Cover Image: Land Rites

Land Rites

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Another great read from Andy Haslen. I enjoyed his first book and this second one did not disappoint. This one ends with a little teaser so I hope number 3 will follow soon
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While out walking, Polly Evans' dog discovers the remains of a body in a badger sett, on private lands. D.I. Henry Ford is called out to investigate. Is the body that of Tommy Boltor, from a local criminal family. He is soon identified as such.
Meanwhile Ruth Long reports her husband ex-vicar Owen , 70, missing after five days to D.C. Wallace.
Ford and his team must unravel the mysteries.
An enjoyable and well-written crime story with its cast of varied characters. A book that can easily be read as a standalone story.
An ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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DI Ford and Dr Hannah Fellowes are investigating two brutal murders. There are several connections between the two deaths. They have the same tattoos and they were both found on land belonging to the very prominent Lord Baverstock.

The brothers of the first man found is threatening Ford .. demanding that he find whoever killed his brother ...and is giving Ford exactly one week. If Ford doesn't, then the brothers will take over the case. The victim was a petty poacher, the youngest brother of a local crime family.

Certain that there’s more to this case than trespassing, Ford and Dr Hannah Fellowes race to find the hidden link. But when one victim’s family threatens to expose Ford’s own dark secret, the ticking clock becomes a time bomb.

Still consumed by guilt over his part in his wife’s tragic accident and struggling to raise the teenage son he lied to, Ford now finds himself losing control of the investigation. Can he work with Hannah to solve the case while privately fighting off the attempted blackmail? Or have his demons finally caught up with him?

It's a well written follow up to SHALLOW GRAVE. The plot is tightly woven around outstanding characters amid a background of suspense and tension filled with compelling twists and turns. The suspects are many and varied. Characters are deftly drawn. I like how Ford's private life is blended with the professional.

Many thanks to the author / Amazon Publishing / Netgalley for the digital copy of this crime fiction. Read and reviewed voluntarily, opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own.
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This review was originally posted on <a href="https://booksofmyheart.net/2021/04/03/%f0%9f%8e%a7-land-rites-by-andy-maslon/" target="_blank"> Books of My Heart</a>
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<i>Review copy was received from NetGalley, Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.</i>

I started this  <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/series/302465-detective-ford" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"><em><strong>Detective Ford</strong></em></a> series, because Steve West was narrating, but a British police mystery is a favorite genre as well. The main character is a single dad, who lost his wife in a tragic accident.  He has felt considerable grief and guilt.  Now six years later, Ford has a teenage son and a promotion.  In my head, Steve West is the main character although I am pretty sure the character is older than him.

I love the layers in the writing.  The world building has the police force with its detectives, forensic teams and gun squads.  There is both political and personal developments.  Ford has a female partner who he respects. The new forensic team member has Asperger's.  His direct boss is also a woman and he knows how to present information for her.  He works well and appreciates all these women.  Interestingly the men on the team are more problematic with one going through a divorce and one wanting to do more than his experience warrants.

The case of two murders has a number of problems.  Firstly,  it runs up against the aristocratic class being witnesses or suspects which is politically tricky. Then one of the victims is the younger brother of some local toughs who want to take matters into their own hands. Plus it seems like there is someone in the department leaking information to the suspects / witnesses.

Ford is also still dealing with his guilt over his wife's death. Now his son Sam wants to go climbing for a school trip and since that is a factor in his wife's death, he is uncomfortable.  But he does a great job of looking at the evidence and trying out all the theories without regards to politics or class issues.  It's a complex and exciting case.  I really loved <strong>Land Rites</strong> and can't wait for more.
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Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this ARC.  

Having read the first book in the DI Ford series I was pleased to be approved to read the next book. 
I really, really enjoyed this book, I thought it was very engaging, it had a very good plot line and was so well written.  It held my attention throughout and flowed really well.  I like DI Ford as a character, and enjoy the small glimpses of his home life with his son.    Ford is called in to investigate a murder when a dismembered body is found in a badger set, and comes under additional pressure to find the murderer from the victims family who are well known to the Police.   When a second body is found, Ford believes the two murders are connected and searches for links between them.  There were plenty of twists and I thought I knew who the murderer was and was wrong.  Overall I found this to be a great and very entertaining read that raced to a final conclusion with all loose ends tied up nicely.    I think this is a fab series so far and look forward to the next book.  4 stars
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4.5 stars

This is the second book in the Detective Ford thriller series by Andy Maslen.

This book features Detective Inspector Ford, nicknamed Henry. He has a sixteen year old son named Sam and he is a single parent after the death of his wife in book one.

