Cover Image: MARSHLIGHT

MARSHLIGHT

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This is the latest in prolific crime writer Joy Ellis's Fen based series, featuring former police officers, DCI Matt Ballard and former Sergeant, Liz, who now run a PI agency.  Here, they have been looking for the missing Amy, who prior to her disappearance had been behaving strangely, she is the sister of their friend, Frances Morton, but have been struggling to get anywhere.  Thankfully the police have them looking into a cold case, the murder of a local woman, Lindsey Harrison.  Liz invites her cousin, Christie, to stay, Christie loves the Fens, but takes against the local bookshop owner, Gina Spears, a volatile, controlling and manipulative woman.  With another disappearance taking place, this is a engaging crime read, with a wonderful sense of location with the Fens, so atmospheric and teeming with its folklore and legends.  Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
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Gripping, atmospheric and with a twist readers simply will not see coming, Joy Ellis’s Marsh Light is another top-notch page-turner from this much-loved writer.

When Matt and Liz had retired from the police force, they had been looking forward to leaving the stress of catching criminals behind for a quieter life. Unfortunately, reality seemed to have other ideas in store for the two of them as they’ve found themselves forced to don their investigating cap on yet again. When the sister of an old friend goes missing, nobody suspects that there is anything untoward…even if she had been acting rather strangely prior to her disappearance. Matt and Liz cannot help themselves and begin to look into this case, even if they have their hands full with the arrival of Liz’s cousin Christie who has come to stay with them for a couple of weeks.

Christie takes an immediate dislike to local bookshop owner Gina. Christie isn’t the kind of person to be so unfriendly towards anyone. Is there more to this disagreement than meets the eye? Christie is convinced that Gina is manipulating everyone around her, leading Matt and Liz to wonder whether Christie is onto something or whether she seems to be doing her utmost to keep her new friends at arm’s length. Nobody seems to be taking Christie seriously – until another old friend disappears on the Fen marshes late one night.

It’s up to Matt and Liz to get to the bottom of this case. But will they manage to uncover the shocking truth? Or are some secrets better off dead and buried?

Crime writing supremo Joy Ellis is onto another winner with Marshlight which is a compelling slow-burn of a novel that builds to an intense and terrifying crescendo that will keep readers engrossed all through the night. The strong sense of place and Joy Ellis’ gift for creating brilliantly nuanced characters will keep readers eagerly turning the pages as the tension and suspense intensifies leaving them desperate to find out what is going to happen next.

Deftly crafted and superbly plotted, Joy Ellis’ Marshlight is an enjoyable thriller not to be missed.
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My thanks to NetGalley, publisher Joffe Books, and author Joy Ellis for the electronic review copy.

Now, I have read all of Joy's books in this series starring Matt and Liz and set in the Lincolnshire Fens.  All are excellently atmospherically portrayed, all having really well-rounded characters and good plots.  However, for Marshlight, I do feel a little disappointed (having all the previous books to compare to): it's a slow read and in places felt rather tedious and repetitive in both environmental descriptions and "what's the best thing to do" passages of musings by the main characters.

Both Matt and Liz, in their own ways, appear to be becoming disenchanted with the mundanity of some of their PI work since retiring from the Force.  Their latest case of trying to trace the whereabouts of their friend's sister Amy has met with a dead end, but then their lives become more interesting.  Liz's cousin Christie comes to stay in order to research her employer's new book and Matt's previous boss offers him work to investigate suspects in a 4yr-old cold case involving the murder of Lindsey Harrison.  Liz spends time introducing Christie to the locals and places of interest concerning the superstitions and folklore surrounding the Fens and their strange phenomena.  In the process Christie begins to make friends, in particular Tom and Delphi at the bookshop and Jane at her art gallery.  However, she takes an instant dislike to the bookshop's owner Gina Spearman.  She gradually concludes that Gina is a master-manipulator - blighting her friends' lives.  She's determined to save them - but at what cost?  Despite warnings from Matt and Liz Christie is determined to do something - with unforeseen consequences.

