The Crossing

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

This is a straight-forward police procedural set in the coastal town of Weston-Super-Mare.  DI Louise Blackwell has been transferred following the shooting of an unarmed man during a police raid.  After a dead woman is found on the beach, Louise gets her first chance to take charge of an investigation in her new posting.  Still trying to figure out her team and her boss, her life is complicated by anonymous text messages that she believes are coming from her former partner who seems to want her thoroughly discredited.

It took me a while to get into this book, and I originally put it down about a third of the way through.  After a break, I picked it back up and got hooked by the story. In short, I enjoyed the last two-thirds of the book more than the beginning.  I'm willing to give DI Blackwell another go when she reappears in book 2.

Thanks to Amazon Publishing and NetGalley for access to a digital ARC.
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This is a new series from Brolly, who you know from his DCI Lambert series, and like that series, it is one I'll be reading every book in! Blackwell is still adjusting to being back on her home turf, after years spent 'in town' as part of a Major team. She is still licking her proverbial wounds from workplace issues, that forced her to flee, when she gets the opportunity to show just what she is capable of doing. And then her old job comes back to haunt her. She is a bit flawed (like Lambert), but very likable, and it's refreshing to see a female lead in a police procedural with honest emotions. If you like British police procedurals, be sure to pick up this one!
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In a small town full of secrets, everyone’s a suspect.
When a body is discovered, bled dry on a beach, the sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare wakes up to a nightmare. For Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell, recently transferred to the town she last saw as a child, it’s her first case on the job.
The victim—Veronica Lloyd, an elderly volunteer at a local church—has puncture wounds to her hands. When a priest is found killed in a nearby church in a similarly grisly condition, it becomes clear that Blackwell is dealing with a righteous and bloody murderer. But the victims aren’t random. The killer has a vendetta and is hell-bent on exacting twisted revenge for a dark secret dating back years—and there are more murders planned.
As the body count rises, Blackwell faces a race against time to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity and put an end to the carnage. She thought she knew Weston, but the town holds more secrets than she’d ever have imagined. Who can she trust and who knows more than they are letting on?
She must discover the crimes that unite the victims—before it’s too late.

This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believeable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building that adds so much to the story.
Can't wait to read more of these.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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Just finished reading The Crossing and thought it was excellent. I loved how the characters of DI Blackwell and the perpetrator are developed throughout the book against the backdrop of Weston-super-mare and cannot wait to read more in this series.
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This is the first novel i have read by Matt Brolly but it won't be the last as i was quite taken with his writting style and the characters he has created, The main reason I requested this book was because it is based in Weston-super mare which isn't far from me and he'd done his homework by knowing we affectionately call it Weston on mud and how the tide never seems to be in, which all added to the reading for me. 
The book is the first of a series featuring DI Louise Blackwell a detective from Bristoll who basically gets stithed up by he ex work colleague and lover, So in disgrace she moves to Weston and when a body of a old lady is found on the beach she gets to use her experience as the SIO of a murder, but with hardly any clues and the top brass breathing down her neck its not going to be easy.

The novel itself reminded me of columbo where unusally the culprit is revealled very early on but it slowly reveals the reasoning behind the crime and Louise's reasons for moving and frustration of rtrying to catch the murderer before her ex iis put in charge.  I look forward to more in this series as I think problems will escalate for Louise in the future.
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I love Matt Brolly. He has a real knack of pulling you into the story and making you believe. Love Louise. I can't wait to hear more stories,especially as I live in Weston Super Mare and I drive through all the places that are mentioned as well as the few from Bristol, where I had lived all of my life until last year.
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A fantastic read, a great story line which is easy to follow and had me gripped throughout. I am looking forward to reading more books by Matt
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The Crossing
I received a copy from Net Galley. I loved this book. I found the characters interesting, the plot captivating and subplots intriguing. I will definitely read more in this series.
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New author for me can’t wait to catch up .This book is tense well written drew me in from first pages.A multilayered plot that kept me turning the pages.#netgalley#amazonuk
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The Crossing by Matt Brolly is the first book in the new Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell series and is set most in and near Weston-super-Mare in England. A body of an older woman is found on a local beach and Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell becomes the senior investigating officer.  Louise and her team start to investigate the identity of the woman.

Will they find out who she is and how she got there?

A few days later, another body is found, a Catholic Priest. He was found in the confessional box of the local church. He had just taken Mass. The priest was known as Father Mulligan. Could these murders be linked and in what way?

Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell and her team have to work quickly before another body is found.

Can the solve these murders in time?

I Highly recommend this book and look forward reading more by Matt Brolly in the future. Especially as Matt Brolly is a new author to me and looking forward to read the next book to this series.

Big Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK and Matt Brolly for a digital ARC of this novel via NetGalley and the opportunity to provide an honest review. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way
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I received a free electronic ARC copy of this British police procedural from Netgalley, Matt Brolly, and Amazon Publishing UK.  Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.  I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work.  I will happily add Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell to my must-reads list.  This is the first of this series by Brolly - I can't wait for number 2.

DI Louise Blackwell is thirty-something, has one brother, a recent widower, and the father of a five-year-old daughter, Emily.  Her brother Paul isn't handling life well at all, and Louise and their parents are often required to step into the breach at the home of Paul and Emily. Louise is historically not catching many breaks.

  Two years ago Louise's partner at MIT in Bristol and surrounds, is DI Finch.  Together they worked the case of serial killer Max Walton, a trail they had been investigating for over a year. It is at last solved, but Finch has placed Louise in a career-killing position.  Knowing they are at the scene of a fresh kill and they are finally closing in on their serial killer, Finch indicates Walton is carrying and asks Louise for cover as he moves in to restrain him.  Tripping and falling, Finch shouts that Walton is holding, and as the killer's hand comes up from the shadows Louise shoots him.  These were the facts, details that later Finch will deny. Under Oath.  Of course, Louise takes the hit for killing an unarmed suspect and is lucky to be allowed to stay on in the police force at all.  She gets transferred to the small rural coastal precinct of  Weston-super-Mare and will most likely be stalled as a DI for the next twenty years.  Her friend Tracey Pugh gets a job advancement to DI and takes Louise's place at MIT, and Finch receives accolades and advancement to DCI for his part in capturing Walton. And he is currently texting her most evenings with snips and challenges and signing them 'a friend'.  

But Louise has to get past all that.  Eighteen months later and despite its size and level of obscurity, Weston has its own killer running amuck.  And he is vicious as he brutalizes his elderly victims for days before he finally kills them. 

We know our bad guy fairly early into this tale.  Geoff was a bullied and abused child who worshiped his father and was exposed to and leaned heavily upon the ceremony and rituals of Saint Bernadette's Church to comfort himself.  Geoff goes off his rocker when his father commits suicide. Suicides never get to heaven, they are in purgatory forever... This is unacceptable.  Knowing they will eventually be back together is all that keeps Geoff sane. 

Geoff's obsession with the stations of the cross is not apparent during the investigation of the first and second victims, Veronica Lloyd and Father Mulligan. Veronica was a single retired school teacher.  Father Mulligan, formerly the priest of St. Barts, was semi-retired and assisted Father Riley, the current priest at the second Catholic place of worship in Weston, St. Michael's.  Father Riley is young, green and new to the area, but Monsignor Ashley was more helpful, as he had been working in the Weston area for many years, and as Louise uncovers the only fact that their two victims seem to have in common was their place of worship, St. Bernadette's, back in the 1980s, Monsignor Ashley brings into play other possible witnesses/or/victims from that era.  Father Lanegan, who was the young priest at St. Barts in the 1980s had subsequently left the priesthood and settled into civilian life in the nearby community of St. Ives.  But he has been missing for some time - a couple of weeks anyway, according to his elderly cleaner who reported him as a missing person.   And it was rumored, Louise is told by older, mostly widowed parishioners, that Father Lanegan and Veronica Lloyd were involved in an affair back then.

And Finch, now a DCI with the Major Investigation Team in Bristol, comes calling, undermining Louise at every turn and attempting to squeeze her out of the investigation altogether.  Because this will be a headline-grabbing criminal case and those headlines should be all his... 

Parts of this story relies on a bit of back knowledge of the workings of the Catholic Church 40 years ago.  It is all explained well but it helps if you understand the Stations of the Cross and the process of bringing children into the pageantry of traditional Catholic services.  It is not, however necessary, nor is it a religious book per se.
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After being let down by her police partner  Tim Finch,Louise Blackwell is moved from her position in Bristol & sent to Weston-super-mare- a sleepy place in Winter, a contrast to her summer days spent there as a child. When an elderly woman is found on the beach with unusual wounds she finds herself as SIO in her first murder case in her new posting. When an elderly priest is found dead in his confessional with similar wounds it looks like they have a serial killer on their hands & Finch seems determined to unsettle her.

This is the beginning of a new police procedural series & I hope it continues to be as good as this first one. The reader knows from the start who the murderer is & sees things from his angle. There are lots of things to keep the reader guessing & the setting & characters are well described & engaging- I could feel the rain & the wind!

Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book- I am already looking forward to the next one.
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Great new series from best selling author Matt Brolly. I live near Weston-Super-Mare and this book perfectly sums up the desolation of the place in the winter months. Great start to a new series about DI Louise Blackwell, a realistic detective with an interesting back story. Great plotting, although I personally don't like hearing the murderer's viewpoint. Look forward to the next one.
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The Missing Link...?
The first in the Detective Louise Blackwell series. Western-super-Mare, a body on the beach and a new case for the newly transferred Detective Blackwell. It soon transpires, however, that this killing isn't random when more bodies are discovered. Can Louise find the missing link between the victims and prevent more deaths?
Well written crime with a solid cast and a likeable protagonist in the Detective.
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I've never read anything by this author before, but I've heard such good things. So when I saw this was the start of a new series,  I jumped at the chance to read it. 
I do like a well written crime story and this seemed to fit the bill. On the whole, it was a good story, solid characters, that sort of thing. 
Unfortunately,  I found it a bit difficult to keep my mind focused. It was tricky to follow at times as it didn't feel like it flowed quite as well as it could have. 
I will definitely read the authors previous books and hope that in the next installment of this particular series, that all those little things will be ironed out. 
Thank you to the author, the publisher and netgalley for my arc. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
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EXCERPT: The smell of the place would never leave Louise. The farm was divided into a series of metallic barns and as they entered the outer shed she was hit by an unimaginable stench, the decay and waste of decades of animals. The ground appeared to move as she shone her torch over the various swarming mounds lining the barn floor, and she had to turn away and retch.

'Louise,' said Finch, his voice low and unnerved.

Louise battled her nausea and returned to the matter in hand. Finch was in one corner of the barn, his torch shining on the corpses of the missing mother and daughter.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When a body is discovered, bled dry on a beach, the sleepy seaside town of Weston-super-Mare wakes up to a nightmare. For Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell, recently transferred to the town she last saw as a child, it’s her first case on the job.

The victim—Veronica Lloyd, an elderly volunteer at a local church—has puncture wounds to her hands. When a priest is found killed in a nearby church in a similarly grisly condition, it becomes clear that Blackwell is dealing with a righteous and bloody murderer. But the victims aren’t random. The killer has a vendetta and is hell-bent on exacting twisted revenge for a dark secret dating back years—and there are more murders planned.

As the body count rises, Blackwell faces a race against time to solve the mystery of the murderer’s identity and put an end to the carnage. She thought she knew Weston, but the town holds more secrets than she’d ever have imagined. Who can she trust and who knows more than they are letting on?

She must discover the crimes that unite the victims—before it’s too late.

MY THOUGHTS: I am a great fan of Matt Brolly's Michael Lambert series and was excited about this new series. Having just closed the covers on The Crossing, I must admit to feeling a little disappointed. It doesn't flow easily, as Brolly's writing usually does. Instead it staggers along, disjointed and floundering in parts.

The story is told mainly from Louise's point of view, the killer - whose identity is revealed from the start - and another case that is running concurrently in St Ives, the relevance of which is immediately apparent.

There is a definite lack of suspense, which is a pity. The story is, I think, trying to cross into too many genres, perhaps to appeal to a wider audience. But, for me, it doesn't work. It just muddies the waters.

Unusually for Brolly, I didn't find the characters well depicted. I felt no connection to any of them and Louise's whining inner monologue on Finch and his past treatment of her quickly became wearing. In fact, she is pretty stereotypical of the current trend in female detectives...

I know Matt Brolly can write brilliantly. I am hoping to see evidence of that in the next book in this series.


#TheCrossing #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: Following his law degree where he developed an interest in criminal law, Matt Brolly completed his Masters in Creative Writing at Glasgow University.

He is the bestselling author of the DCI Lambert crime novels, Dead Eyed, Dead Lucky and Dead Embers. The fourth in the series, Dead Time, was released by Canelo in May 2018. In addition he is the author of the acclaimed near future crime novel, Zero.

2019 will see a new thriller, The Controller, released by Oblong Books and in 2020 the first of a new crime series set in the West Country of the UK will be released by Thomas Mercer(Amazon Publishing)

Matt also writes children's books as M.J. Brolly. His first children's book, The Sleeping Bug, is released by Oblong Books in December 2018.

Matt lives in London with his wife and their two young children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Crossing by Matt Brolly for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage
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I’ve not read any of the author’s previous books, but this one has inspired me to check them out.

Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell has been transferred from Bristol to the seaside town of Weston-super-Mare.  When an older woman is found murdered, Louise is put in charge of the investigation which quickly becomes more complicated when an elderly priest is killed.  Both bodies have similar injuries, and there are suspicions that there may be more victims to come.  Louise is anxious to prove herself in this, her first, murder case since her transfer.

Louise’s life, both professional and personal, is developed.  Her transfer from Bristol is the result of an unfair judgment in a previous case, so she must deal with this demotion.  She does not feel at home in Weston and is not fully comfortable with her colleagues.  Louise is trying to escape the influence of a previous partner whom she knows will try to insert himself into her current investigation if she does not solve it quickly.  And there are concerns about her widowed brother whose struggles are putting his daughter’s welfare in jeopardy.  

The narrative alternates between Louise’s perspective and that of the murderer.  His identity is revealed early in the book, but the reason for his actions is not.  There are clues from the beginning; for example, there are statements like “The warmth and security made him sentimental, made him forget what his mother had done” and “He had to save his father.”  Much of my interest in the book lay in trying to put together all the clues to figure out the motivation.  This structure made me think of episodes of Criminal Minds.

There were a couple of issues that bothered me.  After the discovery at the first victim’s home, wouldn’t a toxicology report be requested?  There is an autopsy but never any reference to a toxicology screen.  And that discovery is never explained.  There is also some awkward diction; in Chapter 11, the word “object” is used three times:  “He ran his hand across one part of the object” and “he would have to wait until nearer the time to complete the object” and “he spent another hour working on the object before locking up.”  The word is used several times throughout the book.  Obviously, the point is not to identify the object because it is central to Geoffrey’s plans, but perhaps just a reference to a wood-working project would have been better.  

I read the book in one day; it is a quick but absorbing read.  I will certainly read The Descent, the next book in the series which I understand is due for release this summer.

Note:  I received a digital galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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The Crossing is the first instalment in a new police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell and set in Weston-super-Mare, a seaside town in Somerset, England. When the brutally disfigured body of elderly Veronica Lloyd is discovered on the beach, DI Blackwell lands this as her first case since being transferred from Bristol’s Major Investigation Team (MIT) eighteenth months prior. Then, a few days later, another body turns up. This time the victim is Catholic priest Father Mulligan who was found in the confessional box having just taken Mass. From analysing the bodies and the crime scenes Louise believes the two chilling murders could be linked and both the handiwork of a single perpetrator who appears to have a vendetta. She is under intense pressure to solve the case quickly before her nemesis DI Finch is handed it; he is the one who betrayed her leading to her eventual transferal to Weston and seems determined to sabotage her career. Can she manage to locate the killer before another body drops?

This book was structured in an original and unusual way as you know the killer's identity from relatively early on and this allows us to read chapters from his perspective as well as Louise’s. What drives the plot forward is instead the uncovering of the killer's motivations for committing the crimes, his actions and the polices efforts to locate and apprehend him. Despite this, I found it just as compulsive and gripping as conventional police procedurals and raced through it. It's cleverly plotted with plenty of action and suspense and is well written with a cast of intriguing characters; Finch and Louise were both nicely developed. The seaside setting added a different atmosphere to most procedurals and I enjoyed the descriptions which were vivid and stark. The cat and mouse game between the perpetrator and the police was completely captivating as you know they are in a race against time before he strikes again and another life is lost. A superb read. Highly recommended. Many thanks to Amazon for an ARC.
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This is my first book by Matt Brolly and I really enjoyed it. It is the first in a new series and I was engaged in it throughout and look forward to reading more of his work.
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DI Louise Blackwell has been shifted the backwaters of Weston-super-Mare after a disputed police shooting, and is not doing well away from the big city of Bristol where she was moving up the ranks. Now she’s a small fish in a smaller pond and the body of Veronica Lloyd, found murdered on the beach, is her first case here. A second murder of the old local priest raises questions in her mind about the connections, as both were pierced through their palms and wrists. It’s not until a mysterious monsignor nudges her towards St Bernadette’s church that what seemed like unlikely clues start to form a possible motive.
As the crimes escalate with still no decent suspects discovered, the pressure to take the case off Blackwell increases, most especially in the form of DCI Finch who has been harassing her since their involvement in the shooting. Now he tries to horn in and use his influence to further disrupt her career. Which of her fellow detectives can she trust to help her?
Brolly does a good job of creating a female detective in a position of powerlessness against someone who is out to discredit her. We understand her self-doubt and insecurity in the face of harassment, and the efforts she goes to to keep faith with herself and her investigative skills, without it becoming melodramatic. The fact that she does have male officers and a boss who back her and trust her judgement makes the situation more realistic, not less. Like many crime fiction protagonists, Louise is alone and lonely, but thankfully not jumping out of character into stupid decisions, learning from past mistakes.
My personal preference is for novels that don’t go into the point of view of the killer – I like the detection and the mystery more that way. But Brolly does create a villain whose obsessions are well explored and those chapters don’t give too much away in terms of tension. A good read, and I’ll look out for more his books.
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