Cover Image: Death by Dark Waters

Death by Dark Waters

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Thirty-five year old DCI Jude Satterthwaite is on a hike with his brother when he spies smoke in the distance. Another fell fire… But this time, in addition to the fire services, his own team will be called in. A body has been found in a burned-out abandoned barn…

When forensic examination determines that the body is that of a child, Jude thinks that identification will prove easy. A child will be missed… This is not the case. When the body is identified, Jude and his team begin a weeks long murder case.

The Team works out of the Penrith Police Station

DCI Jude Satterthwaite – Professional, brusque, attractive, and three years out of a romantic relationship that he just can’t seem to let go of. Becca, his ex, just couldn’t understand how his job had to take precedence over his personal life. He is much respected by his team and he knows how to play to their strengths on the job.

DI Chris Dodd – Jude’s, second-in-command. Clever, quiet, gay, religious, and a chain smoker. Doddsy is the model of common sense.

DS Ashleigh O’Halloran – new to the team, intelligent, beautiful, and a copper who works on intuition and instinct. Newly separated from her husband, she has moved from Cheshire to Cumbria to make a fresh start.

DC Aditi Desai – Hard-working, intelligent working mother.

DC Chris Marshall – single, young, enthusiastic, and very talented at data mining and doing the other mundane office-centered chores the others would find boring.

Tammy – CSI investigator.


The scenic setting of the Lake District is what initially tempted me to read this novel. That and the fact that I love police procedurals and I’m always keen to discover new series.

The characterization of this novel was strong. The personalities were prominent to the narrative and were a welcome foil to the distressing murder(s).

This is a promising start to a crime fiction series. It is a novel about deceit, revenge, infidelity, and psychological power-plays. With just a hint of romance, this novel will be sure to be enjoyed by many readers. This is a series I will more than likely pursue.

Rated 3.5 stars – rounded up to 4 stars for NetGalley, Amazon and Goodreads.
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A strange murder investigation with many twists. 

DCI Jude Satterthwaite is out walking with his younger brother Mikey when he spots a fire in the distance. He thinks its just another heath fire, unfortunately, when the fire brigade checks the barn the fire's raged through, they discover the body of a young boy.  

Jude and his team must try to discover who this boy is. Why no one comes forward to claim him and why he was murdered. 

The storyline deserves five stars, thanks to the plot’s uniqueness. However, I couldn’t relate to any of the characters. They're either too sweet or so over-the-top nasty that neither gave me any will to engage with them. 


Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an early copy in return for an honest review
A very good read and one I can highly recommend to others. 
I could not put this down.
Thoroughly enjoyable with an amazing cast of characters that you cannot help but engage with.
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I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved the characters. It was an easy but engaging read and I’m so looking forward to the next one in the series 
Oh the joy of getting into a new series from the start
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I don't know that I will be lining up for the 2nd book in this 2 book series. I found the characters very predictable as was the plot.
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A very harsh beginning of finding a child dead which leads to many ideas about what happened but no one is saying very much. Lots of information about the characters but nothing about who the child is and why has no one reported him missing? I did enjoy reading this but it could have been shorter with maybe more actual stuff about the murder.
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Set in the Lake District. Fires are being set on the moors and in one of them a child’s body is discovered but nobody seems to have reported him missing. DCI Jude takes on this case with Ashleigh. The book also delves into the lives of Jude & Ashleigh . Hopefully leading to more books in this series. 
This is a good police procedural story with plenty of twists to keep you page turning
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A debut by author Jo Allen, the book started with a raging fire and the firefighters struggling to put it off. When one of them entered the barn to check for residual fires, he stumbled over something. It was a charred dead body!! A child at that!! A child which no one reported missing. With this startling discovery of the murder, DCI Jude and his team including newcomer Ashleigh start investigating... 