This, I'm afraid is really slow and, quite frankly not a patch on previous books.
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An interesting little book.  Very nice descriptions of the Fens and a fair bit about the legends surrounding the marshlights.  The story is about Liz and Matt, a pair of ex police, now private investigators, and Christie, who is Liz's cousin who is visiting the area to do research for the author she works for.  Liz and Matt are asked by their old team to help them look into a cold case while Christie makes new friends.  Unfortunately the friends seem to be controlled like puppets by a woman called Gina and they jump to her every whim.  Christie feels like she is the only one who can see it, until she speaks to the mother of one of her friends.
She feels more and more caught in Gina's games and wants to leave it all behind, but life is never easy and the book would be very short if she did!
Meanwhile Matt and Liz's enquiries reveal some startling information that could solve the case, but they have to stop the suspect before they kill again.
I have to admit I had worked out who did what quite early on, but it was interesting to see how it was all woven together.  I enjoyed reading this.
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Former police officers Matt and Liz now run a PI agency, looking for missing people and pets and less happily, following unfaithful partners in divorce cases. They have been asked to act as snouts for the police in a four year old case involving an unsolved murder when Liz's cousin Christie comes to stay. Christie is a researcher for a crime writer and is his eyes and ears for each of the locations. This time the locations is the Fens. Christie soon makes friends and settles into village life with one sore point: Gina Spearman who she dislikes on sight. She and Gina are soon embroiled in a battle of wills which Gina looks set to win. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were great and mostly likeable and Gina the villain was satisfactorily manipulative and horrible. If I had one quibble it would be that some characters are too easily taken in by Gina. I've had experience of someone like her when I was young and we very quickly saw through her so that part seemed a little unbelievable to me. But the descriptions of the Fens were wonderful as was the recounting of the superstitions surrounding the lights that are seen on the marshland. It's the fourth in the series and works very well as a standalone book and is an excellent psychological thriller. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. I'm off to seek out more of the author's work.
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DCI Matt Ballard has now retired from the police after several harrowing cases nearly finished him off. He and his partner, former sergeant Liz Haynes who was left with life threatening injuries after book one and never returned to work, have set up as private detectives, living in Tanners Fen, meaning that we get to enjoy more brilliant stories involving the pair. In the prologue we read about Amy, the missing girl Matt and Liz have been trying to trace for their friend Frances Morton, but after 6 months they have nothing and are forced to give up. They firmly believe “something” has happened due to the radical change in her behaviour shortly before she disappeared. Matt has been quietly missing his old life in the police and is delighted to be offered some “snout” work by DCI Charlotte Anders, looking into persons of interest in a 4 year old cold case, the murder of Lindsay Harrison. So while Liz gets to spend some time with her cousin, Christie, who is staying with them while doing research on the Fens with all its folklore and wonderful atmospheric scenery, for what will be her boss and best-selling author Auden Meeres’ final novel, even getting to see the mysterious marsh lights, Matt can get stuck in to his new case. Much better than a missing pet or adulterous spouse!! One place of great delight for Christie is the bookshop in Fenfleet where she takes a shine to manager Tom Parrish and his mother but an instant dislike to the owner Gina Spearman who was laying into employee Delphi and seems to play manipulative mind games with people. Just what is she planning at that the house on the edge of the marsh and what is this strange hold she seems to have over people? Matt and Liz manage to produce a possible new witness and suspect for Lindsay’s murder, while Christie decides she wants to make her life in the Fens and sets out to protect these new friends she has come to care about very quickly. How far will Gina take her venomous scheming and will anyone see her for what she really is? And will Liz and Matt make the all-important connections they need in time to halt a very dangerous killer?
What better place for sinister goings on than the misty and mysterious fens, with their dark tales of lantern men and will o' the wisps claiming the lives of the lost? There are beautifully drawn and very likeable characters in this story that you immediately feel right at home with, as a completely absorbing tale is woven by a very gifted storyteller. It was also great to see former colleagues and characters such as DC Bryn Owen making another appearance as Matt and Liz show their detective streaks are as strong as ever. There is plenty of suspense throughout the story which has a shocking yet immensely satisfying ending. Highly recommended (I couldn't put it down) and I sincerely hope we get more of Matt and Liz in their new roles. 5*
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Thank you to #NetGalley and #JoffeeBooks for allowing me to read #MarshLight by #JoyEllis. 
When you pick up a Joy Ellis book you know you are in for a treat and this is no exception. 
The fourth book in the Matt Ballard series this book does not disappoint.  When Liz’s cousin comes to visit the area for research she stays with Matt and Liz. She is there to do research for an author and spends time in the local bookstore and becomes friends with the staff but then she meets the owner Gina, taking an immediate dislike to her and the way she treats her staff. 
Christie asks Matt and Liz to investigate Gina. They are already looking into a missing woman and when another woman goes missing Christie is convinced Gina is involved. Set in the fens this is a very atmospheric novel   A terrific read.
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Matt and Liz, both retired from the police, are now working as private investigators. Things have been pretty quiet .. which is not a bad thing.