This was a compelling read. I was sucked into the action almost immediately. Just loving the angst that just seems to billow off of DI Ford. I am not sure what to think about Hannah “Wix”. One one point she is a good brain to have on your team but her psychological make-up might be a bit on the sketchy side. I kept thinking something untoward was going to happen with her as we neared the conclusion of the book. I think I was just overthinking the entire thing but I will keep my eye on her in future books. She could be one of those characters who start out being a good guy and then at the drop of a hat turn out to have a black heart.

I think the scariest part of this was when they started threatening Ford’s son just to get him to solve the murder faster. I was like… really?

Overall it was a great read and I look forward to other books by this author.

If you love a good detective fiction mystery, police-procedural, definitely check this one out.

I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.
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This book was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second book in the Detective Ford Series.
Set in Wiltshire, Ford is called out when a dog, walking with his owner discovers part of a body.  The body had been cut into pieces and buried in a badger sett. Ford and his team question owners of the land when another body is found on an adjacent property.
The first victim's family is heavily into crime and threatens Ford. Ford is given a deadline to find the murderer or the family will take matters into their hands.
I actually liked this book better than the first one; however, there were some slow parts for me. Each victim was killed with a different weapon and there was a lot of the story that centered on guns, the types of guns, who has these guns, where to get the ammo etc. But, tracking and apprehending the killer or killers made it worth it.
Thank you NetGalley, Amazon Publishing and Andy Maslen
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Land Rites by Andy Maslen is a mystery with DI Ford as the central character. This is the 2nd book of DI Ford series. 

I haven't read the 1st book,  so there were some things I had to assume had happened. Leaving aside those things, the book featured a solid police procedural starting with a cruel murder and a much more confusing 2nd murder with seemingly little connection between the both.

The story follows DI Ford as he tries to find who murdered both people and why. During the course of investigation, along with a hostile victim's family, he has to deal with certain personal demons as well. We come across other interesting people as well. 

The book had a really slow start for my taste. And because the story was told in a purely police- procedural point of view, it plodded along in a leisurely way at many places, not unlike real- life investigations I am sure. Unfortunately, for this reason, the book failed to capture my interest and attention till the first half. 

The story picked up its pace in the 2nd half and managed to interest me as well. But I was not completely engrossed with the story which is an indication that it could have been told better. 

Still, I actually enjoyed the mystery and liked how it unfolds. I am giving 4 stars for this reason. Thanks to Netgalley and the author for this ARC. Hoping to read the next Ford book to find out what happens next with him.
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This is the second in the Detective Ford series; I read the first and looked forward to this one.  I was not disappointed.  Ford is still struggling with the guilt over his wife’s death while rock climbing as he raises his son, Sam.  Firmly entrenched in his role as a DI, he is dealing with two murders in the Salisbury countryside that just may be related. 

This is a solid police procedural with interesting characters, particularly Hannah Fellowes, a highly trained and skilled CSI investigator with Asperger’s.  No plodding plot this….the story moves along at a good pace as the clues build up. While the case is solved by the end of the book, there is somewhat of a cliffhanger, foretelling a third in the series. Looking forward to it.
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murder, murder-investigation, family-dynamics, friendship, law-enforcement, gangsters, British-detective, thriller, suspense*****

Works well as a stand alone despite some tricky interpersonal issues both within the department and at home. The publisher's blurb is a nice hook, but the due diligence is impressive and the characters are only too realistic. That's especially true of DI Ford who seems to have a bad case of survivor's guilt and his Deputy Chief forensics officer, Dr. Hannah Fellowes (who is really minutiae oriented and hyperintelligent) and and his team. The blues are being threatened by the crime family of the dismembered victim as well as the usual problems. Great read!
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Amazon Publishing UK/Thomas & Mercer via NetGalley. Thank you!
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher Amazon Publishing UK for the electronic copy.

This is the second book in the Detective Ford series and I really enjoyed the first one.

Set in and around Salisbury, Wiltshire, Polly Evans' dog retrieves a human hand from a large badger sett.  DI Ford and his team, along with Dr Hannah Fellowes and the CSI are sent to investigate.  Thanks to a local farmer and his digger the rest of the expertly dismembered body is recovered.  Ford notices a distinctive tattoo on an arm and immediately recognises it - this is the remains of Tommy Boulter, one of three brothers with JJ and Rye who are wannabe crime lords and with whom Ford has had unhappy dealings in the past.  Breaking the news to his brothers Ford is threatened by them - they give him one week to find the killer or they would take matters into their own hands.
Most of the surrounding countryside is owned by Lord Baverstock, mostly tenant farmers but one or two own their own farms.  The Baverstocks - Phillip, Coco, daughter Lucy and son Stephen live at Alverchalke Manor.  Phillip is ex-army as is his gamekeeper Joe Hibbard.  When Tommy's autopsy reveals that he was shot in the head prior to being dismembered everyone with access to guns comes under suspicion.  There are numerous guns and numerous suspects.
A farmer's sluice gate becomes blocked after heavy rain; when he dredges up the blockage he discovers a man's body - he too has been shot.
What's the connection between the two killings and the Baverstock family?

