Cover Image: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

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Member Reviews

The 4th in the DI James Walker series; it is Christmas Eve and for the fans of the DI it is set to become another Christmas of murder, mystery and mayhem. Set in Cumbria the weather is miserable with snow and sleet falling when the detectives receive a call telling them that 4 men who went trail hunting that morning have not returned home nor can they be contacted by phone. Visiting the house of one of the missing men they find it trashed. Another fast paced and chilling, in more ways than one, story from the king of Christmas killer novels.

Briefly, despite help from the Mountain Rescue Team no trace of the men can be found and with the weather worsening things start to look desperate. Matters worsen when a photograph appears on email purporting to show one of the men dead. With the team finding no strong leads, but a number of potential suspects, they question whether this is a killing by anti hunting protesters or if there is something even more sinister taking place.

A clever police procedural with a number of red herrings to keep the reader guessing, some great misdirection had me fooled for a while. An exciting winter read with a twist towards the end revealing some shocking secrets from the past. Great read.

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This book marks my introduction to DI James Walker's thrilling series, and it's safe to say I'm eagerly looking forward to diving into the previous installments. Newcomers, fear not, as the book expertly guides you into the world of DI Walker and his team.

The story unfolds on a chilling Christmas Eve when James Walker is on duty. A distress call alerts the team to a woman whose husband mysteriously vanished that morning. As they converge on the designated meeting point, the situation takes a sinister turn. The cars and the house show signs of a violent struggle. The discovery of a lifeless body in the snow solidifies the mystery at hand.

One of the standout features of this book is its ability to maintain an unrelenting pace. The writing is top-notch, pulling you into the heart of the action and the unforgiving snowstorms with vivid descriptions. It's a testament to the author's skill that I found myself immersed in the story, unable to put it down, reading it in just two sittings.

The real magic lies in its ability to keep you on your toes. The plot is a rollercoaster ride of suspense, and the author expertly plants clues and misdirections that will leave you guessing until the very last page.

This book is a gripping addition to the DI James Walker series, and an excellent entry point for newcomers like me. With its breakneck pacing, immersive descriptions of snowstorms, and a mystery that will keep you enthralled until the final revelation, this book is a must-read for fans of crime fiction and police procedurals. I can't wait to explore more of DI Walker's adventures in the previous installments of this series.

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You have to feel sorry for DCI James Walker. The four Christmases that he has been in the Lake District have all had a murder!
The Police are contacted on Christmas Eve about four men that are missing. They had gone for a 'hike' in the morning, but didn't return. The wife of one of them has phoned in her concerns.
When the Police attend the house where they were meeting, it has been trashed with some worrying messages.
A race against the weather to find them starts and no one in the investigating team is going to get a Christmas with their family.
This is a nicely paced mystery. I have to say I was shouting at the book because I guessed who the perpetrator was before the investigators in the book, but that didn't detract from the story.

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The Night Before Christmas is a thriller and a half. It starts off as a bit of a slow burner, when four friends go missing on Christmas Eve in the Cumbrian fells. Being experienced walkers, their friends and lived ones soon realise something is amiss, especially when they find the ransacked home of one of the guys.

Things really take a turn for the worse when it turns out that the four friends were actually out on an illegal hunt, and not for the first time. It turns nasty between local hunt supporters and their rival saboteurs, but both sides are shocked when sinister photos begin being sent to the media. What has really happened to the four friends, and are they going to make it back in time for Christmas?

The Night Before Christmas is an excellent page turner, whatever time of year you read it!

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The Night Before Christmas is the fourth book in the DI James Walker series of books set in Cumbria. I have read and loved the previous books so could not wait to start this one and I was not disappointed. This one focuses around four friends who go hiking on Christmas Eve and don't return on time. DI Walker and his team set about to find them but as very much happens in that part of the country the weather and the landscape are against them.
I absolutely love the characters in this series and the way they work and act around each other, it all feels extremely realistic. I love the character of Annie, she's a very understanding wife and sometimes I find myself wishing that the Walker family could spend one normal Christmas together but that would mean we didn't have a Christmas thriller!
I really hope there will be lots more books in this series and I would highly recommend that, although they can be read as stand alone stories, new readers start from the first book as they are all fantastic.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for my ARC.

