Cover Image: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

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Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley and AVON/HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. for a copy of "The Night Before Christmas" in exchange for my honest review.

This is book four in the DI James Walker series. The author starts off the book by introducing DI Walker and his team for those readers that may not be familiar with the previous books. Since DI Walker has moved to Cumbria there has been a murder every Christmas for him and his team to solve. This Christmas Eve is no different when he receives a call from Maria Payne that her husband Dylan and 3 friends have not returned from a hike they went on earlier that morning. She is not able to reach him and fears that he may be in trouble. The men have been friends for years.

The story is told from Day 1 - Christmas Eve until Day 8 - New Year's Eve, followed by the Epilogue 1 week later. DI Walker and his team arrive at Ted Rycroft's farm where the men had set out from. They find 4 vehicles parked at the farm with their windscreens and windows smashed. The door to the house is open, windows are smashed, the entire house is vandalized. They find a photo of the hunting party with the word "murders" written on it. Were these men merely hiking or were they hunting illegally? Greg Pike and Rebecca Carter work for Ted and are shocked when they learn what has happened at the farm.

The author describes the scenery in Cumbria brilliantly, the reader will feel that they are there in the horrible weather conditions - snow, reduced visibility and dropping temperatures - make searching for the men difficult because they have to keep calling the rescue mission off.

The two sides of the fox hunt clash regularly - does that have something to do with the missing men? There was a hit and run with one of the protestors 5 years ago, could that be at the heart of the men disappearing. News outlets start receiving emails and photos - are the men no longer alive? As bodies are found the team races against the clock to find the other men. As tired as the entire team is none of them want to go home, they want justice. The twist that brings the murderer to light is incredibly well written. All the supporting characters are interesting and just a bit shady so its hard for the reader to eliminate anyone as being responsible until the very end.

There were certain story threads that were left open so the reader can hope that there will be a fifth book soon!

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Book 4 in the DCI James Walker series.

After the last 3 Christmases were ruined for James and Annie will this one be quiet and restful? Of course not!

When a call comes in on Christmas Eve that 4 hikers have gone missing the alarm is quickly raised. With the weather closing in time is against them. And then the local newspaper received a very disturbing email.

What follows is a fast moving plots with gruesome twists that kept me totally hooked. I loved this book and would highly recommend it to all crime genre fans.

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This is the 4th book in the DI James Walker series but can easily be read as a standalone.

DI Walker would love nothing more than to spend Christmas at home with his wife and baby girl but yet another year he is on a case. This has become the norm for his team the past 4 years. Four hikers have gone missing on Christmas Eve after the weather took a turn for the worse rescue crews were called back in. What happened to these men and what is the real reason behind this?

Thank you Netgalley, the publisher and author for my ARC!

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I'm starting to think that DI James Walker is cursed when it comes to the Christmas period. For the 4th year in a row he has a major murder case to work on, this one kicking off on Christmas Eve.

Although initially it looks like it could just be a missing persons case, with a group of 4 men who had gone out for trail hunt, in the fells of Cumbria on Christmas Eve and hadn't returned when expected. And the weather forecast is shocking.

As the investigation proceeds, it becomes fairly clear that hunting is a big key part of this book, and whatever side of the fence you fall on, there are people in this story that will reflect your viewpoint.

What is clear is that this is a very controversial topic, and I don't think I liked a single person that we came across in the investigation.

And what a case this is for DI James and his team, there are large numbers of possible suspects, and although at one point my mind did hit on the correct answer, I was completely stumped when it came to motivation. Although i did sort of guess the motivation but still not quite correctly.

So hard to guess, and I was entranced by every step, and highly curious to see just how the police team would solve it.

It's another fabulous instalment in this series, and I loved reading it, and will be keen to see what will happen next in this great series.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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This is the 4th DCI Walker book and I think its about time he took his family away for Christmas!

This year, four trail hunters are reported missing on Christmas Eve after going on a hike in worsening weather and Walker and the team are tasked with finding them before the worst happens. When the investigation throws up an unexpected reason for the hike, it changes the focus for the team and makes the search even more important.

Another suspenseful Christmas mystery tale in a series that is becoming a staple in my festive reading! Also, big thanks for the Who's Who at the start. Good for people new to the series and also for those of us who have read a few books since the last one!

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Another cracking instalment to this excellent series but don't worry, it can be read as a standalone.

Christmas is a season to be dreaded in the beautiful Lake District as despite it's breath-taking views, bad things seem to happen around the festive season and this year is no exception.

Four locals have failed to return home, no one can get in touch with them and with the weather closing in, DI Walker and his team are tasked with investigating. The hope is that they've holed up somewhere to get out of the weather but on arrival at the home of one of the men, they find it trashed with a picture of the four daubed with the words "murderers".

It transpires that the men and their dogs were on an illegal hunt and when a photograph showing one of the men having been murdered is sent to the press, it appears they are the ones being hunted and DI Walker and his team realise they have precious little time to find the others amongst a plethora of suspects.

