Black River

by Joss Stirling

Saturday, December 30, 2023

Cover of the book, Black River

I often download free book offers on Apple Books, and then I end up with a folder full of books that aren’t really to my taste. There’s the odd gem to be found though, and this is one of them.

Go back to the 90s and I devoured every female private eye novel I could find, they were totally my thing, strong female characters, interesting plots, they were just full of people who seemed much more real than the characters in many other books, with a helping of clever deductions and wild escapes. I don’t come across that particular sub-genre very often anymore. In a way the things that attracted me to those books bled out into the wider world of crime and mystery and it wasn’t as necessary to have the fix I needed from these books - and besides some of those series are still going and still favourites of mine. But it’s still really nice to come across a new modern series in the same vein.

This book introduces Jess Bridges, her case involves a teenage girl who, whilst not actually missing, has a mother who is concerned about her having absconded with her stepfather. However the book begins with Jess stumbling over a dead body whilst skinny dipping, which, I guess, is the kind of weird humour that I enjoy. Though there were bits of the plot that I didn’t think really made sense, on the whole it was nicely done and two different threads came together without seeming contrived. I had to check it was the first in the series as numerous mentions were made of a previous case involving a couple of the characters, I wonder if that was always supposed to be back story or if this was the stronger book and got moved into pole position. I’m pleased to see that there are several more volumes in the series and they are on my list to read now.