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I've not read the previous books in the series but I enjoyed this read and I'd definitely read the others in the series too.

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Thank you to NetGalley, Avon books and Alex Pine for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Yet again another blinder of a book in the DI (now DCI) Walker series. I’ve had the opportunity to read all four each Christmas and each time I am never disappointed. Each of these can be read as stand alone - and this was no exception but I do feel my knowledge on the characters was helped by reading each of these.

Thinking about this book…I guessed who it was VERY early on. But it didn’t detract from the story. Alex Pine has a way of writing that we learn the clues as the Police in Cumbria do and so it doesn’t feel as though we are being drip fed. There are not a lot of suspects or characters on the whole, which may have been why it made it easier to guess. I do agree though Cumbria and DCI Walker are the unluckiest to be hit with a serial murderers each year every Christmas. I’ve never known Cumbria to be so lively,

I’m looking forward to next years already.

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This Christmas, the hunters become the hunted…

When four trail hunters go missing in the fells of Cumbria on Christmas Eve, the race is on to find them before nightfall – when the temperature plummets.

After hours of searching, the first body is found… Not frozen in the snow, but brutally murdered and bearing a warning: the real hunt has begun.

As a snowstorm descends, three lives hang in the balance. But can the killer be caught before the trail goes cold?

This is the fourth installment of the James Walker series and I am pleased to say it did not disappoint. I was gripped from the start and couldn't put it down. An incredibly chilling story. I can't wait for the next installment.

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This is the eagerly-awaited #4 in the DCI James Walker series. It can easily be read as a standalone but I highly recommend the whole series!

DCI James Walker worked for the Met and lived in London with his wife, Annie, but she inherited the family home in the village of Kirkby Abbey so they decide to relocate. They have a daughter and are expecting the arrival of their second child soon.

A group of four friends set out on a hike in the Fells on Christmas Eve – in the snow - but they don’t return. James and his team go to the farmhouse home of one of them and find it totally vandalised, then discover that the group hadn’t been on a hike at all. They’re known in the local area for hunting and it appears they were actually heading out for a trail hunt.

A brilliant, gripping read with lots of twists and turns.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.

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Another excellent instalment in this brilliant series, although The Night Before Christmas can easily be read as a standalone. This is a smart, gripping read set against a ticking clock and I couldn’t put it down. 5 stars on top of the Christmas tree from me!

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This is the fourth installment of the DI James Walker books. This is the first one I’ve read and can’t wait to read the others. It’s easily readable if this is your first installment as there’s a brief introduction to the police at the start.

James Walker is working the Christmas Eve shift when a call comes in about a woman’s husband who’s been missing since the morning. When they turn up at the meet up point of the men, all is not well. The cars and house have been trashed. When the first body turns up in the snow, the mystery starts.

I really enjoyed this book, it’s fast paced, great writing with great descriptive snow storms. I read it in two sittings. It will keep you guessing until the end.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for a copy.

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The Night Before Christmas is a terrific title for a murder mystery set on this very night.

Pine writes mysteries that take place in the holiday season and this year is no exception.

Four men go for a walk and become missing. DCI Walker is called in and hunts for them before nightfall in a deep freeze.
The first man is found - not frozen - but brutally murdered. So the race is off to find the other three and the killer. Is it one of them?

The scenery is part of the narrative in this book, as much as the characters.

If you prefer a frightening tale for the holiday this is the one

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DCI James Walker just can't have a quiet Christmas with his wife and daughter! In this latest installment in the series (each one of which will be fine as a standalone), he's called out because four men have gone missing in the snow in Cumbria. They were supposed to be on a hike but it turns out there was something else going on. Now there's a creepy house, a lot of snow and the DCI and his team have a puzzle on their hands. I like this series for the genial Walker and for how Pine adds in the atmospherics of the region. And, of course for the mysteries. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. The setup for this might be a bit trope-y but it's a very good read.

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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this gritty novel

christmas eve and and most people are home waiting to start their celebrations but for 4 men life will never be the same again

when the first call comes in about someones husband not coming home its feels like just a general search but as soon as the police get to the home of one of the 4 men it becomes obvious that something nasty has occurred..

