In 2018 I was introduced to a new author, Shaun Baines, and loved his book, Woodcutter. Woodcutter was the start of a dark, gritty and violent series in the Daniel Dayton Series. His latest release is not part of the Daniel Dayton series but the start of the Holly Fleet Mysteries and is a completely different style of story, and a series that looks like it going to be a winner.
Holly Fleet and her husband Derek have hit hard times so move back to the small of village of Little Belton in Northumberland that she grew up in. To make ends meet Holly has a job with the local newspaper as a reporter (as well as doing the bookkeeping, admin, advertising and cleaning) and has also taken a second job as a barmaid in the local pub.
Little Belton is a small village in the beautiful Northumberland countryside and when a local pensioner goes missing things are about to change for the village and Holly. Arcadia Leisure, a corporation led by an eccentric outsider, has bought the abandoned Black Rock Manor and its surrounding land and wants to turn it into a theme park. Whilst some see the theme park as bringing much needed jobs to the area, some see it as ruining the village and livelihoods and Holly doesn’t want her rundown cottage replaced with a log flume!
When a local pensioner goes missing and another attacked, Holly vows to find the missing resident and get to the bottom of what is going on and help save the village before her new start dies.
Overall, after reading the Daniel Dayton books, I was very impressed with the style of writing by Shaun Baines and looked forward to reading this new book. But be warned, the Holly Fleet Mysteries are a departure from the dark, gritty and violent world of Daniel Dayton – but are enjoyable just the same.
Black Rock Manor is a mystery novel that is much more fun and intriguing than Shaun’s previous series and has been written in a much more light-hearted way. The hero of this book is a non-violent woman who is just trying to make ends meet who becomes an investigative journalist, with the help of the “feral” Callum Acres. The story is very good and is full of twists and turns, alongside great characters.
I loved Shaun’s Daniel Dayton series and although the Holly Fleet series is much more toned down, less violent and not as dark or gritty I think it is going to be an excellent series. Black Rock Manor was hard to put down, it is fun, engaging and the characters have real depth.
This is not an action-packed, all guns blazing, edge of your seat thriller but is a light, well thought out and well-written mystery that subtlety grabs hold and gets you hooked.
Black Rock Manor is a mystery that is definitely worth a read. Shaun Baines has brought a sleepy Northumberland village to live with an excellent mystery story that has a good central plot and enjoyable subplots that fit with the story and enhance it. The character of Holly Fleet is perfect and whilst she is no Nancy Drew or Miss Marple she is one that you can relate to and love, I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
A fun, intriguing and entertaining mystery novel that travels along at a reasonable pace.
RRP: £8.99 (Paperback) / £1.99 (Kindle)