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Summary

Detective Chief Inspector Ryan retreats to Holy Island seeking sanctuary when he is forced to take sabbatical leave from his duties as a homicide detective. A few days before Christmas, his peace is shattered, and he is thrust back into the murky world of murder when a young woman is found dead amongst the ancient ruins of the nearby priory.

When former local girl Dr. Anna Taylor arrives back on the island as a police consultant, old memories swim to the surface, making her confront her difficult past. She and Ryan struggle to work together to hunt a killer who hides in plain sight while pagan ritual and small-town politics muddy the waters of their investigation.

Murder and mystery are peppered with a sprinkling of romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set on the spectacular Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, cut off from the English mainland by a tidal causeway.

©2015 L J Ross (P)2015 Audible, Ltd

Critic reviews

" Holy Island is a blockbuster." ( Daily Express)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Struggled to finish this one

This could have been so good. An interesting story and setting but dragged on until I thought it would never finish. A couple of hours worth of editing would have been a big help. My main complaint though was that it was too much like a Mills & Boon book. The hero is just far too gorgeous and moody and the heroine too headstrong and wilful. Some cringe worthy writing as they gazed at each other adoringly.
Jonathan Keeble did a wonderful job in the circumstances.
I won't be buying the next in the series.

45 of 47 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

As usual gorgeous hero and heroine

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the narrator but guessed who was going to die, who the killer/killers were and got a bit fed up with the Tall Dark Handsome inspector and the beautiful intelligent female counterpart. How refreshing to have an inspector who is average height, balding with a paunch, I know John Rebus! As for the females, why cant they be short, overweight with bad hair, unremarkable eyes and not a brilliant Doctor, or University guru. Perhaps they dont sell books. Will I go for the next book? probably but will wait until their is a sale on.

24 of 26 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Utter tosh!

What disappointed you about Holy Island?

This has got to be the most old fashioned sexist nonsense I have had the misfortune to listen to ever. It is all doe eyes and heaving bosoms and ranges from downright cringe-worthy to hilarious at times. I burst out laughing on numerous occasions when it really was not meant to be funny. Mind you, the island seems worth a visit since of the 200 residents if they are not stunningly gorgeous they are evil baddies, we even had a description of the loveliness of the main criminals teeth as he was about to perform a dastardly deed.

What will your next listen be?

Certainly not another in this series, maybe William Brodricks latest as I need some intelligent writing to get over this.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

I can't think of one to be honest, at a push the final one as it was comical for all the wrong reasons.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Holy Island?

Nothing would escape my scissors.

Any additional comments?

I have to say that Jonathon Keeble did an excellent job as a narrator, his style seemed to suit the old fashioned dialogue and he has a way of sounding like he is delivering the dialogue rather than just narrating if that makes any sense at all. He also deserves praise for not cracking up laughing every 10 minutes.

28 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Louize
  • Ely, United Kingdom
  • 17-01-16

What utter gup

I wish I'd read the reviews before purchasing this book. As previous reviewers have said this was pure, badly written Milks & Boon. The story was so far fetched as to be farcical. The only plus was the narrator who read well

20 of 22 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Could have been better but not bad for first book

Unfortunately I found the romantic elements jarring and unnecessary. The narration was superb.
Quite predictable and too cosy for my liking

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Ms
  • Harwich, United Kingdom
  • 18-01-16

Should this be a Mills and Boons??

Would you try another book written by LJ Ross or narrated by Jonathan Keeble?

No - this is marked as within the Crime Genre - it should have been romance or at least fantasy!
It was utter dribble with no conclusion as to why the villain had stooped to the levels he had. No credible explanation about why others had joined up. Poor Mr Keeble was overly annuciated - every romantic scene was cringe-worthy.
The main characters were too perfect - just boringly predictable too

Has Holy Island put you off other books in this genre?

Only by the author. Awful book

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Jonathan Keeble?

No one - better left unnarrated or written

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Frustration - I wasted a credit on this bilge. So annoying.

Any additional comments?