A good police procedural with hardly any clues to work on, the team started its legwork. It was grueling, to say the least, hoping to get witnesses, watching hours of CCTV footage, door to door questions on minimal sleep. The team was cohesive, and with a newcomer, they didn't find their rhythm till the mid half of the book. Enough backstory had been given about the cops to personalize them and get to know them. 

They talk about cop instinct in books. In this, Ashleigh had the woman's instinct along with her tarot reading. I found it fascinating. The cards predicted what would unfurl. Quite a different take on a police procedural. 

The niggles would niggle and I couldn't stop their niggling... The book was extremely slow in the first half, though it did pick up pace. There was a lot of backstory of the cops, I didn't need to know what the ex's thoughts and feelings were. Writing was slightly dry at places, so it took time to get into the flow. 

A good beginning to a series. Overall, a fun read with some well planned murders.
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Jo Allen’s debut crime novel featuring DCI Jude Satterthwaite, Death by Dark Waters, is an impressively written first novel from a writer with a terrific gift for writing twisted, compelling and sinister thrillers.

The temperatures are certainly rising in the Lake District. The picturesque and breathtaking vistas of this beautiful part of the world are currently being ravaged by fell fires during an unrelenting heatwave and the fire fighters cannot keep up with the rapid speed with which these fires are breaking out. The emergency services and the police are being kept on their toes during this difficult time, however, things are set to get even more complicated when the charred remains of a child are uncovered. A child nobody seems to have missed. How can anyone not report a missing child? What secrets is this close-knit community keeping? And can DCI Jude Satterthwaite get to the bottom of this baffling and perplexing case?

Jude was born and bred in the Lakes. He knows every single member of this close-knit community and everybody knows him – which is what makes his latest investigation even more difficult to comprehend. With his new Detective Sergeant by his side, the mysterious Ashleigh O’Halloran, Jude will not rest until he discovers who the child is and who commited this most heinous of acts. But is Jude aware of what he is about to uncover? This investigation is going to send shock-waves throughout the community and nothing and nobody will ever be the same ever again!

As the body count begins to pile up, tempers and temperatures start rising and Jude and his team find themselves locked in a race against the clock to catch a killer and ensure that justice is served.

Death by Dark Waters is a book that gets under your skin and keeps you hooked throughout. It’s hard to believe that this is Jo Allen’s debut novel because she writes like a pro and keeps her readers entertained and engrossed from start to finish.

Jude Sattherthwaite is a terrific sleuth: intelligent and incisive; I look forward to reading more about him in subsequent installments.

A wonderful debut I’d recommend to readers who like their crime fiction smart, shocking and intelligent, Jo Allen’s Death by Dark Waters is not to be missed.
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2019; Aria
DNF @ 45%
(Review Not on Blog)

I found this police procedural novel completely slow moving.  I would find myself put the eBook down and day dreaming.  When I would pick it back up, I would forget where I was.  Finally, after two days I just gave up as I was no longer interested in seeing how it all ended.  I did like the description of Lake District and was starting to like Jude, but not enough  to continue the novel.

***I received an eARC from the PUBLISHER via NETGALLEY***
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A very engaging and appealing read, this is one I just raced through!

Jade Satterthwaite is the DCI of a small team in the Lake District; Ashleigh O'Halloran has moved from Carlise to join the team as DS. What couldn't be foreseen was that a murder case would land on their laps on Ash's very first day. Baptism of fire - in more ways than one . . .

This is a well-researched, suspenseful read which flows beautifully and has some really memorable characters; I'm hoping that author Jo Allen develops this into a long-running series. The investigative team is an interesting mix, all with their own strengths. The suspects are of varied character and the results are a damn good read! It's an observant piece of writing, and the result is a fascinating and detailed mystery in a wonderful setting. I love the twists and turns, and it's a very satisfying read which I'm absolutely positive is well worth five sparkly stars!

