by Tim Sullivan
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Pub Date 27 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 27 Apr 2023
Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book
To find a murderer, you need a motive . . .
DS George Cross has always wondered why his mother left him when he was a child. Now she is back in his life, he suddenly has answers. But this unexpected reunion is not anything he's used to dealing with. When a disturbing case lands on his desk, he is almost thankful for the return to normality.
The body of a monk is found savagely beaten to death in a woodland near Bristol. Nothing is known about Brother Dominic's past, which makes investigating difficult. How can Cross unpick a crime when they don't know anything about the victim? And why would someone want to harm a monk?
Discovering who Brother Dominic once was only makes the picture more puzzling. He was a much-loved and respected friend, brother, son – he had no enemies. Or, at least, none that are obvious. But looking into his past reveals that he was a very wealthy man, that he sacrificed it all for his faith. For a man who has nothing, it seems strange that greed could be the motive for his murder. But greed is a sin after all . . .
Perfect for fans of M.W. Craven, Peter James and Joy Ellis, The Monk is part of the DS George Cross thriller series, which can be read in any order.
Why readers love George Cross . . .
'The fact that Cross has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder makes him just as intriguing as the murder mystery' The Times
'A British detective for the 21st century who will be hard to forget' Daily Mail
'The plot is meticulously worked out . . . Can't wait for the next in the series!' Reader review
'I find myself really caring about George and his way of thinking' Reader review
'It's good to believe that somewhere there is a Cross pursuing truth against the odds, and winning' Reader review
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 59 members
*Many thanks to Tim Sullivan, Aria & Aries, and NetGalley for arc in exchange for my honest review.*
I am always drawn to mysteries in all forms which are set in monasteries, and the description of The Monk appealed to me. It turned out I was offered more than a mystery surrounding the death of a Benedicitine monk. Mr Sullivan manages to build a good plot which is enhanced by characters who do not allow you to keep the distance. I was unaware of the fact that this is the 5th book in the series, and yes, at times I felt I missed out on some information. Fortunately, it did not prevent me from enjoying this instalment.
What I want in police procedurals or thrillers is something more than just gore details of murder scenes. And The Monk did not disappoint me. George Cross, being on the spectrum, is definitely a character who can be close to even though this is not what he desires. His partner's perspective is our perspective and allows us to at least make an attempt to comprehend a person whose reactions are not what social standards require.
A well-designed mystery, with some insight into modern monastery life.
I hope to continue with the series as I already miss Cross.
When the body of a murdered monk is found in a ditch by a country lane. DS George gets to investigate the monastery where he came from. In his investigations he learns a lot about life as a monk and finds the ordered tranquil life much to his liking even as an unbeliever. He gets to repair the broken organ in the chapels which also enables his stay as a live in guest. Along with his investigation George is learning to live with having a mother as well as a father in addition to a few other friends and colleagues forcing him to be more sociable. Most interesting to see how his character develops as he solves another mystery made smooth by his partner DS Ottey.
I have read others in this series , which I was glad of because as a reader, you are immediately plunged into the story in this book. George Cross, one of the detectives, is on the autistic spectrum, which adds a special dimension to the way he investigates the cases and the relationships with family, acquaintances and his collegues. The plot is fairly intricate in this book with a couple of twists and turns along the way . Fairly believable and the investigation is immaculate though perhaps a little slow going at times. We also find out more about George's family life, though mostly from his own persepctive and as such coloured by his way of thinking.
A good read. 4 stars from me,
Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review
Read it! It really is a great story not to be missed. The compulsion to read it starts at page one and doesn’t let go. Brother Benedict Augustus is one of ten monks in an abbey near Bristol. Then he is found murdered. Before becoming a monk, he was crucial to the collapse of a bank which was engaged in dodgy dealings. So he enemies from his past. He is also an expert at identifying the provenance of paintings and angered a client when he valued a painting much lower than expected. That could be another source of enmity. The monastery setting is an excellent background for the story. The tale has further surprises as it moves on and the conclusion is very satisfying. Above all, the detective sergeant George Cross is the star of the book. He is autistic and has difficulties relating to others. He is also a brilliant detective. This is a great read. I recommend it.