Never read anything by this author again

31 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nothing holy on a sacred island

This is a fast-paced, artfully written crime mystery beautifully suited to audio. DCI Ryan has come to the ancient and mystical island of Lindisfarne, rich in history and wild beauty, on a forced sabbatical following a traumatic and tragic murder case the details of which are slowly revealed during the story. Any hope of a serene restorative holiday is of course shattered when the body of a young woman is found on an ancient altar, clearly the result of some pagan ritual.
The landscape of Lindisfarne is a brilliant backdrop, bleak, wild and beautiful, and the fact that it is regularly cut off from the Northumbrian mainland by treacherous tides adds to the atmosphere of lurking threat and murderous intent hidden within the island. Ryan knows that the killer is close by - and is watching him. Further murders - extremely gruesome seemingly pagan, ritualistic killings - follow. Ryan's time is running out.
He is joined by Dr Anna Taylor to help with the investigation. She has specialist historical knowledge and was brought up on Lindisfarne, and her estranged sister is one of the victims. Anna is drawn to Ryan with his shock of black hair and piercing eyes, and he to her. Gradually they reveal their personal burdens of damage to one another and start to heal. But Ryan knows that Anna is in danger and tries to protect her, but she trusts the people with whom she grew up - with terrifying consequences.
The pace is fast and the author drives her story forward with waves of plot, like the waves surging around the island. Time and again, you as listener think the mystery is solved, but it isn't, and suspense is cranked up yet again with an increasing feel of impending horror. The truth is revealed only in the very last minutes of the story. And then there's the Epilogue which delivers another final, final twist!
The narration is excellent and very much increases the drama and tension of the plot whilst rooting it in the credible everyday by the reality of the characters' voices.
And there's a final, final bonus too: after 'Holy Island' concludes there follows Jonathan Keeble reading the first chapter of L J Ross's next DCI Ryan book. You'll want to listen on!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

The Start of a Fantastic New Detective Series

This was a rocketing read! Never a dull moment. Characters were well developed and you were drawn in immediately. And Jonathan Keeble as narrator - well what can I say. I could listen to him read the phone book!

I had not heard of the author LJ Ross before. If this was a debut novel I would expect some great reading ahead. I see there is a new release in the series coming 16/01/16. I will definitely download. Don't miss this series. Get in at the beginning!

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Salter
  • Herefordshire, UK
  • 04-01-18

LJ Ross delivers the goods...

The first in the Ryan Series, and this story really sets the tone for the later books. A superb blend of intrigue,action and suspense. In this instance, Ryan investigates some ritualistic killings on the island of Lindesfarne.
DCI Ryan is a very likeable lead character, but hes very much backed up with a good range of interesting characters - such as his trusty sidekick Phillips, and the smart, knowledgeable Anna.
I can't recommend this series enough, and Jonathan Keeble's portrayal of the characters is brilliant.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • KM
  • 28-12-15

Fabulous indeed!!

Well this book was just fabulous!!! I can't imagine why anybody wouldn't want to read it!! It just has it all - drama, suspense, romance!! It is the full package! I absolutely loved it and it really brought my partner and I closer together snuggled up in winter listening to it. We can't wait for the next one to come out!

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Michele B
  • 19-02-16

Soppy stuff.

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not to my friends, no. It was full of promise and possibilities but the author thoroughly killed the book with excessive melodrama and completely unbelievable 'romance'.

If you’ve listened to books by LJ Ross before, how does this one compare?

I have not. If I had, I might have been forewarned about this one. But possibly this one isn't one of her best.

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I thought the narrator did an excellent job. I liked him and thought he did admirably with the material he had to work with. I would have been rolling on the floor wheezing with laughter at certain points.

Do you think Holy Island needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

Well, it is certainly presented that way, so it seems inevitable. Unfortunately.

Any additional comments?

I hate to be so negative, but I bought it hoping for a good mystery and instead got a soppy, unbelievable, romance filled with practicing pagans. If that is your cup of tea, you will love this book a lot.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • barbara
  • 23-07-17

barbara cartland revisited, so old and corny

I only finished this book due to some other reviews being so positive, I was hoping that it improved. Such an old fashioned novel you would expect to be serialised in a 1950s womens magazine, tall dark handsome hero who demands his little lady obey him, looking deeply into dark eyes...with a sad past... so cliched! I was hoping for a true detective story with lots of the usual twists, not a badly written romance and whats with making the murders so gruesome - so not necessary, the joy of a police story is in the detective work and the unexpected finale...tension can still be there without the gruesome murders..so dramatic
The narrater, Jonathan Keeble, was the main reason that I chose this book, he is first class.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Glenda
  • 13-09-17

Christian bashing must be popular!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

The author was able to understand everyone's beliefs or shortcomings except Christian's. He needs to learn how to write from a more unbiased perspective.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Another mystery

What does Jonathan Keeble bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He has a pleasant voice

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Holy Island?