With excellent characters, a perfect setting and an intriguing plot, The Night Before Christmas is one to be added to anyone's reading list for the upcoming festive season ... or for any time for that matter!

Thank you to the author, Avon Books UK and NetGalley for enabling me to read and share my thoughts of The Night Before Christmas.

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"The Night Before Christmas" by Alex Pine is a gripping holiday thriller that had me on the edge of my seat. DCI James Walker finds himself in the midst of another Christmas murder mystery, and the tension builds right from the start. Four missing hunters, a trashed meeting place, and a chilling warning set the stage for a race against time, especially with a snowstorm descending. What struck me the most about this book was its pacing. The author masterfully kept the suspense alive, making it nearly impossible to put the book down.
While I did figure out the culprit before the investigators in the story, it didn't take away from my enjoyment of the story. The character development and the atmospheric setting in the Lake District added depth to the narrative.
Addictive read for fans of the genre.

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This is book 4 in the Christmas crime series with detective investigator James Walker. It's the second book I've read and I received a copy from Avon Books UK via Netgalley and it came out yesterday, the 26th of October.

This is the fourth Christmas that the Walker family lives in Cumbria. Each year around Christmas time something awful happens which turns into a case that requires the attention of detective investigator James Walker. He hopes to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with his wife in peace this year. Burton fortunately that is not the case. Four men go missing when going on a hike in some terrible weather. This turns out to be so much more than just a missing person's case.

It's a bit of a slow burn but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The story is an interesting one with some fun twists in it. Together with the cast of characters, it makes for a great read.


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I am new to the Christmas crime series with DI James Walker at its heart, but I am so glad I have found them!

The fourth in the aeries, The Night Before Christmas follows Walker as he tries to find four hikers on Christmas eve. It soon comes to light that those missing have something to hide, and they aren’t the only ones…

Despite not having read the previous three titles in the series, I found this book extremely easy to get into and it had me hooked from the start. Walker is a likeable lead, determined and dogged in his attempts to uncover the truth of this case.

There are a few other recurring characters to keep track of but there is a handy guide at the start of the book explaining who is who. It is this guide that makes this title more accessible if you haven’t read the previous books in the series.

Pine stirs up the emotive debate regarding fox hunting. Those with extreme views, both for hunting and against, are dipicted in this novel, neither in a particularly positive light.

He also touches on social media influence and how it can fan the flames of extremist views. The wider public’s obsession with the graphic and morbid is also highlighted here, and the sensational aspect of the media in general.

If you like your festivities with a side of crime and murder, this is a book you don’t want to miss.

Thanks to Avon for the early access via NetGalley.

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For me, reading about DCI Walker and a murder mystery at Christmas has become a tradition, as much as having turkey for dinner! Although this is the fourth book in the series, it works well as a standalone. Pine has written another captivating, thrilling book that is highly addictive and entertaining.

The characters are well-developed, as expected, and although this is not my favourite book in the series, plenty of praise remains to be given. The tense atmosphere and the edgy, unpredictable storyline make for a great read. I would have read this quicker if life hadn’t gotten in the way.

I highly recommend it to fans of this genre and anyone who enjoys playing detective during the festive period.

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This is the fourth instalment of DI James series and every one that I’ve read I have loved. You definitely do not have to read this as part of the series!

It’s tense, gripping and just so well written that you are fully engaged within the first few pages. You get to see in detail just how difficult the police jobs are as you follow every moment of the case.

You are hit with twist after twist to keep you guessing, with red herrings left right and centre. I had no clue who the suspect was and was pleasantly shocked with the ending 😳

The instalment is definitely darker then the other books, with a photo of a body being sent to the police with the phrase “let the hunt begin”.

The author is brilliant in how this book is a slow burn but there is always something happening and you are lot left bored or waiting for the story to end.

A topic that generates a lot of debate for both sides is at the heart of the story. You can help but analyse which side of the debate you fall on.

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This is Book no.4 in the Alex Pine Christmas Thriller series.
I had not previously read the other books, but this did not matter as it worked well as a standalone.
At the beginning of the book, a detailed account of the identities of all the important characters and their advancement through the ranks of the police force in the previous novels is also given.

When four men disappear on Christmas Eve, DCI James Walker and his team have their work cut out for them.
Supposedly on a hike and seasoned in the rugged Cumbrian terrain, everyone anticipates that the bad weather is only a temporary inconvenience and that the hikers will soon return home.
However, things start to take a more ominous turn as the real purpose of their hike becomes apparent, when one of the wives admits that the men had actually gone trail hunting.
Battling the inclement weather and up against the clock, will they find the men in time before someone else does?

This was a really gripping read that grabbed my attention from the outset.
It was full of action, intrigue and it kept me guessing right up until the very end.
I would definitely be interested to read the first 3 books in the series and would recommend The Night Before Christmas to anyone who enjoys a gripping Christmas Thriller.