DI james walker calls in reinforcements to find the men and with the weather turning against them they dont have long to find them

a gritty no nonsense storyline with trending storylines of fox huntings and the battle between the people for it and against it..

as more violent outburst start occuring james only hope is to find the men as quickly as he can though being hampered by the weather isnt helping

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DI James Walker is back with yet another Christmas full of crime and murder (who doesn’t love a murder at Christmas. Making this one of my all time favourite series. Having read all 4 books in this series I’d say the benighted before Christmas could be read as a stand alone thriller however I’d certainly recommend the whole series.

It’s Christmas Eve and 4 hunters decide to go out hunting, concerned when none of the men return home nor can they be contacted by phone one of the wives call for the police to help, what starts off as a missing persons call and a fear for welfare soon gets upgraded to a murder case with many suspects, but no clear line as to who the culprit could be.

As James as his team begin to investigate it doesn’t take long for them to realise that the home of one of the hunters has been trashed and the word murders is written on the wall. To James and his team it looks as though it could be the work of an anti-hunting party.

Soon the killer starts to drip feed the media photos of the first dead body, followed by a second 24 hours later, James and his team work around the clock to try and prevent more lives being lost but when a video of the other 2 bodies is sent to the media James’ hunch is that all men were dead before the investigation had really begun.

What I love most about Alex Pines books is that 1 I am always drawn in right from the start and 2 I never know what direction they will take me in. I had my suspicions throughout the book over who the murderer could be then right at the end there was a massive twist that through a grenade in my theory and I was completely stunned by this.

Alex Pine has a way of drawing his readers in and keeping them captivated right until the very end. I also loved how much more brutal and gruesome and twisted this book was compared to the others in this series. Anyone looking for a good series is in for a real treat with this one!

Thank you to NetGalley, he publisher and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for this review. If I could give more than 5 stars I certainly would!

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DI James Walker book 4 I have really enjoyed the previous 3 books and enjoyed this one also it kept you guessing all the way through but I didn't guess right really looking forward to book 5

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Four friends fail to return home after a trail hike in the Lake District on Christmas Eve. As the weather closes in, DCI James Walker and his team work with the Mountain Rescue teams to find them. It’s a race against time to trace the men before harsh winter weather arrives.
This is a crime thriller peppered with surprises, the first being when the crime team find the farmhouse of one of the missing men trashed, and the windows of the vehicles belonging to all four in the group smashed. Not long afterwards the first body is discovered. With a bullet hole in the chest, the police now have a murder investigation on their hands. Discovering the whereabouts of the other three men becomes even more urgent.
The book was well written. However, it took me a little while to get into the story, but when I did, I was keen to follow it through to its conclusion and discover who had been responsible for such carnage. I have to say, I had my mind made up about the perpetrator, and didn’t anticipate that final unexpected twist.

If there was one niggle I had it was the fact that the characters seemed to lack depth, other than that, I felt it was a good solid crime story.

My thanks to Avon, Alex Pine and Netgalley for an ARC of The Night Before Christmas in exchange for an honest review.

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I’d like to thank Avon Books UK and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Night Before Christmas’, book 4 of the DI James Walker series written by Alex Pine, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

It’s Christmas Eve and Cumbria Constabulary are hoping to leave for home to spend the festive season with their families. Then a phone call comes in that four men who set out that morning to trek the Cumbrian Fells have failed to return after nearly ten hours. Mountain Rescue are alerted and DCI James Walker and his team drive to where the four men started their trek, but the weather is getting worse and the search has to be called off.

‘The Night Before Christmas’ is the first novel I’ve read in this series, all of them with festive titles, and despite having no knowledge of the background I haven’t felt at a disadvantage as the author has given an introduction to the characters at the beginning of the book. It’s a well-written police thriller set in the Lake District and has an interesting plot, but although I was involved at the start I thought the story slowed mid-way and I began to lose interest. Nevertheless, I liked the characters and there were enough twists and turns to make me want to find what happened to the four men and why.

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This is one of those books that I never really got invested in, and it moved slowly. I didn’t get hooked and that made me sad. The story just didn’t work for me in the way that it has for others. This one wasn’t a hit for me.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for this e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Thanks to Netgalley & the publishers for the ARC! I've been stuck at 9% in this book for a few days now, and unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be finishing it. I'll keep it on the backburner in case I want to pick it up at a later date.

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