As the Boulters continue to pressure Ford he begins to realise that someone is feeding them information - could it be the Police and Crime Commissioner himself - or might it be his DS, Mick Tanner, who's in the throes of a potentially costly divorce?  And when the brothers directly involve Ford's son Sam he certainly takes decisive action.

There's plenty of good dialogue in this police procedural, tension between DC Olly Cable and DS Tanner, and fun as Hannah tries to rectify some of her Asperger's traits in her language and relationships.

However, I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first.  There seemed just too much narrative where Ford is working through his thoughts on the case and the whole investigation seemed to be drawn out.  It's only at the end things move along at any pace.  So, all in all, I was a little disappointed in this one.

Nevertheless - I will still read the next instalment to keep up with the team's back stories.
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Although a slightly different genre to the Wolfe and Cole thrillers, Andy Maslen shows why he is a master of the written word.

His latest central character, Henry Ford, is an intelligent policeman, with a shadow in his past which he struggles to move on from.  It impacts his relationship with his son, but this improves through the book.  Similarly, his relationships with fellow officers and colleagues are well written, without interfering with the main storyline.

My main issue with books from Andy Maslen is that I can't put them down and read them within a couple of long sessions, ending up tired and regretting the binge session, as it means no more stories for a little while.

If you've not read Andy Maslen before, or if you have, but did not like the genre of Wolfe or Cole, you must engage with the Ford books.  You will not regret anything but the lack of sleep!
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for an advance copy of Land Rites, the second novel to feature DI “Henry” Ford of the Salisbury Police.

When body parts are found in a badger sett DI Ford is tasked with the investigation. He recognises the victim’s tattoos immediately as belonging to Tommy Bolter, a member of the biggest local crime family. When a second body is found submerged in a local pool all roads seem to lead to a local aristocrat and his family, but in what way? With Tommy’s brothers threatening to take the law into their hands the pressure is on.

I enjoyed Land Rites which is a relatively straightforward police procedural which painstakingly builds a case for murder. It is told mostly from Ford’s point of view with his friend, forensics expert Dr Hannah Fellowes, chiming in from time to time. 

The plot has several small twists, but I had a good idea of where it was going from early on. There is something to be said for this approach as it allows the reader to concentrate on the detail and build the case themselves. I liked it as good mental exercise. The author builds the pressure on Ford by way of threats from the Bolter brothers. I can see some of them as likely, but others just seem improbable and more of a plot device than anything else.

Many years ago Ford’s wife died in a climbing accident and he feels guilty that she died while he went looking for help. This is a thread that has run through the series so far and there are more developments in this novel. Not to worry, super smart Dr Hannah Fellowes is on the case to persuade him to move on. I find this plot line tedious and feel that it drags down the mood of the novel. 

Land Rites is a solid read.
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Second time of reading a novel featuring D I ‘Henry ‘ Ford and his team all their own very apt nicknames. A storyline that grabs you from the beginning involving landed gentry and protection of their land and family name, and unfortunately involves a local crime family one of the victims being their younger brother. DI Ford untangle the many attempts to cover up the crimes and brings the culprit to justice. A great read.
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Very good police police with interesting and diverse characters. Lots of twists and turns as the police struggle to work out who dunnit.
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Book Review: Land Rites (Detective Ford thriller #2) by Andy Maslen
(Published by Amazon Publishing UK, April 8, 2021)

4.25 Stars.

Salisbury, Wiltshire, southern England, described by the Sunday Times as a "...best place to live, - remains a divinely attractive and welcoming place".

Enter Detective Inspector Ford, no first name deemed necessary, nicknamed "Henry" for you'd-know-who, blues guitar player and crooner, single dad of 16-year-old Sam. Ford still has nightmares ten year removed from the sudden death of his wife in a climbing accident at the crags of Pen-y-Holt Bay, Pembroke, west of Salisbury. Both father and son, in their own way, still grieving.

DI Ford's a major crimes team leader at Salisbury's Bourne Hill Police HQ, under the aegis of Detective Superintendent Sandra Monroe. His team includes deputy manager, Dr. Hannah Fellowes, nickname "Wix" for Wikipedia, the department's own breathing and walking fountain of knowledge, a senior CSI with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and expert in forensic psychology - the psychology of lying - on top of her adjunct teaching experience at no less than the FBI Academy in Quantico.

Book 2. A neatly-pieced, finely-tuned modern police procedural along the lines of what may be expected from the great British mystery writers, Author Andy Maslen's assembled cast of earnest players continue their exploits as they deal with a seemingly unrelated double murder - a dismembered body found in an estate, and another entombed in a sluice gate at a distant Chalke Valley farm.