But Matt and Liz wish something new would come up, other than following cheating spouse. You know what they say .. be careful of what you wish for ... you might get it.

An old friend's sister disappears and is never heard from again. There's no evidence of any violence, but her friends say she'd been acting a little strangely before she went missing.

While Matt has been asked by his old boss to take a quiet look around, Liz's cousin, Christie, comes for a visit. She's working for an author, doing his research as he is severely ill. Christie is one of those people who makes friends wherever she goes. But she's come across woman that just sets her teeth on edge.

Gina is the local bookshop owner who seems to turn cold, then hot at a moment's notice. She's not the nicest person around and a lot of people stay away from her. But there's a small number who think she is a wonderful person, even with her horrible behavior.

Christie is convinced that Gina is manipulating everyone around her. Is she onto something dangerous or just pushing her new friends away?

No one believes her suspicions until another friend goes missing late at night on the misty Fen marshes.

As I have found with all this author's previous books, it is well-written, the plot is full of solidly drawn characters. Gina is the one to watch. She's vicious while sugar wouldn't melt in her mouth. The background of the lights on the marshes was a terrific backdrop to the crimes committed. It's a page turner, for sure. Although 4th in the series, this is easily read as a stand alone. I do recommend reading in order because of the backstories of Matt and Liz.

Many thanks to the author / Joffe Books / Books n All Book Promotions / Netgalley for the digital copy of this psychological thriller/ crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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Marshlight is the fourth instalment in the former Detective Chief Inspector Matt Ballard and Detective Sergeant Liz Jones series; they both now work as Private Investigators in the rural fenlands, Lincolnshire. Matt and Liz have just been winding up a case they were hired to investigate regarding a missing person, and despite it being a welcome break from the rather tedious cheating spouse investigations that make up the bulk of their work, they have not been able to find missing woman Amy, who is Liz’s friend’s sister and the few leads they once had turned out to be fruitless. Meanwhile, Liz is delighted to receive an unexpected email from her cousin Christie McFerran who is coming to the Fens for a visit to carry out some research. Christie is a researcher for prominent blind author Auden Meeres and will be coming to the area to gather information about the folklore and beauty of the area for her boss’ next book as he likes to ensure the descriptions he gives are accurate. However, she ends up staying longer than anticipated as Auden falls seriously ill and so she befriends many of the local folk. Retired vicar Ian Hardy used to be London-based but has come home to care for his dying sister, Evelyn. He is kind enough to offer Christie the use of her beautiful cottage and gardens, known as The Mulberries, to stay in. 

Two other people she instantly enjoys the company of are Tom Parrish, the manager of the local bookstore, where Christie has been spending many long hours researching, and his assistant, Delphi. However, the proprietor of the shop, Gina Spearman, is an individual Christie can see right through. She's manipulative, condescending, controlling, a liar and very much proves herself to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing yet most have given her the benefit of the doubt or are woefully naive. But soon strange incidents begin happening, there's increasing friction and suspicion between the townsfolk, Delphi vanishes completely and the bodies begin piling up; Christie is adamant Gina is somehow involved. Is she? This is a riveting, extremely complex and compulsively readable addition to a much-loved series and the atmosphere of the rural Fens can be felt from the start. When I say it is action-packed, I really mean it as there are multiple intertwining threads and more than enough drama, murder, backstabbing, secrets and shocks for any small town. Ellis places some of her enthralling trademark twists and turns throughout and makes good use of red herrings to throw you off the scent. A scintillating, absorbing and thoroughly entertaining procedural with plenty of thrills. Highly recommended.
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I look forward to Joy Ellis books as they are always good and this was no exception. There were lots of twists and turns and interesting characters. The story was well crafted and the ending was well thought out.
Thank you Netgalley and Joffe books for allowing me to read this book and to give my unbiased opinion.
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Liz and Matt have been trying to track down Amy, the sister of a friend who disappeared.  All they know is that she was acting funny just before she disappeared.  They have also been looking into unfaithful marriage partners and don't like doing that.  Liz hears that her cousin Christie is coming to the Fens to research a mystery book for a famous author, and she invites Christie to stay with them.  