DS George Cross, a memorable name and brilliant detective but he's a man on the spectrum which gives Tim Sullivan plenty to write about. A monk goes missing and his body is later discovered in a ditch, strapped to a chair. How he died was quickly deduced, he had taken a sever beating, tortured you might say, then dispatched by an implement causing skull and limb fractures. This is a case for George to solve and it takes him down many paths. Along the way he discovers that some aspects of the monastic life are definitely suited to him. In fact a lot of the novel centres around the monastery. I really liked this angle and especially George's predeliction for all things organ. Yes, he gets to restore a rather lovely old organ that has seen better days. Furthermore, he witnesses the full working of a monastery from the tending of the vegetable plot, to the manicure of lawned perfection, bee keeping and book binding. His favourite time is spent savouring the simple delights of freshly cooked soup and baked bread, eaten in silence and contemplation. I think George has found his spiritual retreat at last.
The Monk does have a funny side too because of George's bluntness and Spock type logic, although most would prefer to laugh with him, not at him, for fear of one of his tirades. (Actually I am uncertain if George is capable of laughing.) Tim Sullivan has certainly found his forte with the character of the DS and also his supporters or should I say handlers? They are very protective of him for sure. However, I think I found a faux pas which wouldn't have passed the DS's lips, here I refer to him saying the news media are quicker than blowflies in finding a corpse, for clearly George had just witnessed the maggots on the victim's body!
It has to be a deserved five stars from me, for plot, wit and pace.
I love DI George Cross, he is a wonderful character and like most people who have read Tim Sullivans books about George, I do think these stories would work wonderfully as a new TV detective series and although I was really looking forward to reading this latest installment The Monk, I found the story has become a bit repetitive when it comes to George's ways and his being on the Autistic spectrum and how he is with people and although at times I did laugh out loud with his interview techniques and how he speaks to people, I do feel it would be nice to focus on his partner Jossie Ottey a little more, she just seems to be kept in the background and is there to throw in the odd comment and drive George about.
The Monk is a good story but it isn't one of my favourites of the series
As we go into the fifth book in the DS Cross Thriller series, it wouldn't be unreasonable to wonder how much mileage there is left in a series featuring a police detective on the spectrum; a series that to some extent adopts some of the same characteristics. DS George Cross likes order and procedure to a far greater degree than even the most assiduous detective. He is not governed by gut feelings or intuition, has a habit of speaking his mind, sometimes in the most inappropriate manner considering the circumstances, with little sense of apparent sensitivity for the families of the victims. Well, the answer is there in the fact that each book so far has shown that DS Cross actually has more reserves of human empathy than you might think, while on the other hand the irrational, instinctive and adherence to social niceties can - certainly to DS Cross - appear even stranger and more disconcerting.
Tim Sullivan, with characteristic skill, lays that out clearly in the critical but customary opening scene of a murder site, setting the tone for what lies ahead. A Benedictine monk, Dominic Augustus, reported missing two days previously, has been found dead, bound to a chair in a ditch, having been brutally beaten before being killed. Cross finds the idea of a holy man being subjected to such an ordeal baffling, but not so much from the view of who would do such a thing to a monk, as why. He isn't impressed either by a constable of the Somerset and Avon police force making a joke at the scene. It really does show how the behaviour of people and their reactions can sometimes be bewildering.
So even though Cross delivers the news to the abbot of the St Eustace monastery with customary bluntness, the response of Father Anselm to the news is unexpected, as is the behaviour of his brotherhood. If the actions and motivations of people in response to a criminal investigation can be difficult to fathom, it's going to be even more difficult to find out why anyone would kill a monk, and even more so trying to conduct an investigation with a group of men close to the victim who are accustomed to silent reflection and inexpressiveness. There is also the fact that Brother Dominic also seemed to be concerned about keeping a low profile, saying little about his previous life as a top city banker.
