reviewed by Pam Guynn
The Gorge by Matt Brolly is a police procedural and the third book in the Detective Inspector Louise Blackwell series. The author brings plenty of suspense and lots of atmosphere to this story set mostly in and near Weston-super-Mare and the village of Cheddar in England. The tale has two points of view; primarily that of Louise but with a few short sections from the mind of a criminal.
Louise returns to work after five months of recovery from her last case. A murder investigation is about to be shelved that she feels needs closure and may not have been thoroughly scrutinized. On top of that, her niece, who is living with Louise’s parents is acting up. When her first case back is the slaughter of some sheep, she thinks she will be easing back into work. But when this escalates to something even more menacing, Louise has her work cut out for her.
Louise is a fascinating character and felt three-dimensional. She isn’t very politically savvy at work, but she fights for what is right and inspires loyalty in her co-workers. She’s also highly intelligent and has a dry sense of humor. The work/life balance that she faces is what many workers face every day. This added realism and kept me thoroughly engaged in both facets of her life.
The plot is driven by the police working through the clues. There is a lot more going on under the surface, though. Themes running through the story line include work relationships, the drive to succeed, grief, loneliness, loyalty, mental health, family, alcoholism, and much more.
There was enough at stake to keep me engaged throughout the story. The world-building was absolutely fantastic and gave a clear sense of place. I felt like I was walking up and down the steps of Jacob’s Ladder multiple times with Louise and then joining her on the cliff walk. While the main mystery was resolved in the book, there is a thread for future books in the series. There is some background given in this book, but the series is best read in order. Louise’s full background is shared in book one and helps shed light on her situation and mind-frame in the following books.
Overall, the plot was creative, absorbing and well-paced. I would recommend it to those who enjoy police procedurals and British crime dramas. I look forward to reading the next book in this series as well as checking out this author’s DCI Michael Lambert series.
Thanks 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. Publication date is currently set for February 25, 2021.