My thanks to publisher Aria for my copy via NetGalley and particularly to Vicky Joss for including me in this Blog Tour.
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It’s summer in the Lake District and fires are breaking out across the moors, fires that are spreading faster than they can be extinguished. When the burnt body of a child is discovered, a child that no one seems to have missed, DCI Jude Satterthwaite soon finds himself leading a murder investigation. With the temperature rising and the body count increasing, will Jude be able to catch the killer before it is too late?

I enjoy reading books set in the Lake District as I find that the location always plays a central part in the plot. This is definitely the case here with the hills and moors providing an atmospheric backdrop to the sad tale of a murdered child. The description made it easy to imagine the areas being searched by Satterthwaite and his team and the real locations made it seem more true to life.

Although the book is billed as a DCI Satterthwaite mystery, the detective does not take a central role in the plot. Although we do find out much about his backstory, we also spend a lot of time with his new DS, Ashleigh O’Halloran. Both of the detectives have a history and while we find out a fair bit about Satterthwaite, I feel that there is a lot of Ashleigh’s past that we are yet to discover. Death by Dark Waters definitely felt like an introduction to the main characters and I can easily see more being revealed in future books.

The plot is a solid one and, although some parts are easy to predict, it is an entertaining tale with a few twists along the way. A good start to a new series.
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A good start to a new crime series set in the Lake District. An unidentified body of a child is found in a burned out derelict barn, previously unreported missing.  It's up to DCI Slatterthwaite and his partner Ashleigh to figure out what happened.

I have to agree with what other readers have said, in that Jude as a main character isn't easy to warm to, there's not that usual troubled personality or past that hooks you in. But that being said, there's loads of twists and a great plot line to keep you entertained throughout this.  And the setting of the Lake District really attracts me in too.

I'll happily read the next in the series.
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There are fires starting around the tranquil Lake District. Some are random, while some are deliberately set. Such is the case when a fireman discovers a grisly find in a burned out abandoned farmhouse. 

Detective Chief Inspector Jude Satterthwaite is called to the crime scene of the discovered burned remains of a young child. Recently relocated to the area, Detective Sergeant Ashleigh O’Halloran joins Jude’s team to find out how the child died. Was it suicide or murder? As the investigation builds, the team finds themselves searching for clues, looking for witnesses, and interrogating suspects. 

It’s never an easy read when a child is a murder victim, but Jo Allen’s talent shines in Death by Dark Waters with a well planned storyline and a clever plot with a few twists. As Jude and Ashleigh slowly uncover the truth, it becomes a terrifying trek into the dark side of human nature. 

It was a gradual connection to the characters, but as Jude and Ashleigh got to know each other and became more comfortable with one another, I became engaged and more invested in them and their story.

I really enjoyed the book and see the potential for more on the Jude and Ashleigh crime tag team. 

I can highly recommend this book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Aria for the read of Jo Allen’s, Death by Dark Waters.
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After a grass fire, the charred body of a pre-teen boy is found in a barn in the Lake District.  Detective Chief Inspector Jude Satterthwaite leads the investigation.  His team includes Detective Sergeant Ashleigh O’Halloran who has just joined the police force in the area.  They soon determine that his death was not accidental.  But who is the boy?  Why was he not reported missing?  As the investigators search for the murderer, they take some wrong turns and another death occurs.  Of course, eventually all secrets are uncovered.  

The mystery is not difficult to solve; in fact, it is rather predictable.  Because there are not that many characters, the suspect pool is small.  And the clues tend to be too obvious.  The only real mystery is the motive and exactly how the murderer carried out the crimes.  

What detracts from the case is Jude and Ashleigh’s personal lives.  Both are recovering from relationships that ended recently, but they have not moved on.  As a result, they spend a lot of time thinking about their previous partners.  As expected, there is an immediate attraction between Jude and Ashleigh when they meet so it is not difficult to predict what will happen.  This is supposedly the first book of a series so, undoubtedly, subsequent books will develop the romance.  I’d definitely have preferred less focus on romance.

