The Night Before Christmas

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Pub Date Oct 26 2023 | Archive Date Oct 30 2023


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?

From the master of Christmas crime comes a thriller that will chill you to the bone this Winter, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Clare Mackintosh and anyone who prefers their mince pies with a side of murder.

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 –...

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ISBN 9780008621018
PRICE £0.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 205 members

Featured Reviews

Having read the other books in the series I was desperate to get into this new one.

I was not one bit disappointed. It was fast paced. Exciting. Great thriller. I found it hard to put it down.

Great to be back with DCI James and his team. Not forgetting his family Annie and Bella. This time the majority of the book was focused on his work life Which was great. But I missed the family and village aspect to this book

Great plot that played out very well. Lots of twists and turns right up until the end. Hard to believe it all took place on a week. Very well written.

Can’t wIt to find out what’s next for Janes. Will he take the new job?

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It's Christmas once again in the Lake District, and the weather is closing in. Detective James Walker is hoping that, for the first time in four years, he can actually spend a few days at home with his family. Unfortunately, once again, it's not to be. When a call comes in from a local woman unable to contact her husband out on the fells with three friends, James knows speed is of the essence. There is no doubt that, once again, Cumbria will be deep and crisp and even, with a blizzard induced white Christmas and all the danger that entails.

Things begin to unravel quickly when a ransacked farmhouse hints at something more complicated than just a missing persons investigation. With the temperature falling and rescue teams struggling, it becomes clear there is more in the backgrounds of the four friends than first met the eye. Soon the Internet is alive with accusations and counter accusations and, as the comments get ever more heated, and vicious, a body is discovered.

Book four in Alex Pine's excellent Detective James Walker mystery series is, to my mind, the best yet and I've loved them all! The investigation is detailed and difficult with a cast of characters who cover all aspects on both sides of the case and my only criticism would be that there are an awful lot of people in this story! The book is deceptive in that it seems to be a slow burner but actually something is happening all the time with hints and red herrings both helping and hindering in equal measure! Although this can be read as a standalone all four are definitely worth reading on a cold night maybe as the snow falls outside.

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to NetGalley and Avon Books, but the opinions expressed are my own. I love this series which has become required and much anticipated winter reading. Highly recommended.

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This is the fourth instalment of the DCI James Walker series but can easily be read as a stand alone.
When four male trail walkers disappear on Christmas Eve DCI Walker and his team are asked to investigate. But on arriving at one of the missing mens homes to find it vandalised and all four cars meeting the same fate, the investigation turns up a notch especially when in one of the rooms a message had been painted with the words 'murder's ' across the wall.
Things also take a sinister turn when it looks like the four men weren't going on a hike but were illegal fox hunting.
When a message with a photo turns up and the local paper Walker knows he has a murder on his hands.
As tensions mount between anti fox protesters and the locals things start to turn political.
Can Walker and his team find the remaining three men before it's to late and who has a deadly secret to hide?
Another great outing for Walker and crew.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for my approval to read and review this book.

This is the 4th book in the DI James Walker series.

It is really great to catch up with the team and see how there interact with each other in the glorious location of Cumbria and the Lake District in particular.

James is called in to start a search of 4 missing men who had set off on a hike on Christmas Eve. The team arrive to find the farmhouse and vehicles have been vandalised where the owner is one of the missing men.

Will the team find the missing men in worsening weather. It's a fast paced storyline with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing how it will come together. I will be recommending this book to read.

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This is the 4th book in the series about detective James Walker, but it can easily be read as a stand alone book.
I had read book 3 in the series and really enjoyed it, so I was delighted when NetGalley offered me a copy to read, Again it is set at Christmas time. On 24th December 4 hunters go missing in a blizzard. The weather is worsening and the reader realises all is not as it seems. When the police call at the home of one of them, they discover the place has been trashed and also their cars. Is this simply 4 men lost in bad weather conditions in Cumbria? Are they on a day’s hike, or are they out on an illegal fox hunt? I recommend you read the story and find out! My thanks go to NetGalley, Avon Books and Alex Pine for an arc of this exciting story.