Probably when the author made fun of the minister's wife's looks, it had nothing to do with the story line and made the character look petty.

Any additional comments?

There was no build up to the two main character's "feelings" toward each other. You couldn't tell the difference between their supposedly caring for each other or two other strangers hooking up in a bar!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Trish R.
  • 02-09-16

Really good story. On to the next one..

A lot of reviewers complained about this being too much of a romance but I beg to differ. There was just enough romance to satisfy anyone looking for a romance/suspense/murder/mystery, like me. And to the one reviewer who said the author was a woman because she started getting into the “sex acts.” The first time they had sex he carried her to the bedroom, kissed her and it faded to black. And the second time they had sex it was fade to black. Not much of a sex act if you ask me.

I liked all the background they gave on the players instead of going from one murder to the next. Ryan was on sabbatical due to the Hacker case he worked and things went very badly. Anna was back on the island she’d left 8 years ago, because of her mother’s fall down stone steps that lead to her death and the leap off the cliff her dad took. Anna was there to join Ryan on the case of ritual killings, and their attraction to one another was immediate. I really enjoyed that part of the book, made them more human and not just robots trying to solve some murders. She was also there to try to figure out where she and her sister went wrong so many years ago.

One reviewer said this was a cliffhanger and THAT IS NOT TRUE. Two crimes were solved, Ryan and Anna got their HEA and that was the end of that story. The epilogue was just to let you know there was a next book that had to do with “the circle” if you wanted to read it.

There was swearing and the F-bomb was used 16 times. LOL, I think 99.9% of the time the F-bomb was said by the hero, Ryan.

As to the narrator: Jonathan Keeble gave all the men great voices, especially Ryan, but the women, especially Anna, sounded toooo much like men. I’m hoping in the next book, Sycamore Gap, he’ll do better. He did read with a lot of emotions, which he did fantastically.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CM
  • 15-02-16

Enjoyed

I enjoyed this. I bought it because I come from the area where the book is set. If I did not know Holy Island I would have enjoyed it more. Having been to Lindisfarne many times you do have to suspend disbelief a bit. Not sure people who live there will appreciate the Satanic cult based on their Island. Anyway I liked the Characters and the pace enough to buy the next book "Sycamore Gap" I appreciated having the 1st chapter free as an add on to "Holy Island " and it is on sale! The narrator is good although his Northumberland accent wobbles a bit at times but on the whole v. Good.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • John
  • 12-01-18

Unnecessarily disturbing...

What..??.. this author doesn’t have enough confidence in his own prose that he had to rely on layer upon layer of every despicable act possible known to man..??..
How disappointing that I allowed myself to buy into his ability to write a decent book ... ugh

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Wild Horses Flying
  • 17-12-17

Painfully bad

I thought it was going to be good because of reviews and the narrator has a good voice for a detective procedural. However, the romance is ridiculous - i.e. being jealous when you've known the person for a day; the various love and drama situations are comically or excruciatingly corny and over-done. The main detective has an authoritative attitude take charge way and language that works OK at first but then becomes completely overworked, unrealistic and irritating -- no depth to character. It feels like a third-grader decided to try to write a grown up book. Sorry to be so harsh. I couldn't keep listening.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Mihaly Meszaros
  • 26-11-17

Awful

Could not stand the story or the narrator and the main character is just a total ass

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Gail J Elverd
  • 24-02-16

Disappointing

Personally found the "burning looks". Heavy breathing etc a total turn off. Construct seemed clumsy and unbelable. Also hard to have 5 deaths in such a small place with so few residences. Not for me. Narrator did well with different characters.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Gothic_Potato
  • 30-03-18

Love DCI Ryan! A great read.

Where does Holy Island rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Top stars.

Who was your favorite character and why?

I really didn't have an exact favorite since they worked well together, but DCI Ryan and Anna were consistent and interesting.

Have you listened to any of Jonathan Keeble’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes. His voice is phenomenal. He is clear and doesn't sound like he is forcing the speech pattern. I believe he is also the actor that plays DCI Ryan on the series. If not, he should.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Absolutely, but live dictated otherwise.

Any additional comments?

I loved the twists and turns throughout the book. Sure, there were a few times I was right and a few times I was wrong. The end gave me shivers.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful