#BookReview: Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza #DevilsWay #damppebbles

“THE TRUTH HIDES IN THE DARK

When Private Investigator Kate Marshall is rushed to hospital after being pulled into a riptide current in the sea, the near-death experience leaves her shaken. During her recovery, she befriends Jean, an elderly lady on the same ward. Jean tells the harrowing story of how her three-year-old grandson, Charlie, went missing eleven years ago during a camping trip on Dartmoor.

By the time Kate is well enough to go home, she’s agreed to take on the case, but when Kate and her trusty sidekick Tristan start to look at the events of that fateful night, they discover that Jean has a dark past that could have put Charlie in jeopardy.

Was Charlie abducted? Or did he fall into Devil’s Way? A rushing river that vanishes into a gorge close to where they were camping.

When Kate and Tristan discover that a social worker who flagged concerns about Jean and her daughter was found brutally murdered shortly after Charlie vanished, it makes them question everything they thought they knew about the family…”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza. Devil’s Way is the fourth book in the Kate Marshall Thriller Series, is published by Raven Street Publishing today (that’s Thursday 12th January 2023) and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats. I chose to read a free ARC of Devil’s Way but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to the team at Raven Street Publishing for sending me a finished copy.

I am a HUGE fan of Robert Bryndza’s writing and his Erika Foster series. I have a full-blown girl crush on Erika, and the arrival of the seventh book after a small wait was one of the highlights of my year in 2022. However, and I am hanging my head in utter shame here, until recently I hadn’t had an opportunity to pick up any of Bryndza’s Kate Marshall novels. I know. Fan girl fail of epic proportions, right? But I have now righted that wrong, phew. Devil’s Way was my introduction to Kate and Tristan and I loved every single second of it.

Recovering in hospital from a riptide which nearly killed her, Kate Marshall starts to chat to Jean, the elderly woman in the next bed. Jean shares a heart breaking tale of a family holiday gone horribly wrong. Camping on the moors one evening with her daughter, her daughter’s partner and their young son, Jean, who was sharing a tent with young Charlie, became distracted for a few moments allowing Charlie to disappear. Eleven years later and Charlie is still missing. The devastation caused in that one moment tore the family apart and still consumes Jean’s thoughts. Realising Kate is a private detective Jean asks her to investigate Charlie’s disappearance. Still recovering from nearly drowning, Kate agrees. As Kate and Tristan start to investigate it becomes clear that Jean has a dark past. Could she be the reason Charlie vanished? Or did Devil’s Way, a fast flowing river near to where they were camping, wash Charlie away…?

Devil’s Way is a skilfully written, immersive, slow burn mystery which I thoroughly enjoyed. This was my first introduction to the character of Kate Marshall and it’s safe to say, I cannot wait to be reunited with her. So much so, I now have all three earlier books on the TBR waiting for me. I will be interested to see if Kate’s traumatic past, which is referred to in Devil’s Way a couple of times, is covered in depth in one of the earlier books. I am so intrigued and I want to know everything that’s happened to this woman! What I will say, being a crime fiction reader and having an unspoken rule about not starting a series part-way through (normally!), I found this book so easy and straight forward to dive into, not knowing anything that’s happened to these characters before. Often, when starting a series part-way through, I feel quite lost. Events are referred to that you know nothing about. Relationships are discussed and it can get confusing. Who? What? Where? Huh? That was definitely not the case here. This is the most standalone-part-of-a-series novel I can remember reading. Ever. It’s incredibly well done and I commend the author on making it easy for the reader to pick up and just enjoy. If you haven’t read this series before then please don’t worry. Devil’s Way works incredibly well as a standalone. But I guarantee you’ll be doing the same as me and adding the first three books to your TBR when you reach the end!