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DCI James Walker really needs to catch a break, for the past 3 Christmas's, he and his team have faced a hectic festive season with no let up in murder cases. In this 4th novel a call comes in on Christmas Eve to say 4 hikers have gone missing, and what begins as a search and rescue operation soon dissolves into another murder case, in what could be Walker's toughest case yet.
It's easy to say I've loved all of the previous novels in this series, this one, as the others, can be read as a standalone but I would advise readers to read them as they are so good. A great detective series.
With thanks to Netgalley and Avon Books UK for this gifted copy, I'm under no obligation to leave my review

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When four trail hunters go missing in the fells of Cumbria on Christmas Eve, the race is on to find them before nightfall I raced through it this weekend. Such a smart idea. Twisty, warped, credible. Brilliantly plotted and compelling. Deserves to be such a hit.

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Loved this festive crime thriller. Although it's number four in a series, it can easily be read as a standalone. Gorgeous Lake District setting but with a very dark storyline. Excellent characters and fast paced, I shall definitely be on the lookout for the next one in the series.

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This is book 4 in the DI Walker series and I have read and enjoyed every single one. In my opinion the series just keeps getting better. A fast paced storyline set at Christmas is so enjoyable to read. I couldn't put it down. Although it can easily be read as a standalone I recommend reading the series from the beginning as they are all so good. I highly recommend this book and author.

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This is by far the best book I've read all year. Top marks for storyline, pace and setting. It's the fourth in the Detective James Walker series and like the others it had me guessing to the very end. Alex Pine always delivers a cracking Christmas treat. As far as I'm concerned the festive season would no longer be the same without a dose of Christmas crime in Cumbria.

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I have to say this is probably my 1st Christmas themed thriller but omg! It was amazing and worked so so well. Basically you'll be entirely clueless and suspecting everyone until the big reveal! It's fast paced, the characters are well written, the plot constantly moves forward and drags the reader along with it. I just loved every second of it! Such a breath of wintery fresh air to the thriller genre

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The title The Night Before Christmas was enough to pull me in from the beginning. This book combines murder and Christmas, the two things I love most.

This book is the 4th in the DI James walker series. I plan on going back and reading the the first because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I had no issues reading this, so don't let that deter you if you haven't read the prior 3.
Four hikers become stranded on Christmas Eve after the weather becomes bad. One hiker turns up dead. In the hunt to find the remaining hikers, they realize that there could be plenty of suspects because these were well known fox hunters.
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher, and Alex pine for ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The perfect crime and eerie thriller book to read this autumn. There were so many twists, I just couldn't figure it out. This made my jaw drop when all was revealed. The crime investigation team are amazing and with so many suspects I didn't have a clue how this was going to end! The four men that were murdered all have enemies so it had me suspicious of everyone. This is a fast paced story, thrilling to read which had my heart pounding and a dangerous setting throughout. I'm a huge fan of this author and highly recommend this series.

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Having read Alex Pine's previous books I was intrigued to read this as I wanted to see if it would be as good as those. And wow it definitely was. The story line seemed to me to be a darker than the previous books focussing on the contentious subject of fox hunting. The characters were all well thought out and I love that,having read the previous books the characters grow and became very familiar as their own storylines continue in the background.
I couldn't put this book down and really hope that the story continues with future books as the author has become one of my favourites and I'm very grateful that I was offered an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

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read two other Alex Pine books and thoroughly enjoyed them and this fourth instalment in the Walker series, The Night Before Christmas, did not disappoint.

Newly promoted DI James Walker is again working over the Christmas period. He hopes that he’ll be able to get home and spend Christmas Eve with his wife and daughter - but best laid plans and all that…..

Instead, he’s called out to a remote farmhouse. The farmer and three of his friends have been reported missing and to make matters more desperate is that a snowstorm is blowing in.

