Cover Image: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

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Member Reviews

Having read Alex Pine's previous books I was intrigued to read this as I wanted to see if it would be as good as those. And wow it definitely was. The story line seemed to me to be a darker than the previous books focussing on the contentious subject of fox hunting. The characters were all well thought out and I love that,having read the previous books the characters grow and became very familiar as their own storylines continue in the background.
I couldn't put this book down and really hope that the story continues with future books as the author has become one of my favourites and I'm very grateful that I was offered an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

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This is the fourth instalment in the DI James Walker series. I have read all four now and enjoyed them all. It is a crime/mystery series. When four guys go missing on Christmas eve, DI Walker has the task of trying to find out where they are. One of the guys homes and some vehicles at his property have also been vandalised, which further adds to the criminal activity that went on that day. Soon tension is rising between animal activists who believe these men were on a hunt that day, not a trail hunt as they claimed. A few different people become suspects for different reasons and its a race against time to find them. I really enjoyed how it keeps you guessing throughout and I didn't guess who was responsible for the crime. Another good winter crime/thriller from Alex Pine.

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read two other Alex Pine books and thoroughly enjoyed them and this fourth instalment in the Walker series, The Night Before Christmas, did not disappoint.

Newly promoted DI James Walker is again working over the Christmas period. He hopes that he’ll be able to get home and spend Christmas Eve with his wife and daughter - but best laid plans and all that…..

Instead, he’s called out to a remote farmhouse. The farmer and three of his friends have been reported missing and to make matters more desperate is that a snowstorm is blowing in.

Again, the drama is set across the rugged terrain of the Cumbrian Lake District. I thought this book was really interesting as it deals with rural issues and hunting.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Avon Books UK, for making this e-ARC available to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - The Night Before Christmas - Alex Pine

Wow, Wow, WOW! A belter of a Christmas read!

The fourth in a series by Alex Pine - and the best so far in my opinion.

Fox hunting, tragic events and a deadly race against time to find out the truth - this is a real romp of a read - finishing it in just two sittings!

The joy of Alex’s books are that they keep you second guessing everything till the final few page turns and this one was no different.

Why DI James Walker doesn’t learn from experience and book the Christmas period off as annual leave is beyond me, but thank goodness he doesn’t!

What lies ahead for this detective as next Christmas looms nearer - here’s hoping he’s around in Cumbria for plenty more time to come!

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This is book #4 in the DI James Walker series. Whilst it is part of a series, it can easily be read as a standalone book. DI Walker is now DCI Walker, and the Christmas season is once again approaching. Walker hasn't had a crime free Christmas since he moved from London to Cumbria, so why would this year be any different! With a worsening storm on the horizon, Walker and his team are investigating the disappearance of 4 friends who have gone out for a Christmas Eve hike. Mountain rescue are called out but when one of the men's bodies is found, it's not as clear cut an investigation as it would seem as it appears he has been brutally murdered.

I've read all the books of this series and have enjoyed them all. DCI Walker is a great character, being level headed and calm in a crisis. You do have to wonder if he ever regretted the move from the Metropolitan Police to sleepy Cumbria when every Christmas he's caught up in a seasonal murder! The storyline was gripping and captured my attention right from the beginning following the investigation into the missing men. It quickly becomes apparent that they are all fox hunters, and this adds an extra twist in the investigation as to whether they were targeted. Of course, the storyline is set over the Christmas period, but it is anything other than festive with blizzards, storms and dead bodies.

The storyline flowed along well with plenty of twists, turns and suspects to choose from. The gloomy backdrop of the Lake District added an eerie atmosphere and we are kept wondering who was involved. As with the other books of the series, I enjoyed this and look forward to catching up with DCI Walker again...you never know he may get a Christmas off next year! Would recommend!

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I would like to extend my gratitude to Alex and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to delve into "The Night before Christmas" ahead of its official release date. As the fourth installment in this series, I've thoroughly relished each prior book, even though this latest addition carries a slightly darker undertone.

Traditionally, the 12 days of Christmas are celebrated as a season of joy and goodwill. However, James Walker's recent promotion to the position of DCI has failed to shake off the Christmas jinx that seems to linger over his team. This particular investigation promises to stretch their overtime budget as they toil through long hours during the holiday season.

With an impending blizzard threatening Cumbria, the sudden disappearance of four trail hunters adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation, making it even more challenging for search and rescue teams. Among these missing individuals is Ted Rycroft. The discovery of his farm broken into and vandalized, along with the damage inflicted on the hunters' vehicles, raises suspicions regarding a potential connection to their disappearance.