𝗔𝗗/𝗣𝗥: Thank you to netgalley and avonbooksuk for a gifted eARC in exchange for my review.

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This is the fourth book to feature DCI Walker and his team but you don’t need to have read the others as at the start of the book it explains who all the team are.

Since he started in Cumbria Police he has had to solve a murder or murders at Christmas, this year is no different. A group of men go out on Christmas on a trail but fail to return home, snow has set in and what starts out as a missing persons search soon turns into a murder enquiry as a body turns up. Hampered by the bad weather and the time of year with hunt saboteurs and pro hunters involved, will the team work out who is behind it all.

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The latest of the DI James Walker series, The Night Before Christmas by Alex Pine is an English police procedural. In his office on Christmas Eve, (now) DCI Walker is about to head home when there is a report of four missing hikers who have failed to return from their trek. A search and rescue crew is organised, but the heavy snow causes it to be paused overnight. Over the following days, snow storms limit the search, yet police discover the real purpose was a trial hunt causing a social media outrage. The discovery of a dead body in the snow and other complications give rise to a range of individuals needing to be investigated. Once again, Alex Pine has penned a wintery-themed Cumbria police, classic crime mystery with a three and a half star rating. With thanks to Avon Books and the author, for an uncorrected advanced review copy for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own, freely given and without inducement. laconic storytelling

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It's Christmas in Cumbria, and newly promoted DCI James Walker is hoping for a peaceful one. After all, the last three have been anything but.

However, just as James is heading out the door a call changes everything and James' hopes for a peaceful Christmas are dashed.

As four hikers and friends have gone missing and when James and his colleagues arrive at the farmhouse. Where they set off from. They find a sinister scene. As all the vehicles have been smashed and the farmhouse completely trashed.

Not only that, they learn guns are missing and the home owner a pro hunter has had run ins with anti hunters and his neighbour who purchased some of his land recently.

But can it really be as simple as a quarrel over land or is it something far more disturbing?

That's what James needs to find out and fast if he's making it home to wife Annie and daughter Bella before they sit down to their turkey dinner.

And with plenty of red herrings, this is a twisty and utterly absorbing story. That I would happily recommend to all.

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Four trail hunters go missing on Christmas Eve. Now they have to hurry to find them before nightfall, because the temperature is about to plummet. They search for hours before they find a body, brutally murdered, bearing a warning...
This Christmas, the hunters become the hunted…
This thriller/mystery is book 4 in the DI James Walker series, but the first one I read. It was nice to have the characters' summary at the beginning of the book. It can totally be read as a standalone and you don't have any difficulty following if you haven't read the first 3 books in the series, but it still was nice to have a little background information about each of the central characters.
I loved that it had the short chapters that will make you want to read "just one more", with plenty of twists and suspects.
I received an advance review copy of this book for free and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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This was very good, keeping you guessing until the end. Good hooks through that make you stay up and read more. Characters all work well in this story, it is a bit like it was made for them. I love the writing of this author, it would make a great Christmas present for the readers in your family.

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This title is the 4th book in the DI James Walker series but can be read alone. I have never read anything from this author before but I absolutely loved it and had no issues as I had not read the previous three.

The story is set at Christmas time in snowy Cumbria and is all about 4 missing men. It was fast paced , gripping and I could not put it down. There are plenty of twists and turns and several possible suspects and I did not guess the ending.

I cannot wait for the next in this series and have ordered the last 3 as I enjoyed it so much.

Thanks to Netgalley, Avon Books UK and Alex Pine for an advanced copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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I didn’t realise this book was part of a set but it made no difference, it could be read as a standalone. So the good bits - I thought the storyline was quite intriguing and kept a good pace going right to the end. However I thought the characters were so flat and emotionless, there was no development with any of them, everyone was just so matter of fact and the main detective’s wife seemed totally pointless! The story began to feel just like a long list of what happened next, this character did this and this character did that. Unfortunately not for me and I won’t read any more of the series

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It is a blizzardy Christmas Eve and once again DI James Walker and his team are unlikely to spend it with family. Four missing hikers lost on the moors of Cumbria have not contacted their families for hours. The weather outside is frightful and there will be no delightful fires for James and the team.

Soon a body turns up and DCI Walker discovers that the hikers might have been trail hunters or fox hunters. This riles up both sides of the contentious issue of illegal fox hunts. The team battles both the weather and time to try to save the men. They find there is no end of suspects and a terrible secret in the men’s past.

This was a suspenseful whodunit and a worthy fourth installment in the DI James Walker series. It isn’t necessary to have read the previous books as the author includes a recap of all the characters. I did miss visiting more with James’s wife Annie and their new daughter. I was very satisfied with the intricate twists of the investigation and loved the Christmas setting. I highly recommend this book and the others in the series! Can’t wait to find out what is in store in the future for DCI Walker.

Thanks to Avon Books UK for access to a digital ARC on NetGalley.

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