But then, that's not so different either from the other cases we've seen in the previous DS Cross thrillers. Family continues to be an important line to follow and, as with previous investigations, family tend to close ranks, be protective of each other and try to protect themselves from the trauma of loss. The small community of monks at St Eustace are a kind of family too, just as likely to close ranks to protect their institution. However, Cross knows that statistically that most murders are committed within a family, so nothing can be discounted. The theme might be familiar from previous novels, but Sullivan finds another variation on it here, with the complicating factor that DS Cross is still struggling to come to terms and understand the dynamic in his own personal family life.
As noted before over the course of the series, Sullivan writes much in the manner of his lead character, inevitably adopting some of the conditions of a person with Asperger's Syndrome. He keeps to familiar patterns, in the titles of the books, in the response and method of the police investigation, in the structure of the book and the customs that Cross keeps. It's quiet and methodical, allowing time for information to be absorbed, but just like Cross, he can surprise you by launching into incredible flights of rapid action. Action is perhaps not quite the word, but in the context of one episode here of a police interrogation that takes place on the private plane of a successful businessman, it's an extraordinary change of pace, showing what Cross is capable of, while also laying down in a dramatic manner how the investigation is going to move in a new direction.
Still, while DS Cross's methods are unique and fascinating for a crime detective series, it's his humanity that in the end proves critical to the successful resolution of the case. While his own personal family situation is nothing like those of the high society families he is investigating here, it's the necessity of not just understanding human behaviour and actions, it's feeling them and coming to terms with his position as a son that provides the insight that is needed here. It's not intuition, not just procedure and thorough investigation of evidence, but a willingness - as painful as it might be for him and more difficult to solve than any criminal case - to confront his own humanity. Once again, contrary to appearances, DS Cross seems to have more of it than many others. It's this kind of development that continues to make this an exceptional series.
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for this eARC.
This is my second George Cross read and I have to say George is fast becoming my favourite Detective and I think the pairing of him with Ottey is just brilliant. I absolutely loved this read, I was drawn into the story from the first page and Tim Sullivan grabbed and held my interest all the way through to the end. I love the authors writing style here, his descriptions of Cross, what he is thinking, how others see him, and all the wonderfully humorous moments in the story that made this such a gem of a read. Cross, Ottey and the team investigate a murder of a Monk and have to look into the victims past for clues. This is such a well written book, one I found to be very moreish where I kept thinking I’ll just read a bit more, then a bit more and found myself picking my kindle up again to continue reading at every opportunity. I enjoyed following the team’s investigations and thought I knew who the killer was and was wrong. Cross is such a unique, quirky character who you just can’t help like and root for. I loved the glimpses into his personal life and how he is trying to cope with the reappearance of his mother after a long absence. Overall a brilliant read which I can’t fault because I loved everything about it, I’m still to read the first three books in this series and will do as soon as I can. If you like crime, police procedurals featuring a Detective who is just that little bit different to the norm then look no further although if you’re new to this series I’d recommend you read the books in correct order.
Another triumph for Tim Sullivan. These George Cross books would make a brilliant tv series! I'm totally in love with this unique , lovable detective with all his quirks and foibles. Being on the spectrum allows him to say exactly what he thinks, totally uncompromising with the truth and remorseless in seeking out justice. I love his relationship with Father Stephen , at whose church he goes to practice playing the organ. His partner, sergeant Otley is driven to distraction by him but also loves and protects him. This latest outing sees him investigating the brutal murder of a much loved monk Brother Dominic and entails him having to spend a lot of time at the Abbey among the monks, whose lifestyle has great appeal to George.
The author's deep understanding of people in the spectrum shines through his books . His plotlines are intelligent, well researched and thoroughly engaging. There is a freshness and authenticity to his writing that just gets better with each book.
The Monk has it all- brilliant storytelling, engaging characters, humour and humanity. I loved it and cannot wait for the next in the series.