Trail hunting, a contentious and polarizing topic, has garnered fierce proponents and opponents. Both sides have been known to manipulate facts about incidents, deriving a peculiar satisfaction from their confrontations.

As the narrative unfolds, a labyrinth of twists and revelations gradually exposes hidden secrets, ultimately leading us to the undeniable truth.

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Thank you NetGalley and Avon Books for the arc!
I didn't actually realise that this book was apart of a series!
This book DRAGGED and there was many times where I thought I was going to DNF due to the pace of this book. It even got to the point where I was like at this point I don't even care what happens. But other than the pace of the book it was an okay read. This was my first novel from this author and not opposed to reading another one.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this book to review.

A Charming Twist on Tradition

Night Before Christmas" by Alex Pine is a delightful reimagining of the timeless holiday classic that captures the magic of the season while infusing it with a fresh and modern perspective. Pine's writing style effortlessly combines the charm of the original story with a contemporary twist, creating a heartwarming and engaging read for readers of all ages.The story follows the familiar structure of the original poem, with a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

However, Pine introduces a cast of diverse and relatable characters that breathe new life into the narrative. Through clever storytelling, the book explores themes of friendship, family, and the spirit of giving, making it relevant and appealing to today's audience.

One of the book's strengths is Pine's ability to evoke vivid imagery, painting scenes that transport readers to a winter wonderland filled with twinkling lights and festive decorations. The author's attention to detail adds depth to the story, making it easy for readers to immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere.

While staying true to the essence of the original poem, "Night Before Christmas" also surprises readers with unexpected twists and turns that keep the story engaging and unpredictable. This reimagined version maintains the poetic rhythm and lyrical quality of the original while infusing it with a sense of modern sensibility.

In conclusion, "Night Before Christmas" by Alex Pine is a delightful and heartwarming holiday read that successfully pays homage to the classic while adding its own unique flavor. With its captivating storytelling and fresh interpretation, this book is sure to become a new seasonal favorite for readers looking to experience the joy and magic of Christmas in a whole new way.

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I didn’t realise this book was part of a series when I first started it, but this didn’t detract from my enjoyment however. A dark and mysterious read that wasn’t the usual Christmas happy story! A great read for winter.

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For DCI Walker and his team, Christmas has come to be a much disliked time. Having solved a number of cases around this time over the past few years, they shouldn’t be surprised when yet another Christmas Eve is marred by a very odd case.
A call is received saying that four men went for a walk and haven’t returned. They can’t be contacted and it’s hours after they were expected home. The police treat this - logically - as a risk to life due to the increasingly bad weather and mountain rescue are called out to help search for the men and their dogs.
As the time passes, DCI Walker comes to realise that there is nothing ordinary about this case.
The four men who’ve gone missing were actually on a hunt. The home of one of the men is discovered vandalised and the word ‘murderers’ is found daubed on the walls. With the man’s neighbour a keen anti-hunt saboteur, this quickly becomes a more dangerous situation.
It was hard not to feel frustrated by the pace at which things happened here. This is not a criticism. We follow each moment of the case and see in detail just how difficult the job can be. The dedication the police show to their cause shines through from start to finish, and the pressure they are under by the increasingly social-media focused world it’s hard.
The topic was darker than previous books in the series.
When a picture of a body is sent to news outlets with the phrase ‘let the hunt begin’ we know there’s more to this story. It’s not long before the police recognise they’re no longer looking for survivors, but their hunt for the murderer/s is not an easy one.
Once again, Pine manages to create a scenario that draws us in. The beautiful backdrop of the series is used to great effect to emphasise the danger that is also present. A topic that generates much debate is at the heart of the story, and the thorny issue of who was behind it was a puzzle that I could not wait for them to solve.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read and review this prior to publication. 4.5 stars

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Thanks to Alex and NetGalley for allowing me to read The Night before Christmas prior to the publication date.
This is the 4th book in the series and I have enjoyed each of them although this book is a little bit darker than the previous ones.

Normally the 12 days of Christmas are seen as a season of joy and goodwill. However James Walker’s promotion to DCI has failed to remove the Xmas jinx on the team and this investigation will see his overtime budget stretched as the team work long hours over the holiday period.

With the forecast for a blizzard looming over Cumbria, the report that 4 trail hunters are missing raises concerns and makes it more difficult for the search and rescue teams to work.
One of the men is Ted Rycroft. When the team find that his farm has been broken into and trashed and the vehicles belonging to the men have been vandalised, it raises the question of whether this is related to their disappearance.
The topic of trail hunting is contentious and divisive. Both the pro-hunt and the anti-hunt activists have been known to fabricate details of incidents and there is a degree of enjoyment by both sides from the confrontations.
With plenty of twists and turns in the story, secrets are gradually revealed before the truth comes out.

