Cover Image: The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas

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Member Reviews

What a fantastic book this was to read. I've never read any of the other books in the series so this can definitely be read as a standalone. Great chatacters you got into and a storyline that really gripped you from the off and so much so you didn't want to put the book down - my sign of a great book! Highly recommended!!!

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This is the fourth book in the DI James Walker series. I haven’t read the others but I have every intention to go back to them after reading this one.
It is Christmas Eve and DI Walker has been called out because four men have gone missing on what appears to be a trail hint and the weather is proving problematic. One of the men’s house has been ransacked and the word murderers has been painted by a photo of all the men. Is this work of hunt saboteurs? Have the men just gotten lost in the storm? You need to read and find out more.

The book had me hooked very early on. It was well written with some good twists and turns. I had no idea the direction it was going to go and it includes the topic of fox hunting and how nasty people can get on a topic they feel very strongly about. The final twist in this book was brilliant!
Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I would like to thank Netgalley and Avon Books UK for an advance copy of The Night Before Christmas, the fourth novel to feature DCI James Walker of Cumbria Police.

On Christmas Eve four experienced trail hunters and their dogs go missing on the Cumbrian Fells. The weather is hampering the search efforts so it takes a while for the first body to be found and it’s a shock as he has been murdered.

I haven’t been overly enthusiastic about this series so far, but I think that The Night Before Christmas is the best so far. The premise is intriguing, not just for the disappearance but for what might or might not be related events. I found it interesting enough to want to know what happened and why.

I had no idea what trail hunting is and if I’d known it’s what fox hunters do now after chasing a fox became illegal I might have had second thoughts about reading the novel. Fox hunting is an English hobby often enjoyed by the rich, while the saboteurs tend to be less well off. The standoff between the two sides has a hint of class warfare, but mostly it’s toxic and violent. It’s not a subject I can get excited about, even after a thorough examination in the novel.

Fortunately this is background to what is a strong police procedural with James and his team casting a strong eye on several suspects and constantly assessing their various alibis and truthfulness. Lots of secrets are unearthed and the detectives are surprised at the murderer’s identity, me not so much as I had guessed early on, not the why or anything logical I just had it in my mind and can only assume that something in the way the character was portrayed made me suspicious.

This is not a novel that will set the pulses racing as its tone mirrors the lead character, DCI James Walker. It is calm and methodical with no drama, except the final showdown, but even that has little tension.

The Night Before Christmas is a solid read that I can recommend.

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The Night Before Xmas Alex Pine

4 stars
This is the 4th book in the series but can be read as a stand-alone.

DCI James Walker has settled into his job in Cumbria and is living with his wife Annie, their 18 month old daughter, Bella and looking forward to the arrival of a new baby. It is Christmas Eve and he is about to go home to spend Xmas with his family when a call comes in about 4 missing men.

They had set off for a trial hunt the day before but none of them have returned. They are all seasoned hunters but the weather has turned foul and their families are worried. James is hopeful that they will turn up safe and well having taken shelter but when he discovers one of the missing men has had his house trashed and the word Murderer daubed on the wall he soon realises that yet again he is going to miss his family Xmas for the 4th year in a row.

The four missing men are all pro foxhunting and even though it has been banned for years it is suspected that this is what they have been doing. The anti- fox hunters are very vocal on social media and the whole argument had started when one of the four had deliberately run into a young female protester 5 years before, he had always denied this saying she had stepped out in front of him. She had subsequently died of her injuries.

As Christmas day arrives a photograph is received of the body of one of the four and the race is on to try and find this body and prevent the murder of the three other men. As in all good thrillers there are many suspects and twists to the plot and I enjoyed this book however it did not grip me as much as others that I have read in this genre. It will be interesting to see if DCI Walker takes up his new job offer and moves to pastures new. I will be reading the next book wherever he finds himself.

Karen Deborah
Reviewer for Net galley

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I really enjoyed this book knot my first I’ve read 2 in the series. Another brilliantly written book by Alex. The story had me intrigued and guessing which I never get right. I found the characters relatable and some enjoyable. Overall I really enjoyed this and will be recommending.
Thank you so much for allowing me to read this as an arc for my review.

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Another well written book in this series, a fast paced thriller, interesting characters which kept me wanting to read more and kept me on the edge of my seat throughout.

Thank you to Netgalley and Avon Books for this brilliant ARC which I can thoroughly recommend and I look forward to the next one.

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I didnt realize this was book four of a series but I still enjoyed this fast paced thriller very much. I love book sthat get me thinking and keep me guessing. This was a quick read and will check out the other books in this series. Thank you for ARC NetGalley.

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Wow, what a brilliant book - dare I say it, the best in the series!

It's very dark, tense and full of twists. Though I did guess the killer reveal, I still thoroughly enjoyed it.

Though I do love this series, I wouldn't want to live there with all the killer Christmas' they have!

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DI James Walker #4

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

The four men who went missing were on a hunt. DI Walker has been promoted to DCI. The Christmas season is quickly approaching, and DCI Walker has not had a crime free Christmas since moving from London to Cumbria. When the body of one of the hunters is found, Walker and his team have a murder investigation to solve.