DS George Cross is on the autistic spectrum, he has his foibles and ways of doing things, with a complicated private life involving his father, and a recently returned mother. These books are so well written, there is humour, and understanding throughout.
A body is found taped to an armchair and submerged in water, when the chair is lifted out, people are horrified to find the victim is a Benedictine monk, Father Dominic.
Who was Father Dominic before he took the cloth, how did a monk make enemies?
DS Cross, with DS Ottey, who tries to help with nuances of modern life are forced to look into the life of the monk, and what will they discover.
So original, couldn't put it down. Can't wait until the next one
Another excellent installment from Mr Sullivan involving the strangely likable, certainly quirky detective, George Cross.
I am strangely drawn to this character who has certainly been researched in depth, putting a new dimension to a sometimes overdone genre keeping it fresh all over again.
Tidy, neat plot and a great pace.
A great story of DS George Cross and his officers working on the death of a monk. I loved the relationship between DS George Cross and DS Ottey they work well together.
This was a fast moving thriller with a real insight into life at a monastery and how monks live and cope with the outside world.
This is the first DS Cross book I have read and thoroughly enjoyed the plots and mystery look forward to the next book.
Would highly recommend.
Thanks to Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus and NetGalley for a ARC.
This is the second DS Cross book I have read and loved it as much as the first one. DS Cross is on the autistic spectrum and struggles in the real world but he is very astute and sees crimes in a different way to his fellow officers. A Benedictine monk, Brother Dominic Augustus of St Eustace Monastery, has been murdered and DS Cross is called in to find the killer. Why would someone murder a monk and this sets him on the path to finding out more. He starts his quest at the Monastery itself. Investigations bring up many surprises about Brother Dominic, the main one that he was a high flyer in the banking world and earned a fortune. When he entered the Monastery where did his money go – a question which DS Cross cannot let be. He also has the added pressure of his mother re-entering his life which he is confused about and cannot compute in his autistic mind. The one good thing for him during this investigation is that he can help the Monastery repair it’s organ and this helps him put all his thoughts together as it is quiet and no one is disturbing his thread. He deals with the murder in the only way he can and his partner, DS Josie Ottey, keeps him from upsetting people along the way although he does not realise that he is doing this. He has not a sense of humour and some anecdotes he does not understand again due to his autism. The plot gathers pace and it is difficult to put the book down as you want to find out “who did it”. I loved the main characters of this book as always and it is written so well I feel I can visualise them. A perfect story and a perfect read Awaiting the next book
DS George Cross is not like most other detectives. Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, he may be socially awkward and find many social situations difficult but he has a brilliant mind. He sees patterns and joins dots that others miss. George will need all of these skills on his latest case.
The body of a monk is found bound to a chair in a ditch. Brother Dominic has clearly been brutally beaten. Who could possibly want to do this to a monk. Initial enquiries show that he was a well-liked and respected man with nothing to indicate that he had any enemies. To find the killer, Cross, Ottey and the team will need to dig into his past, who was Brother Dominic before he entered the monastery? When they discover that he was actually a very wealthy banker, they begin to wonder if money could be the key to his murder.
I adore DS George Cross. The way he has found his place in what must be a very difficult world for him, the way his colleagues accept who he is and recognise how valuable he is to the team is just brilliant.
This is the fifth book in the excellent DS Cross series and just like the others it is a great read.
With great characters and an ever twisting fast paced plot it is genuinely a "hard to put down book" and I thoroughly enjoyed getting the chance to read and review it.
I highly recommend this book and indeed recommend reading the whole series from book 1.
Love this book, love the characters and love the back story - and the fact, that the very likeable detective leading the case, is on the spectrum, is really a great acknowledgement.
I like the story, a little brutal, but the characters pulled it back to very enjoyable mystery. A financial high flyer retires to a monastery to live a life of a monk. But life catches up with him - how and why is woven into the story of his brutal death, and the chase for his killer.
Very layered story, well written and enjoyable. Thanks you NetGalley and the publishers for the DRC
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