Liz takes Christie to her favorite bookstore where she meets Tom and Delphi, who work there.  She soon figures out that their boss, Gina, is playing games on them, and treating them very badly.  Christie also becomes friends with Tom's mother, and a retired minister, Ian, whose sister is very ill, and the local painter, Jane, whose paintings she has purchased and is also being manipulated by Gina.  Tom and Delphi think that Gina is wonderful, and can't see how she is manipulating them.  Christie finds lots of good information for her author, and likes the area so much, she is considering moving there.  

Meanwhile, Liz and Matt are asked to help with a cold case of a local murdered woman.  After Ian's sister dies, Christie helps him sort through her things and falls in love with the house.  Ian agrees to sell it to her whenever her current house is sold.  Ian gives Christie Gina's mother's address, even though Gina has been saying she died a few years ago.  Christie pays Gina's mother a call, and soon Christie knows that Gina is even worse than she had thought.  When Delphi disappears, Christie is sure that Gina is responsible, but Gina had left a note to Delphi not to go out.    Liz and Matt begin to think all the deaths are connected, and they must find the killer before he or she kills again.

There is a lot of suspense in this book, some excellent characters and wonderful descriptions of the Fens.
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Definitely a “cozy” mystery what with the setting-the fens and a bookstore
With a lot of references to good meals and drink and with the action slowly paced. Having not read this series previously I wasn’t sure what to expect. I found it a bit slow moving given all the description and felt it could have benefitted from some editing. Not sure it was truly a psychological thriller as it was described but more a slow pulsating mystery. Loved the description of the fens but the mystery part at times was historionic.
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DCI Matt Ballard #4

An old friends sister disappears without trace. There's no sign of foul play. but she's been acting very peculiarly. Meanwhile, Liz's cousin Christie comes to stay. She takes an instant dislike to the local bookshop owner, Gina Christie is convinced that Gina is manipulating everyone around her. No one believes her until another friend goes missing late at night on the misty Fens marshes, Can Matt and Liz uncover the truth in time to save lives?

There is a lot going on in this book with several different plotlines. Ex-policeman - now turned PI Matt  Ballard  and his DS Liz Jones have both retired from the force. Matt gets a call from one of his ex-colleagues about a woman who had been murdered several years ago. No one has been brought to justice. Liz's cousin Christie comes to stay but manages to upset one of the locals.

This is an atmospheric crime thriller. I like the authors writing style and you can tell this book has been well researched. There is a few sub-plots that make the plotline more intriguing.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #JoffeBooks and the author #JoyEllis for my ARC of #Marshlight in exchange for an honest review.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Joffe Books for an advance copy of Marshlight, the fourth novel to feature former DCI Matt Ballard and his partner former DS Liz Haynes, now PIs in the fens.

Matt and Liz have been looking into the disappearance of a friend’s sister, but with all leads exhausted have had to admit defeat, which gives them time to help out the local police by looking into the background of various individuals linked to the cold case murder of Lindsay Harrison. At the same time Liz’s cousin Christie comes to stay and takes an immediate and most say irrational dislike to local bookstore owner Gina Spearman. Christie thinks she’s an evil manipulator, her friends say she’s a loyal, if difficult, supporter. Who’s right?

I thought the previous novel in the series, Dying Light, was a fantastic, atmospheric slow burn of a novel and was really looking forward to Marshlight, but I found it disappointing and overly long for such a slim plot. Don’t get me wrong, the novel has the usual warm, readable style, an atmospheric setting and (some) relatable characters, but the content didn’t appeal to me as I found it obvious and rather repetitive.

The main storyline is the psychological cat and mouse game between Christie and Gina. It’s not really my cup of tea as there is only so much crime fiction can say about psychopaths and this brings nothing new, just different details to a standard trope. There is a sense of inevitability about it all, but the novel takes it time getting there.

