Crime on the Fens: a gripping detective thriller full of suspense, by Joy Ellis

Detective Inspector (DI) Nikki Galena is a tough, driven detective for the apparently fictional town of Greenborough. She’s a loose cannon. She’s a rogue cop. She’s a firebrand, an incendiary, and agent provocateur. Rights? Here’s your rights and a left to match, evildoer. She’s managed to shed every Detective Sergeant (DS) assigned to her. The upper brass or whatever the hell they’re called in the UK want her shield but her boss appreciates that she gets results.

Oh, my goodness. What an original idea. And please, write it in as gray a descriptive cadence as possible. This may be the only crime novel from the UK with only one description of the weather, let alone the town in which it’s set, or a fen. Apparently a fen is flat and in this flat fen a foul force is afoot.

What we do learn of the city is that there’s been some growth due to a rebuilt harbor, which has brought in shipping and drug traffic. There’s a criminal organization, although it can’t be very profitable as the head of the local organization lives in “estate housing” which would be comparable to public housing in the US. There has also been a rash of crimes committed by youth wearing masks. This, along with two missing young women, will eventually be resolved.

Meanwhile, DI Nikki Galena pistol-whips (or whatever the UK equivalent would be for cops who don’t carry pistols) her way through some criminals because she had to hold a young girl as she died of a drug overdose and her own daughter is in a vegetative state in a local hospital after being poisoned by a local drug dealer. (The reason, when it’s exposed, is as pathetic a thing as I’ve read in many years.) Her new DS Joseph Easter is a misunderstood manhunk who’s had to be imported from a different district because Galena, with her minimal interest in human rights of anyone but herself, has driven all the others away. Easter has his own mysterious background as a vet from the middle east.

Galena is a recurring character in other books based in fen-land, all of which Joffe Books marks with inane subtitles such as “a gripping crime thriller full of twists” or “a gripping crime thriller with a huge twist”. My recommendation is either write better or use more original tropes. But avoiding both I suppose demands overselling on the cover.