Member Reviews

Thank you NetGalley for giving me the chance to read this book ahead of time in exchange for a review. You should read it!

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This was a murder mystery that starts off with a friend speaking to a cop and asking if she can look into his friend that he hasn’t heard from for a bit. She follows up and finds no one at his house but his dog was left there for a while so they start to follow the trails but there really aren’t any. Then suddenly a body is found under a bridge and it’s him that’s when everything starts to align and bring out more clues.

I couldn’t stop reading this it was really good and had just the right amount of suspense and thrill that it really did keep you going. I’m excited to read more from this author.

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Starts as a cozy murder story - if there is such a thing - but as the cast of characters gets longer, so the plot becomes more complicated! Based in Wales with lots of references to the local area, the language and culture, the murder investigation team have good relationships and there is plenty of cheek and banter between colleagues. An entertaining read, good holiday reading. It goes on perhaps a little too long.

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I love Norman. He may be a bit set in his ways, but he's always willing to listen to his younger coworkers and give them support an encouragement (especially the females! In this book, he's settled down with his girlfriend and ready to makes Wales his forever home, when news comes that that their department may me moved out to a regional force, and close the local station down. But in the meantime his DI leaves on funeral leave and they get a welfare concern that soon turns to a murder case. By the time the DI comes back, they still don't have many answers, and when the body turns up, there are way more questions, red herrings and false leads, than there are suspects. It's a head scratcher and Norman and his squad will need all their combined skills to figure out the lies from the truth in this roller coaster read!

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This is the sixth book in the West Wales Murder Mysteries series, nominally centered around Detective Sargent Norman Norman, who works in a small police station in the village of Llangwelli.

While the story is narrated mostly from his point of view, there are bits and pieces from the points of view of other cops, and what seem to be continuing storylines from the previous books; some are about the relationships between the cops themselves, and some about things like funding for their small station and their position in the larger pecking order for the region and so forth.

As the book starts, they don’t seem to have any ongoing cases, or basically anything to do, until someone reports that an elderly man as missing, and then his body turns up in a stream near another small village some ten miles away.

The blurb turned out to be the most interesting part of this book; the “impossible” aspect of the mystery is explained almost immediately: a neighbor saw someone walking the dog in the rain, in the small hours of the morning, wearing a hooded coat, and *the cops* assumed that meant it was the dog’s owner.

The narrative alternates between pointless chatter between the different cops, and the investigation, first trying to find the missing man, then solving his murder once the body is found. There is an abundance of unnecessary detail on some things, and absurd jumps on others.

At one point we have: “Norman…went up to the front door, removed the tape and sign, produced a key and led the way inside.” (Chapter 5) This could have just as easily been written as “Norman entered the house”; the longer phrasing doesn’t tell us anything important about either the case or the cop. In contrast, later in the book a scene ends with the line “Norman had to check something first”, and in the next scene, he drops key information while interviewing a witness-cum-suspect.

Speaking of which, the cops seem to take everything they are told at face value, even from people who have already lied to them; and despite the marvels of technology, they don’t use their cell phones to fact-check anything, or even call the station to have someone there do more digging for them. Instead, they physically go back to have tedious, in person conversations about everything.

In one conversation between the putative protagonist and his immediate superior, Norman says he supposes that she didn’t get along with her just-dead father, because she never mentioned him to Norman; she replies with something along the lines of, “I guess then you can deduce that we didn’t get along, since I never mentioned him to you”; then he says again, “I guess it was a bad relationship, since you didn’t mention him to me ever”, and she agrees, again, that yes, it was a bad relationship.

And no, I am not exaggerating; each character said the same thing to each other twice. Worse, that was not the only instance of this kind of circular exchange; the group conversations as they discuss what they know, what they need to find out, etc., often include little sidebars that lead nowhere and add nothing.

When the toxicology report shows high levels of warfarin in the victim’s body, there is a group discussion where one cop says that it was used in rat poison; then another one says that regulations have changed, and it’s no longer used for that. Another cop explains that it’s a blood thinner, and someone else says that the victim didn’t have a prescription for it–so the first cop asks if it was in rat poison after all, so the second cop reiterates that no rat poison contains warfarin so that couldn’t be it.

Things are introduced, made much of, and then dropped entirely.