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This is the 4th book in this series, thanks to net galley for allowing me to read them all!

These are quick easy reads, each one has a different crime/ murder always over the Christmas period! I am now completely invested in the characters that appear in each book, all members of the police ( different ranks ) and I am interested in their personal lives which runs parallel within the story! Thanks Alex another good read.

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Well when I was offered an Alex Pine book what could I say but yes. This one was even better than the previous ones and I love the fact that it is all set at Christmas time,, makes a change from the cozy Christmas novels. I had completely forgotten about the issues with fox hunting living in a city and this brought it all back. It was so well written and described. The Lake District is its own character and really comes to the fore, the descriptions the impact of the weather.

I cannot wait until what happens next

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.

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DCI James Walker and his team are back in this fourth instalment. Four hiker have gone missing on Christmas Eve after the weather took a turn for the worse. The race is to find them before nightfall. However, it doesn't talk long before one body is found, bearing the message: the real hunt has begun.

The missing men were not just simple hikers. They were known to hunt foxes. The men were disliked by many. DCI James Walker and his team need to find the other missing men before it is too late and figure out who the killer is.

What looked foremost like a rescue turns into DCI James Walker most challenging case of his police career.

There are plenty of suspects due to the nature of the subject. I had my suspicions , but again, Alex Pine manages to trip me up.

Although this book is part of a series, you do not need to read them in order to follow along. The author does a great job recapping the characters at the beginning of the book. This is the kind of book where you say just one more chapter, and before you know it, you have finished the book. I do like the author writing style. He has a great way to draw you into the story, and there is no denying that I am a fan of his books.

I certainly would recommend The Night before Christmas to people who like a well paced whodunnit full of suspense.

Christmas would just not be the same without DCI James Walker!

Puplication Date 26.10.2023

Thanks @netgalley, @avonbooksuk and Alex Pine, for letting me read this ARC!

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Another great addition to this Christmassy collection of murders.
I enjoy this authors style and the winter setting for the murders always appeals.
Looking forward to the next instalment and seeing if Annie will find out the truth!

It irritates me that Avon put in the front that it is the fourth book by this author as he has written many more books under other names!! Surely better to just leave that sentence out?!

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Such a fab read. I have loved all 3.of the previous books as soon as they some out I have to buy it. I love James and all the other characters in this series. The books always keep.you guessing and gripped until the end. I so hope we get more in this series especially now he has had a very exciting job offer. You can read it as a standalone but would recommend reading it in order just because the characters progress and things happen to them along the way. Can not wait for the paper back to come.out to buy it.

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Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to Cumbria by Alex Pine. I'm a BIG fan of this book series.

Four men go out for a hike but don't return. The storyline is based around fox hunting, although banned in the UK, hunt--based activities still go on. Feelings run high on both sides of the argument.

As usual, there are lots of red herrings that keep you guessing right to the reveal. I was totally blindsided by who did it this year.

Another enjoyable, entertaining, and one sitting read. I can't wait to read the next book.

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This is the first novel that I have read by this crime author and it definitely won't be the last.
I really enjoyed the twists and turns in this novel and it kept me reading and guessing until the end. A really enjoyable read that I highly recommend.
❤️ Thank you netgalley and the author/publisher for my ebook copy of the book in exchange for a honest review.

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Loved this book! Could not put it down and when I did my thoughts wandered back to it which is a sign of a great read. Well written and so good!

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It's Christmas Eve, but there's a distinct lack of cheer on the fells of Cumbria. Four trail hunters have gone missing, and the redoubtable DI Walker is called upon to locate them before the bitter cold and lengthy exposure result in tragedy.

However, it's already too late for at least one of the men. His brutally murdered body is found staining the snow scarlet. Clearly, the men aren't the only ones out hunting on Christmas Eve...

Now, in a race against time, DI Walker and his colleagues must try to locate the remaining three missing men. The only problem is, few people seem inclined to help them do so.

And, if it wasn't bad enough to be dealing with a situation like this so close to Christmas, the worsening weather situation isn't anything to feel merry about either.

This is very moreish storytelling, which holds the reader's attention effortlessly. The story is interesting, the suspense is gripping, and the characters are well drawn. What more could you want from a Christmas present (whatever time of year it is that you receive one of Alex Pine's gifts to his readers)?! I give it 3.5 stars.

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