Team Ford's investigation is spiced with a dash of the local mob and wannabe toughies, a serene vicar turned rabid eco-warrior beholden to "Gaia", none other that the Greek earth goddess, a pair of Regimental buddies whose friendship is baptized with live fire in Afghanistan, and, as with Book 1, a generous dollop of that ubiquitous spite and arrogance of British landed aristocracy acting pre-Edwardian with their own "land rites", boasting of status above suspicion, even as they'd invariably be wallowing in some financial difficulty of one kind or the other as income from the sweat of vassals vanish, a theme I've noticed pretty much de rigueur in UK novels of late.

Andy Maslen, with UK law enforcement consultants, also gives us a glimpse of what may be the current state of affairs in UK policing, definitely not found in the first book, "new" requirements of meticulous "policy making" over a simple arrest - paper upon paper upon CYA paper in this day and age of public awareness, litigation, mobile phone cameras and Instagram, and full coordination with a SWAT fire team inter-alia, all fascinating stuff, probably increasingly applicable as well in the USA.

In the end, what makes Andy Maslen's whodunit standout, apart from the compelling mien, background and methodology of DI "Henry" & son, "Wix" and collaborators, is its special brand of twists and turns.

A delightful, quick read!

Review based on an ARC
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Andy Maslen is an underrated author. Land rites is the second DI Ford novel (Shallow Ground is the first). The story is based around the discovery of a body in a badger sett (a den of tunnels badgers live in) and then a second body in a nearby river. The characters and their interaction is extremely well written and as a reader you understand their feelings and behaviours. 
The bodies are discovered near a large, sprawling ancestral home of Lord Baverstock, a decorated war hero and his family and one of the victims is the youngest brother of a well known local crime family. DI Ford and the team work to solve the crimes while dealing with politics, a threat to his son and somebody providing information to the crime family from within the force,
An excellent second novel in what I hope becomes a long series. I look forward to reading more both from the author but also on these particular characters.
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Land Rites is the second book in the DI “Henry” Ford series by Andy Maslen and it is another very good police procedural that keeps the action coming and the pages turning.

All the main characters are well sketched out and contribute to the storylines with a nice balance between work and home life maintained by the author.

The author also includes a little bit of humour into proceedings without losing focus which helped with my enjoyment of the book.

This is developing into a very good series and I look forward to book number three

Definitely recommended
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I greatly enjoyed DI Ford’s first outing in Shallow Ground. Ford possesses my requisites for an interesting literary detective: an interesting personal life and a clearly drawn personality. Shallow Ground started with a bang in the form of the brutal murder of a mother and a child. Land Rites had a somewhat gentler start, although it is not too long until we encounter the first body which has the added fascination of being unidentifiable as the corpse is without head, arms or feet. Ford is called in to investigate the murder and when it becomes clear whose body it is he is on borrowed time to get the case investigated and closed. The spotlight is turned on the local landowning family…There is a lot about this series to enjoy - Ford is a very interesting character. He thinks he caused his wife’s death (and it seems others might agree) and has become overprotective of his teenage son. As a relatively new DI he is learning how to manage his staff and to fit into a structure which is becomes particularly difficult when it is clear someone is leaking information. In Land Rites Ford is further conflicted as his need to protect his son is clearly beginning to compromise how he runs the investigation. Initially I didn’t feel particularly engaged in the story - rich entitled  landowners versus local crime gangs didn’t have the hard hit of the first book. However, the pace really builds up in the second half and I felt more drawn in as Ford’s policing became more compromised. The scene is very much set for a return and I cannot wait. With grateful thanks to Netgalley and Amazon Publishing UK for a digital copy of this book.
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I received this book through "NetGalley's" Read Now program.

This story begins with Det. Ford being called to a scene where a person walking her dog has found a detached hand. After his arrival, the search brought up more body parts of the individual. There was still one part missing and Det. Ford made the decision that he would go down the sett to find it. This item was the victim's head. Once it was discovered, it was determined that this individual was the younger brother of a gang leader. This gang leader gave Det. Ford an ultimatum that he needed to find his brother's killer by the time of the wake or else.

As they began the investigation, they were notified that another body had been discovered. This person had been killed as well. Once they found out who this individual was, pieces of the puzzle came into place. Because the bodies were discovered near a Lord's property, they started to look at the individuals who were living there.

They ran into luck when they discovered that the last party killed was an environmentalist and happed to take films of where he went. After discovering this, they located on his laptop a file which contained all the films. Unfortunately is was locked by a password. Hannah, the lead CSI had tried many variations to discover the password and was unsuccessful, but Det. Ford was lucky and able to break the code. Once they were in, everything fell into place and they knew who had killed the environmentalist. This discovery all led to the gang leader's brother's killer.

To discover who the killer of each of the victims were and how they were associated, then you must read this book.
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