At one point, Norman and his DI talk about the potential closure of the Llangwelli station–which of course would mean upheaval for every cop employed there. Then it’s never mentioned again.

Or the victim’s dog, which should have been sent to animal control (or animal welfare, whatever it’s called over there), being taken in by Norman and Faye, to whom he refers to as his partner. At least two people tell him that he shouldn’t have done that because a) not procedure, and b) if they find any family, he’ll have to turn the dog over to them. Then a sister to the victims turns up, and no one brings up ownership of the dog, or even where it is, again.

Eventually, the cops solve the case; the book ends with an arrest, but there is neither a climax or aftermath; the tone and style throughout never changes. By the time I was done reading, I didn’t care for who did what, or for any of the cops.

And here’s the main thing: in reality, it’s likely that cops are just this bumbling if not worse, but fiction is supposed to be consistent, coherent and, more than anything else, entertaining. This book was none of these things.

A Body Under the Bridge gets a 5.00 out of 10

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DS Norman Norman is in charge of CID at Llangwelli station while DI Sarah Southall is attending her father’s funeral in England when an elderly man is reported missing by his weekly chess partner Alun. Norman and DC Catren Morgan take a look at his house and discover the only occupant is his dog. Alun claims the man, Gareth Jenkins, would never willingly desert his canine companion for long. They initially believe Gareth has been missing for a short time but when his body is pulled from the river under a bridge ten miles away, the post mortem tells a different story. How could Gareth have been seen alive and walking his dog by a neighbour when he was already deceased? Is someone deliberately trying to skew the facts? Sarah returns and together with DCs Judy Lane and “Frosty” Winter, the team of detectives start to delve into Gareth’s life, finding all manner of disturbing clues, including a missing laptop, an absence of furniture in the house and a torn-up photograph, not to mention an estranged family and two wives! Soon there’s no shortage of suspects and motives but the further they dig, the murkier the waters surrounding Gareth’s death become. With so much conflicting evidence, clearly plenty of people are lying, and each new discovery means more stories just don’t add up. Will the team manage to sift the truth from all this and nail the killer of a rather sad and lonely pensioner?
What a great team these detectives make! With DI Southall keeping them all on track, Norman is like a father figure to Judy, Catren and Frosty, and it’s obvious how much they all look up to him. There’s warmth and a little humour in their interactions which makes reading this twisty and thoroughly engrossing story an absolute pleasure. Now I really must go back and read the first five books in this series which I can’t believe I’ve missed!

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I had a very hard time finishing it. The plot wasn’t very interesting and the pace was incredibly slow. I found out this wasn’t the first book in a series, but I found it didn’t matter because they constantly over explained everything that was happening. I probably wouldn’t go back and finish the series.

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I found the blurb intriguing and the whodunnit kept me hooked. It's a solid mystery, well plotted and full of surprising twists.
Interesting characters and setting.
It's slower than the average mystery but I liked the pace as it made me think of classic mysteries
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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This is my first book written by the author and wow what a read!

An elderly man reports his friend missing after missing the men’s weekly chess session, the detectives go to the missing man’s house where they enter and find the house has hardly any furniture but his dog had been left, which isn’t usual. The detectives get an investigation going, neighbours on either side of the man’s house are questioned and interviewed after a body was found. But is that body Gareth Jenkins? Why is he miles away from his home if he never left the house?

A BODY UNDER THE BRIDGE is my first book by P.F. Ford and I don’t think this will be my last! This isn’t my usual genre but it was such a welcome read that I think I need to read more of the authors books. I realise as I write this review that this is the latest book in the series and I will be going on to read the rest of series.

The way the book is written is remarkable, it really does feel as if you are on the case with the detectives, getting to know their every thought and theory, second guessing there theory’s and wanting to shout at them because they’re not thinking the obvious, however I must admit I was wrong many times thinking I knew what happened next but just as I thought “AH HA” there was a twist.

I recommend this read however I can’t say much as to the rest of the series other than I’m looking forward to going back and also exploring other books this author has written.

I give 4 stars instead of 5 as I found the ending to be sudden and unexpected without any follow on, wether there may be another book in the series I don’t know but I really hope so! I also found there was a lot of dialogue that it was confusing knowing who said what sometimes, although it could just be me and the fact I sometimes struggle with reading and I just haven’t read the speech very well on this occasion.