Again, the drama is set across the rugged terrain of the Cumbrian Lake District. I thought this book was really interesting as it deals with rural issues and hunting.

Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, Avon Books UK, for making this e-ARC available to me in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ - The Night Before Christmas - Alex Pine

Wow, Wow, WOW! A belter of a Christmas read!

The fourth in a series by Alex Pine - and the best so far in my opinion.

Fox hunting, tragic events and a deadly race against time to find out the truth - this is a real romp of a read - finishing it in just two sittings!

The joy of Alex’s books are that they keep you second guessing everything till the final few page turns and this one was no different.

Why DI James Walker doesn’t learn from experience and book the Christmas period off as annual leave is beyond me, but thank goodness he doesn’t!

What lies ahead for this detective as next Christmas looms nearer - here’s hoping he’s around in Cumbria for plenty more time to come!

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I would like to extend my gratitude to Alex and NetGalley for granting me the opportunity to delve into "The Night before Christmas" ahead of its official release date. As the fourth installment in this series, I've thoroughly relished each prior book, even though this latest addition carries a slightly darker undertone.

Traditionally, the 12 days of Christmas are celebrated as a season of joy and goodwill. However, James Walker's recent promotion to the position of DCI has failed to shake off the Christmas jinx that seems to linger over his team. This particular investigation promises to stretch their overtime budget as they toil through long hours during the holiday season.

With an impending blizzard threatening Cumbria, the sudden disappearance of four trail hunters adds an extra layer of complexity to the situation, making it even more challenging for search and rescue teams. Among these missing individuals is Ted Rycroft. The discovery of his farm broken into and vandalized, along with the damage inflicted on the hunters' vehicles, raises suspicions regarding a potential connection to their disappearance.

Trail hunting, a contentious and polarizing topic, has garnered fierce proponents and opponents. Both sides have been known to manipulate facts about incidents, deriving a peculiar satisfaction from their confrontations.

As the narrative unfolds, a labyrinth of twists and revelations gradually exposes hidden secrets, ultimately leading us to the undeniable truth.

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with this book to review.

A Charming Twist on Tradition

Night Before Christmas" by Alex Pine is a delightful reimagining of the timeless holiday classic that captures the magic of the season while infusing it with a fresh and modern perspective. Pine's writing style effortlessly combines the charm of the original story with a contemporary twist, creating a heartwarming and engaging read for readers of all ages.The story follows the familiar structure of the original poem, with a visit from Santa Claus on Christmas Eve.

However, Pine introduces a cast of diverse and relatable characters that breathe new life into the narrative. Through clever storytelling, the book explores themes of friendship, family, and the spirit of giving, making it relevant and appealing to today's audience.

One of the book's strengths is Pine's ability to evoke vivid imagery, painting scenes that transport readers to a winter wonderland filled with twinkling lights and festive decorations. The author's attention to detail adds depth to the story, making it easy for readers to immerse themselves in the enchanting atmosphere.

While staying true to the essence of the original poem, "Night Before Christmas" also surprises readers with unexpected twists and turns that keep the story engaging and unpredictable. This reimagined version maintains the poetic rhythm and lyrical quality of the original while infusing it with a sense of modern sensibility.

In conclusion, "Night Before Christmas" by Alex Pine is a delightful and heartwarming holiday read that successfully pays homage to the classic while adding its own unique flavor. With its captivating storytelling and fresh interpretation, this book is sure to become a new seasonal favorite for readers looking to experience the joy and magic of Christmas in a whole new way.

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Well when I was offered an Alex Pine book what could I say but yes. This one was even better than the previous ones and I love the fact that it is all set at Christmas time,, makes a change from the cozy Christmas novels. I had completely forgotten about the issues with fox hunting living in a city and this brought it all back. It was so well written and described. The Lake District is its own character and really comes to the fore, the descriptions the impact of the weather.

I cannot wait until what happens next

I was given an advance copy by netgalley and the publishers but the review is entirely my own.

