Sycamore Gap, by L.J. Ross, A Review

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The DCI Ryan Mysteries, Book 2

Detective Chief Inspector Maxwell Ryan is back in Sycamore Gap, book two of his series. Following the first, Holy island, L J Ross has a new murder case for the Inspector. Or is it new? While the first is mentioned often, Sycamore Gap is a great read as a stand alone novel.

There is something unique about British mysteries. They so often delight the reader, even in the midst of violence and murder.  Thoughtful tales that intrigue and draw you in before you know it. It applies to this particular story as well. Very likable characters, a cold case, and serial killers…come together for a very entertaining read (or listen).

It is a fast paced story with several surprising twists that made me want to finish in one day.

The Story

A hiker sees a shiny, metallic object in a wall only to discover a body hidden within the stone fence. This one, a decade old, may tie to the imprisoned murderer who killed DCI Ryan’s sister. But by morning, there is a second body, left in the same wall.

The story is well done, with the past forcing it way into the present at times. Between the memories—and nightmares—that possess Ryan, and the similarities between the old and the new murders, and then a growing number of past murders, the police force is in a race, both to protect others and themselves.

And throughout, one individual after another picks up a phone to make a mysterious call. Something larger is at play, something with power and connections that touch too close to home. Is it a copy cat or is there some shadowy group behind the murders?

When information leaks that puts law enforcement as well as suspects in danger, Ryan suspects someone inside may be behind it all. It provides a solid investigation along with a number if unexpected twists, right up until the end.

The second of the DCI Ryan series sets up well for book three. While it finishes leaving several unresolved issues, it makes a satisfying stand alone as well.


If you have the chance to listen to the audio version, this would be a good choice. Part of the pleasure of the story for me was listening to the book from Audible. The narration was very well done. The wonderful voice of Jonathan Keeble—British accent included–takes you right to the English countryside. If you would like to hear a sample, click here.

I will be watching for the next book in this well done series. Highly recommended!

If you prefer to start at the beginning of the series, you will want to read Holy Island first…


Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Mystery Suspense Reviews .

Author: Merry Citarella

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1 Comment

  1. I love Audible audio books for fiction. I really prefer hard copies for non-fiction, so I can take notes in the books… but fiction audiobooks are great for taking walks. Looks like a good book. Thanks for the recommendation!

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