of the language and area I can’t say). He also did a great job with the regional accents, as the text of the story mentions this or that accent often. His female voices were believable and all of his characters had distinct voices. The pacing was perfect and there were no tech issues with the recording. 5/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book via Audiobookworm in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  • Loy
  • 05-10-19

prequel to a good series

This is a prequel to the Inspector Drake series which are set in Wales and very good. This is his first case. The story is very good but since it is a short story the ending seemed rushed. Drake is working on the murder with different leads. He figures it out at the very end, and they tie up all the loose ends. I was glad to listen to get background on Drake’s beginnings. We get a glimpse into the start of his career as an inspector. This is worth a listen. I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.