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DCI James Walker and his team are back in this fourth instalment. Four hiker have gone missing on Christmas Eve after the weather took a turn for the worse. The race is to find them before nightfall. However, it doesn't talk long before one body is found, bearing the message: the real hunt has begun.

The missing men were not just simple hikers. They were known to hunt foxes. The men were disliked by many. DCI James Walker and his team need to find the other missing men before it is too late and figure out who the killer is.

What looked foremost like a rescue turns into DCI James Walker most challenging case of his police career.

There are plenty of suspects due to the nature of the subject. I had my suspicions , but again, Alex Pine manages to trip me up.

Although this book is part of a series, you do not need to read them in order to follow along. The author does a great job recapping the characters at the beginning of the book. This is the kind of book where you say just one more chapter, and before you know it, you have finished the book. I do like the author writing style. He has a great way to draw you into the story, and there is no denying that I am a fan of his books.

I certainly would recommend The Night before Christmas to people who like a well paced whodunnit full of suspense.

Christmas would just not be the same without DCI James Walker!

Puplication Date 26.10.2023

Thanks @netgalley, @avonbooksuk and Alex Pine, for letting me read this ARC!

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Such a fab read. I have loved all 3.of the previous books as soon as they some out I have to buy it. I love James and all the other characters in this series. The books always guessing and gripped until the end. I so hope we get more in this series especially now he has had a very exciting job offer. You can read it as a standalone but would recommend reading it in order just because the characters progress and things happen to them along the way. Can not wait for the paper back to come.out to buy it.

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Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without a trip to Cumbria by Alex Pine. I'm a BIG fan of this book series.

Four men go out for a hike but don't return. The storyline is based around fox hunting, although banned in the UK, hunt--based activities still go on. Feelings run high on both sides of the argument.

As usual, there are lots of red herrings that keep you guessing right to the reveal. I was totally blindsided by who did it this year.

Another enjoyable, entertaining, and one sitting read. I can't wait to read the next book.

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Loved this book! Could not put it down and when I did my thoughts wandered back to it which is a sign of a great read. Well written and so good!

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Thank you to NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this book.

James Walker is back with his fellow detectives to solve another crime at Christmas. Four huntsmen have disappeared and DI Walker is tasked with finding where these men have got to, especially as it seems the weather and everyone they question are against them.

I really enjoy this series, and I’ve started to look forward to the next instalment every year. So many books are lovey dovey when set around the festive period, but this author is just brilliant, because he enjoys a slice of murder and mystery served up at Christmas, the same as me. The style of writing is great, and makes the story so easy to read, and always ensures you read just one more chapter, until you accidentally finish the book. The characters are really well written, and DI Walker always seems to come across as slightly old fashioned, but it fits with the themes of the book. The story was gripping, with many red herrings throughout. The writer ensures the story is the right balance of suspense, with darkness and foreboding, but a glimmer of light the whole way through. Another excellent crime novel from this author.

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It’s Christmas Eve and 4 trail hunters have gone missing on the Cumbrian fells, the weather is closing in and it’s a race against time to find them. Newly promoted DCI James Walker knows only too well how difficult this is going to be, Having left the Met Police to move back to his wife, Annie’s home town, this is their 4th Christmas here, and this case could prove to be the most difficult he has had to investigate.

What I like about this police procedural is that it feels authentic as not every lead pans out, mistakes are made and there’s always a huge amount of background work that has to be done. It’s fast paced, very well written and plotted, and the tension carries on right to the end. We see just how divisive Fox hunting can be in normally tight knit communities, how neighbour turns against neighbour. I like the dynamic between James and wife Annie, and also with his colleagues, the team he has put together over the last few years. Although a stand alone read, Im glad I’ve read the rest of this series. Highly recommended.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Absolutely fantastic yet again, another great follow up book, the ideas again were brilliant and I didn’t even guess how it would end, I hope there is another one in the future

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