Eleven years is a long time. Evidence gets lost. Memories change, sometimes changing altogether and witnesses are no longer around to talk to. Kate and her assistant, Tristan, struggle to make head way on the case. Not helped by Kate’s slow recovery following her near drowning. I was completely immersed in the lives of the characters and the investigation as a whole. As each stone was unturned, I became more gripped. The book is beautifully paced keeping the reader fully within the pages of the story, desperate to discover what happened to Charlie. As it’s a cold case, it does move at a more sedate pace in parts, but for me, I love that gradual unravelling which the author has done so well here. And of course, being a Robert Bryndza novel, there are perfectly placed moments of high tension which had me holding my breath. Marvellous stuff!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. I loved Devil’s Way and I cannot wait to read the first three books in the series as soon as humanly possible. This is such a well-written mystery with superb characterisation and the most breath-taking setting which the author brings to life with ease. I loved everything about Devil’s Way and will be recommending it to everyone. Yes, it’s the fourth book in the series but it absolutely DOES work without having read the others. Robert Bryndza remains one of my favourite authors and I’m very excited about the author’s first standalone psychological thriller, Fear the Silence, which is hitting bookshelves this Summer! All in all, an eminently readable, thoroughly enjoyable, completely gripping and atmospheric cold case investigation featuring a new favourite character. Nice to have a private detective at the helm for a refreshing change of scene. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Devil’s Way by Robert Bryndza was published in the UK by Raven Street Publishing on 12th January 2023 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shopdamppebbles amazon.co.uk shopdamppebbles amazon.com shop |

Robert Bryndza is best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies. His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).

Robert has released a further five novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, all of which have been global bestsellers, and in 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller. Fatal Witness, the seventh Erika Foster novel, has just been published.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 18 countries. The second book in the series is the global bestselling, Shadow Sands and the third book is, Darkness Falls.

Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University, and the Guildford School of Acting, and was an actor for several years, but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. He self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels, before switching to writing crime. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia, and is lucky enough to write full-time.

#BookReview: Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza #FatalWitness #damppebbles

How do you find a killer who has destroyed all the evidence?

Detective Erika Foster is on a late-night walk near her new house in Blackheath when she stumbles upon the brutal murder of Vicky Clarke, a true-crime podcaster.

Erika is assigned to the case and discovers that Vicky had been working on a new podcast episode about a sexual predator who preys on young female students around South London, staking out his victims in their halls of residence before breaking in at the dead of night.

When Erika discovers that Vicky’s notes and sound recordings were stolen from her flat at the time of her murder, it leads her to believe that Vicky was close to unmasking the attacker, and she was killed to guarantee her silence.

The case takes on a disturbing twist when the body of a young Bulgarian student doctor is discovered in the same building, and this makes Erika question everything she thought she knew about Vicky. With very little evidence, the clock is ticking to find the killer before he strikes again.”

Hello and welcome to damppebbles. Today I am delighted to share my review of Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza. Fatal Witness is the seventh book in the hugely popular Detective Erika Foster series and will be published in all formats by Raven Street Publishing later this week (that’s Thursday 7th July 2022). I chose to read and review a free ARC of Fatal Witness but that has in no way influenced my review. My grateful thanks to Robert for sending me a finished copy.

Erika Foster is back, baby! I have been a HUGE fan of Bryndza’s kick-ass detective since she first arrived on bookshelves back in 2016. In fact, The Girl in the Ice, book one in the series, was one of the first books I reviewed on damppebbles! So I feel Erika and I have some history. And since that first introduction, I have read and thoroughly enjoyed every single new title. So imagine my excitement when I heard the seventh book was set to be published 🤩. I could not WAIT to get my mitts on a copy of Fatal Witness!

DCI Erika Foster stumbles upon a grisly crime scene in her new neighbourhood, making her question her decision to move to Blackheath. The victim is true crime podcaster Vicky Clarke, whose body was discovered by her sister, Tess, only seconds before Erika’s arrival. Erika and her team are assigned the case, digging into Vicky’s life in an attempt to discover who wanted her dead. But the more they search, the more confusing the case becomes. There’s no motive, no evidence, and impossible as it seems, there are no records of what Vicky was working on. Could the murder be linked to one of her podcasts? Was Vicky getting close to revealing the identity of a serial sexual predator? And can Erika catch the killer before they strike again…?