I was pulled into this story after reading a few pages. It's gripping, tense and well written. With blizzards and dead bodies, DCI Walker has his work cut out for him. There are plenty of twists and suspects to chose from. I had my suspicions, but I was wrong. This is a fantastic addition to the series. The only problem now is that we will have to wait a year for the next book.

I would like to thank #NetGalley #AvonBooksUK and the author #AlexPine for my ARC of #TheNightBeforeChristmas in exchange for an honest review.

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A smart, twisty police crime thriller.

Alex Pine has done it again. This is the fourth book in the series, but easy to read as a standalone as the background is always filled in for the reader.

Another Christmas, another set of in the Lake District certainly isn't a holiday!

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A gruesome thriller, full of twists and turns. The backdrop of a winter storm in the beautiful countryside of the Lake District adds to the tension and the suspect list grows at every turn. I was totally gripped from the first page.

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Another ruined Christmas for this poor detective, who is never able to spend the festive season with his family. True to life for many police and rescue services I’m sure. Solid whodunnit with a focus on the disparate views about fox hunting. I love the Cumbria setting and the snow and ice conditions seem very realistic. I have read all the previous books in this series and look forward to each new one.

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Deftly Drawn…
The fourth entry in the DI James Walker series and a snow bound December has arrived in Cumbria. Christmas Eve brings news of missing walkers on the fells and time is ticking given the appalling weather conditions. The search brings a much more complex and horrifying situation. As a murder investigation is promptly launched, the weather worsens and the team find themselves in a race against time. Another fast paced instalment with a deftly drawn cast of characters and a plot populated with plenty of twists, turns and unexpected events. Ideal crime for Christmas which can happily be read as a standalone.

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Thank you get gallery for letting me read this arc. This is one of my favourite series. I really love this series. I've read them from the very start and while it's sadly starting to feel repetitive now a bit, I am still really enjoying all the twists and turns thought the story. I try to always guess the ending and who the killer is but I still can never guess the ending of killer which means it's amazing book done so welk.

I really like the character James as he is my favourite. All the other characters are told so well as well.

The scene setting is so amazing and described so well and this plot sightly graphic and some times hard hitting in a good and bad way.

Really enjoyed it this book so much. Please say there is another book coming as I want to carry on reading about theses characters and stories xxx

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I love this series. I've read them from the very start and while perhaps it feels a bit repetitive now, I still enjoy the twists and turns. I still can never guess the ending!

I have to say I think James needs to start telling his wife the truth though! It's what she deserves!

The scene setting is great and this plot was extremely graphic and quite hard-hitting at times.

Really enjoyed it...and I'm happy that there's another one! At least I assume there is from the way it ended!
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This is the fourth DI James Walker. It can be read as a standalone.
Four men go out on Christmas Eve but don't return home. When one of the wives reports her husband missing, James is soon on the case as one of the men's homes has been trashed.
This is Cumbria, and the weather is closing in, hampering the rescue teams efforts to locate them.
I have previously enjoyed the other books in this series, and this one is no different.
It's fast-paced and a real page turner.
I didn't guess who the killer was, and that is down to the great writing and all the red herrings.
For me, it lost one star as I found it unnecessary to end the dogs life. They could have just escaped.
Thanks to Avon Books for the invitation to read this in return for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed this one - another really grabbing thriller from Alex Pine.

It was a bit of a slow burn, which isn't a bad thing when it's a crime being spoon fed to the reader drop of information at a time. I enjoyed the character twists and turns and I liked that a divisive topic was the reasoning for the plot, but we also got snippets of information about how it bought it to this point along the way.

I love reading crime and thrillers so I always try guess the killer, I managed to do it this time too, but whilst I guessed whodunnit, I did like the way Alex unravelled the story and the reveals.

I am intrigued for the next book! We got left with a question unanswered so there HAS to be a follow on.

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DCI James Walker is back! I look forward to this series each year. They are set at Christmas time but are not overly Christmas themed.

On Christmas Eve, A worried wife contacts the police because her husband and three friends have failed to return from a trail hike. Upon arriving to the house the men left from the police find it has been vandalized significantly.

Much of the book centers around the dispute between hunters and those who appose it. This isn't a subject that particularly interests me, at least not to the extremes that both sides took in this story. For that reason I liked this installment a little less than the previous three in the series. It was still a good story and kept me guessing as to who the culprit was until the end.

I like the main characters and getting to know the co workers a little more with each book. I will look forward to the next Christmas time story from Alex Pine.

Thanks to netgalley and Avon Books UK for the arc.

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Thank you to Netgalley for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review. This series is a favourite of mine and I look forward to the next book each Christmas. I love the characters James and Annie, they have such a beautiful relationship. James is very dedicated to his job and his character gives a really good insight into what it must be like for a policeman working murder cases. A fresh and interesting story once again that had a few surprising twists along the way. This book could be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading the other 3 books first in order to appreciate the characters. Highly recommend this series. 4 stars from me.

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Attention grabbing from the start, this is another great book from Alex Pine. Fast paced and easy to read you won't be disappointed. Although it's book four in the series it can be read as stand alone. Thank you netgalley for the advanced copy

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