I read a copy of this book courtesy of Joffe Books via NetGalley in return of an honest review. All views are my own

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It’s an ordinary Tuesday morning when pensioner Alun Edwards turns up at Llangwelli station. He doesn’t want to make a fuss but he’s worried about his friend Gareth. Every Monday, they meet up for a game of chess. But Gareth wasn’t at home yesterday. He’s not answering his phone — and he’s left his dog behind. He’d never do that.
Detective Norman searches Gareth’s cottage — and finds a woman’s photograph, torn to shreds and dumped in the bin.

Another great story by Pete Ford. Well paced with twists aplenty. I did struggle with its believability at times. I would have expected a murder to be dealt with by a specific, probably out-of-town, murder squad. However, I enjoyed it and it’s a really easy read.

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A Most Unexpected Body…
The sixth outing in the West Wales Murder Mystery series finds Detective Norman, out of retirement and on the beat, grappling with a most unexpected dead body. Whilst the circumstances seem impossible, Norman must make sense of it all to solve a possible crime. Enjoyable and entertaining with a credible cast and a well described setting, banter aplenty and a solid mystery at its core.

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I enjoyed the newest installment of the West Wales Murder Mysteries series. It was fun to get an update on what was happening with some of the characters, and the mystery seemed straightforward at first, but then more details and complications kept arising as the team of detectives investigated. The revelations about the victim (I won't go into details to avoid spoilers!) were also fascinating as facts from his past were revealed. Parts of the story felt as if you were reading a thriller, but in a very realistic/believable way. The painstaking nature of investigating was also very clear without being at all tedious. All in all, a compelling read that was not predictable.

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Great plot, with good characters, I enjoyed reading. 
recommend this latest book that readers will enjoy.

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This is the first book in this series I’ve read. Sadly it will also be the last. I don’t care for this style of writing, with way too much dialogue about inconsequential topics , daft arguments and work banter. It comes across as unnecessary padding. I’ve not read a book before with so much irrelevant dialogue.
The subject of the murder is unusual, but the behaviour of the investigating officers in relation to the sister of the victim, Rhiannon, defies belief. She strings them along with half truths and evasions for at least four visits to the house, and even when threatened (in very clunky dialogue) with being taken to the police station for interview, she still continues to prevaricate. Real police would have no patience with such nonsense.
I have read to 50%, but nothing, apart from the discovery of the body, has happened. This will be a DNF for me. It’s just not for me, this one.
My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my advance copy of this book.

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Captivating plot, who is this murdered person, we're getting pieces, it's still a mystery.
Great plot, with good characters, I enjoyed reading.
Highly recommend this latest book that readers will enjoy.
Given arc by Net Galley and Joffe for my voluntary review.
Releases. June 25

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Kept me guessing throughout🤔

A good small town murder mystery set in rural Wales. I liked the way each new clue had DS Norman Norman and the team turning in a new direction and Norman's interaction with DC Morgan shows he tells it like it is and has no compunction about criticizing her questionable behavior.

I could only feel sympathy for the poor victim and his dog! The idea of someone ruining a lonely old man's life bit by bit was truly disturbing. I did also like that there's next to no violence and there were plenty of suspects to mislead me.

Thanks to Joffe Books and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

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Another good cozy mystery in the series. Set in Wales, and a journey with the police to solve a mystery. Enjoyed this one, and would highly recommend it.

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I really enjoy this series, having read three now. I'm about to start from the beginning. A good murder mystery that kept me guessing.
Thanks to Netgalley.

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4.5 Stars
A solid addition to a wonderful police procedural series set in the Welsh countryside, this novel has maintained a great cast of characters and has developed the team and a storyline in a way that continues to pull readers back again and again. I enjoy the
lighthearted but intelligent rapport and the small-town but not small-minded personalities. Attractive covers too! There's a useful glossary of UK slang at the end for readers new to British writers.

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local-law-enforcement, Wales, small-town, secrets, lies, suspense, procedural, working-partners, due-diligence, colleagues, teamwork, mystery, murder, investigation, banter, out-of-retirement, twisty, friends, friendship, unputdownable*****

I love Detective Norman and his fellow coppers, they work so very well together. This is a wonderfully twisty read filled with lies, misconceptions, and some fun as well. Great series.
I requested and received a free temporary EARC from Joffe Books via NetGalley. Thank you!

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