The DCI Erika Foster series is by far one of my favourite police procedural series and I am so glad that the author has decided to write a seventh instalment. I’m keeping everything crossed that this is only the beginning and there are many more adventures to come for my favourite Slovakian DCI. I adore Erika. She’s a little bit of a b!tch (she’d be the first to admit that herself – in fact, I think she does in Fatal Witness!), she’s a little bit bossy, she’s a whole lot of kick-ass but oh my gosh, she gets the job done. To be reunited with her and the team felt like meeting up with old friends I haven’t seen in a while and I loved every single second. Erika is a strong, independent, determined woman but I felt the author added a level of vulnerability to her character in this book that we perhaps haven’t seen before. Still coming to terms with the events of the previous book, still grief stricken by the sudden and violent death of her husband before her transfer to London and having recently moved house, it’s clear to the reader that Erika Foster is a lonely woman. I really felt for her. That vulnerability made me like her even more (if that’s possible!). And fingers crossed, the future may be a smidge brighter. Possibly. Maybe. Who knows…?

The plot is compelling and draws the reader into the story from the prologue. There are, as I’ve come to expect from a Robert Bryndza novel, several fantastically placed and beautifully penned twists and turns along the way which keep the reader on their toes. I really enjoyed how flummoxed the team were at points in the story. With very few leads, a small number of possible culprits but no evidence to confirm their suspicions, they quickly run out of plausible, workable options. I was, of course, trying my darnedest to work out whodunit. (I’m a crime fiction fan, I’m sure we all do it!) However, as I approached the end of the book I could not for the life of me work out the who nor the why!

Would I recommend this book? I would, yes. If you’re a fan of well-written, cleverly plotted police procedurals then you need Fatal Witness, along with the first six books in the series, in your life. The entire series is an absolute ‘must read’ for crime fiction fans. All in all, a compelling, incredibly readable addition to a standout series which I hope continues for many more books to come. I’m still a little bit in love with Erika and I can’t see that changing any time soon. Great plot, fantastic characters, intensely atmospheric and impossible to put down. Highly recommended.

I chose to read and review a free ARC of Fatal Witness. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Fatal Witness by Robert Bryndza was published in the UK by Raven Street Publishing on 7th July 2022 and is available in hardcover, paperback, audio and digital formats (please note, the following links are affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage of the purchase price at no extra cost to you): | amazon.co.ukWaterstonesFoylesBook DepositoryGoodreadsdamppebbles bookshop.org shop |

Robert BryndzaRobert Bryndza is an international bestselling author, best known for his page-turning crime and thriller novels, which have sold over five million copies.

His crime debut, The Girl in the Ice was released in February 2016, introducing Detective Chief Inspector Erika Foster. Within five months it sold one million copies, reaching number one in the Amazon UK, USA and Australian charts. To date, The Girl in the Ice has sold over 1.5 million copies in the English language and has been sold into translation in 29 countries. It was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award for Mystery & Thriller (2016), the Grand prix des lectrices de Elle in France (2018), and it won two reader voted awards, The Thrillzone Awards best debut thriller in The Netherlands (2018) and The Dead Good Papercut Award for best page turner at the Harrogate Crime Festival (2016).

Robert has released a further five novels in the Erika Foster series, The Night Stalker, Dark Water, Last Breath, Cold Blood and Deadly Secrets, all of which have been global bestsellers, and in 2017 Last Breath was a Goodreads Choice Award nominee for Mystery and Thriller. Fatal Witness, the seventh Erika Foster novel, is now available to pre-order and will be published 7th July 2022.

Most recently, Robert created a new crime thriller series based around the central character Kate Marshall, a police officer turned private detective. The first book, Nine Elms, was an Amazon USA #1 bestseller and an Amazon UK top five bestseller, and the series has been sold into translation in 18 countries. The second book in the series is the global bestselling, Shadow Sands and the third book, Darkness Falls, has just been published.

Robert was born in Lowestoft, on the east coast of England. He studied at Aberystwyth University, and the Guildford School of Acting, and was an actor for several years, but didn’t find success until he took a play he’d written to the Edinburgh Festival. This led to the decision to change career and start writing. He self-published a bestselling series of romantic comedy novels, before switching to writing crime. Robert lives with his husband in Slovakia, and is lucky enough to write full-time.