I read lots of thrillers / crime thrillers and some can be quite involved and taxing. In 2018, I discovered a new author of crime thrillers and gangster noir, quite violent ones, and really enjoyed the books. That author is Shaun Baines, author of the Daniel Dayton Series. In 2020, he started a new series, but this time with a completely different character: Holly Fleet. The Holly Fleet Mystery series is a complete departure from the violent world of Daniel Dayton. The Holly Fleet Mystery series is a cosy mystery series and, despite being much lighter reading, is one that I find quite enjoyable and a good break from the violence and murders of harder crime thrillers (more Jessica Fletcher than Daniel Dayton, although Jessica Fletcher is probably a very successful serial killer as dead bodies always seem to appear everywhere she goes, and she is never suspected).
Hadaway Farm is book number three in the Holly Fleet Mystery series. In case you haven’t read the previous two books, Holly Fleet is a newspaper writer / editor for the local paper and amateur detective in the small village of Little Belton. Being a reporter, she is naturally very nosy and takes in upon herself to look into strange occurrences in the village, with the help of Black Rock Manor estate hand, Callum.
In Hadaway Farm, Holly and Callum are about to embark on their strangest case yet. After missing pensioners, people being attacked, missing property and trying to save Black Rock Manor and Little Belton along with it, Holly must step into a world of psychics and fortune tellers when a villager is told of her imminent death.
Newspaper editor, journalist, amateur sleuth and now amateur magician’s assistant is not impressed when a psychic tells her she will come into a large amount of money, she doesn’t believe in such nonsense – the nonsense that Little Belton seems to thrive on. She is even less impressed when Kate, a recent widower, is informed that she needs to leave the village before her dead husband can kill her. Holly and Callum start to investigate and have two weeks to find out the truth.
Overall, Hadaway Farm is the third book in the Holly Fleet Mystery series and whilst it continues in the same form as the previous two, it just wasn’t my favourite – and I can’t pinpoint why. It is still as fast-paced with an interesting storyline as with the previous books, but it seemed to take me a lot longer to read and, to be honest, was one that I put down to read something else before coming back to. It isn’t a bad book, Shaun Baines is a good writer, and these cosy mysteries are very enjoyable, maybe I just couldn’t get onboard with psychics?
That said, the overall story is good and light, it travels along quite nicely and is well-written, building tension when needed and releasing it with humour. The characters are brilliant and very real with Holly a delight with her everyday clumsiness and real-world dramas.
There are plenty of plot twists to keep it intriguing and it is worth a read, just for whatever reason it wasn’t one that gripped hold of me (we can’t all enjoy everything the same way I suppose). I am looking forward to reading book #4, Mill Creek Cottage, it sounds much more up my street, and I already feel positive about it from reading the blurb.
A good read, I just didn’t find it exciting enough for a reason that I really can’t pinpoint as there really isn’t anything not to like about the story that has thrills, chills and a battle of wills.
RRP: £9.99 (Paperback) / £1.99 (Kindle)