Marshlight did not appeal to me.
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Joy Ellis never disappoints! Her plots are always well crafted and her characters are credible and well drawn. This latest in her Detective Matt Ballard series is a fusion of crime novel and psychological thriller. To begin with there is a focus on a cold case, but the manipulative character Gina Spearman is present throughout. Lots of Lincolnshire myths and legends are woven into this absorbing book. Highly recommended.
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Get your snacks, make a comfy nest, and enjoy a trip to the fenlands. It’s no real mystery who’s at the bottom of the disappearances and murders. The question is how can Christy, Matt, and Liz prove it before someone else dies.

Marshlights by Joy Ellis is a satisfying British mystery. The story develops steadily as we view the events in great part through the eyes of Christie, a newcomer England’s rural fenlands. She works as research assistant to a well-known author who is working on what he fears will be his last book.

Christie becomes enmeshed in the lives of the denizens of the community—more involved than she has a right to be and what she discovers is disturbing. 

For a time, Christie bunks with her cousin Liz and partner Matt, both retired police officers who now run a private investigation business. Asked by their former colleagues to investigate a cold case murder in the area, they soon find their inquiries parallel Christie’s experiences. This is a Liz and Matt book, but Christie’s story merges nicely.

Things I liked:
•	A story set on slow burn is awesome—as long as it reaches kindling point and bursts into flame at some point. The seemingly disparate events and characters come together in the end. 
•	I liked how much I loathed one character in the book. Ellis did a such a fine job of drawing this character, I have to wonder if she modeled this one on someone she knows—or several someones. 
•	Being a paranormal and folklore junkie, I appreciated the tales and legends of the marshlights. 

Things I didn’t like so much:
•	Really the only thing I would tell the author if I were her editor would be to add dialogue or action scenes rather than description. On the other hand, that’s sort of the style and though it tends to mute the lovely atmosphere, it isn’t a deal breaker for me. It’s the old show, don’t tell thingie. I like a good British mystery that takes time but would rather see it happening than be told what happened.

Marshlights by Joy Ellis kept me following local gossip and tracking down suspicions until the wee hours. I have not read other books by this prolific author but, based on this one, I’d happily recommend her to lovers of British mysteries.
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Another great book from Joy Ellis.  Having left the police force Matt and Liz are now fully fledged private investigators and they use all of their investigative skills when Liz’s cousin Christie comes to stay.  Christie is researching the myths and mysteries of the Fens but she becomes embroiled in a web of intrigue masterminded by a psychopath.  Disconcerting and chilling at times this is an excellent read.
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Another 'winner' by the phenomenal Joy Ellis.  When I open a book by this author I know I am guaranteed a treat and I certainly wasn't disappointed this book was a real treat. It has several aspects to it:  I psychopathic character, weird goings on with Jack-o-lantern,  and cold case murder.  All tie together perfectly towards the end where, as with the previous Matt Ballard books, we are left with the question:  Who dunnit?  I know who my money is on but I will leave you to make up your own mind and we may find out in future books who knows what Joy has in store for the characters.

Although this is very much a Matt and Liz book Gina and Christie are the main characters.  Christie a lovely woman with a very caring nature who sees Gina for what she really is whereas Tom, Delphi and Jane see her through rose tinted glasses.  Gina is a master manipulator she is very intelligent and uses this to maximum advantage to mess with peoples' minds.  When Gina decides to use Christie in her games she even manages to get Christie doubting herself.  

Christie, Liz' cousin, is a researcher for an author and arrives on the Fens to research Jack-o-Lantern and other mysterious goings on for Auden's latest book but she is in a race against time.  Auden is ill and Christie need to get what Auden needs so finish his 'last' book.  Matt is looking into a 2 year old murder of a young girl for his old boss and Liz is searching for Frances' sister, Amy who has disappeared.  3 seeming different investigations that all come together to make an absolutely gripping pageturner.

I seem to say this with every book but this could be Joy Ellis' best book yet.

5 golden stars from me
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Book Four Matt Ballard private investigator is back with partner Liz Haynes.
Cannon Farm, Tanner's Fen are getting company her cousin Christie McFerran is bringing author Auden Meeres to stay as his new book setting for Marsh Light and Liz would be his favourite guide, not a well man and this could be his final novel both cousins are long over due a good catch up. I enjoyed this story, it was well written, had good narrative and good pacing and the characters were well developed and relatable. I read this quickly and would definitely recommend it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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Another excellent addition to the Matt Ballard books by Joy Ellis.  I love the setting of these books.  A great read.
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