Posted 20 hours ago

Death Under a Little Sky: The new debut rural crime detective thriller you won’t want to miss in 2023 (Jake Jackson, Book 1)

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The author blends mystery with an incredibly atmospheric setting which he really brings to life with his lyrical and descriptive writing. Things start off slowly, gradually gaining momentum as the danger levels ramp up in the second half of the book. This pace suits both characters and setting, for me anything else would have felt wrong. In March 2014, Abell started co-presenting a show on LBC Radio alongside Sky News television presenter Kay Burley from 8am to 11am on Sundays. Burley was the main presenter while Abell reviewed the papers and added political comment. When the bones of a young woman turn up during a treasure hunt, it is among these people that Jake will have to seek for answers. Strangers at first, he and the reader will gradually come to know them, to see their connections to each other – the loves and jealousies, the kindnesses and brutalities, the secrets and the fears. The depth of the characterisation is wonderful, layer built on layer. Many of the characters are eccentric, but none are caricatured – I found each one credible in his or her own life, seeing how the claustrophobia of isolation affects both individuals and community.

It is quite a journey to get to his new home and finds that there is no shower or bathroom but the nearby lake to wash in and the only entertainment he has is the several bookcases of books mainly crime novels and classical music to entertain him. But he grows accustomed to his surroundings and the new way of life.


Thank you, Harper Collins for an ARC of Death is under a little sky. I can’t believe this is a debut novel. At first, I thought is this actually a crime novel? As, the writing is beautiful, quite poetic in fact. This is a very experience writer.

Jake leaves his failed marriage and job as Detective for a house in the middle of nowhere. Living totally off grid offers the opportunity to renegotiate a life that hasn’t gone well so far.. Embracing the practical and mental challenges of his self imposed exile, Jake is consoled by a library of detective novels, listening to music, swimming in the lake and the wildlife.. Talking about putting together his first fiction crime novel, Stig - who co-presents the Monday to Thursday breakfast show on Times Radio with Aasmah Mir - explained: “I wrote the whole thing before considering publishing it, just for the joy of it really. I wrote 2000 words a day, every lunchtime and afternoon. I wrote it after I finished the radio. Second in the military crime series featuring Special Agents Scott Brodie and Magnolia "Maggie" Taylor, after The Deserter (2019).The first thing you notice about this novel is the writing - loaded with description, lyrical. This was like watching a movie as the vistas around Little Sky opened up before me. I loved how the author really took his time, introducing the landscape and his central character. I enjoyed being part of Jake’s evolving routines, running and swimming in the lake, his mediation..…I wasn’t in a rush for this to become anything else and when it did it felt so organic. These initial chapters aren’t fast paced, and I loved that! There was a mix of characters.. you're usual country folk, the single mum and her daughter.. the criminal tough guys and of course.. the young retired detective [Jake] who has never experienced country life before. I really enjoyed getting to know him, and I hope we will be seeing our off the books detective more in the future. To say there wasn't a huge number of characters, the author did a great job at bringing them life and fulfilling the realistic sense of community you get in a small village. Still overall it’s a decent effort. The writing is pretty good, if a little over descriptive. It did feel a somewhat padded story but the main character was pretty interesting.

Firstly, let's start with the setting.. the countryside.. the author made this superbly atmospheric.. throw in a murder and you've got the perfect story. The fact that the small village was completely isolated from any real civilisation made it a whole lot more eerie.It’s told in the third person but almost entirely from Jake’s perspective. There is a prologue that is dark, atmospheric and intriguing, and I was immediately hooked. As a woman stands atop a flight of crumbling stairs, the reader is swept round the neighbourhood, peering through the windows at the various inhabitants… I enjoyed this one to a point. It did seem a bit confused about what it wanted to be. Starts as a mystery thriller then veers into cosy thriller, a sort of self discovery book and a romance novel. The end I thought was a bit of a let down and a bit hard to swallow.

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