I did not find that I warmed to either of the two main characters.  Jude is handsome and intelligent but he just doesn’t come across as a warm person.  We are told that he has “too strong a conscience” and is “too uncompromising on too many fronts.”  He is certainly driven by duty.  Ashleigh is supposedly the strong female lead but some of her behaviour, especially towards the victim’s mother, is unprofessional.  Members of the police team like her almost immediately, but I don’t understand the appeal other than the fact that she is attractive.  

There are some needless repetitions in the book.  Over and over we are told that Jude’s romantic relationship suffered because “there had always been a part of his soul that he’d held back”:  “Sometimes the bleakness of his chosen path was too great for comfort, some of the things he saw too grim to share.”  Ashleigh’s interest in tarot cards comes up again and again.  Some judicious editing would be useful.

Mediocre is the adjective that best describes the book.  It is not terrible, but there is really nothing to differentiate it from so many other similar books.  

Note:  I received a digital galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.
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Set in the Cumbrian Lake District ‘Death By Dark Waters’ features a troubled Detective Chief Inspector – Jude Satterthwaite and his team as they investigate a death on the hills close to Haweswater. Forensically there is little to go on and the team have to rely on their detection skills to solve the crime.

Jude’s personal life is challenging, he is driven and seeks the control he needs, through his career, which is so lacking in his emotional life. Ashleigh O’Halloran, newly transferred from Cheshire, presents as a confident professional, not afraid to challenge her colleagues. She is a distraction for Jude who shies away from emotional ties.

There is a considerable amount of introspection and emotional angst, in this story, it is an unusual style for a crime novel but does give the story an original angle. The police procedural is believable and, the plot has enough suspects and twists to hold your attention. The pacing is slow but this is to be expected in a new series when characters have to be introduced and their motivations and flaws explored. The crime is grizzly but the descriptions aren’t overly explicit. Instead, the reader is allowed to imagine the scene.

The action really takes off halfway through the story, when a significant plot twist occurs. I thought I’d solved it, and I did guess who, but the motivation for the crime is sinister and twisted and not revealed until the end.

On balance, I empathise with the troubled detective and look forward to more crime solving.

I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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This book grabs you from the first page and leaves you breathless at the end!  A must read for those fans of Thrillers. I would read anything this Author wrote. Do yourself a favor and read this unputdownable story!
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The book is set in the Lake District which was one of the reasons I wanted to read it.  I have read many mysteries set in the Lake District and feel almost at home there.  This is a new series featuring DCI Jude Sattertwaite and DS Ashleigh O’Halloran investigating the murder of a young child who has been set on fire. 
     DS O’Halloran is a newcomer to the team but quickly takes over just about everything and this is where I believe the book fails.  She doesn’t have many redeeming qualities other than she seems to know more than anyone else and is not shy about shoving her opinions in people’s face. 
    The DCI blunders about still moaning about his old girlfriend but then is also openly lusting after Ashleigh. 
    Because none of the characters are very likable it seems like a very long book and I was happy to finish it.  
     Thanks to NetGalley for letting me read this book in exchange for my unbiased opinion.
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Thanks to NetGalley and the author for the opportunity to read and review this book. 

After a wildfire is extinguished, the burned body of a young boy is found inside of a small building, which was also badly burned. The local police are called in and they must determine who the child is, if it was an accident or a deliberate act of murder, and how the fire started. As the investigation plays out, secrets are revealed, suspects are identified, and the backgrounds of the investigators are filled in. Eventually, the investigative team gathers the information needed to solve the case, but not until there is a second gruesome murder, which sends the team of police into overdrive, and the expected plot twist is revealed.

This book is a fine example of the procedures used by a talented investigative team, as they must dig through clues and secrets, while dealing with personal issues, that keep them from functioning at full capacity.
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Not a bad book but why all the information some times a whole chapter on peoples lives,to me this book is a typical whodunnit i felt this story could of been better.4*
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