Beneath the Ashes (DI Will Jackman #2) – Jane Isaac #bookreview



Published by Legend Press

Ebook and Paperback : 1 November 2016


The floor felt hard beneath her face. Nancy opened her eyes. Blinked several times. A pain seared through her head. She could feel fluid. No. She was lying in fluid.

When a body is discovered in a burnt-out barn in the Warwickshire countryside, DI Will Jackman is called to investigate.

Nancy Faraday wakes up on the kitchen floor. The house has been broken into and her boyfriend is missing. As the case unravels, DI Jackman realises that nothing is quite as it appears and everyone, it seems, has a secret.

Can he discover the truth behind the body in the fire, and track down the killer before Nancy becomes the next victim?

A gripping thriller perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn, S.J. Watson, B A Paris and Sophie Hannah


Last year I reviewed another of Jane’s books (An Unfamiliar Murder – reviewed here) featuring a female detective, Helen Lavery. This time we meet a different detective, DI Will Jackman (whose first outing was in Before It’s Too Late and which I do have on my bookshelf waiting patiently!)

I was immediately hooked by the teasing prologue of a woman seemingly about to end her life in a graveyard. We then move on to the main story with a young woman waking up on a kitchen floor, covered in blood and her boyfriend missing. At around the same time, an unidentified body is discovered in a burning barn nearby. Is there a connection between the two events? Is the girlfriend involved or is it merely a case of wrong place, wrong time?  However, there is a whole lot more to this story than just a body in a barn and DI Jackman and his team have their work cut out in tying up the different strands. Every time they think they have found a solution, they are led off in a whole different direction.

I really enjoyed this police procedural with its twists and turns and have to admit to now adding Will Jackman to my list of book crushes. What I particularly like about Jane’s detectives is that they are just normal people – so many fictional detectives are curmudgeonly, angst ridden individuals with marital difficulties and alcohol problems. That’s not to say that Will doesn’t have personal issues to deal with (he has a particularly sad backstory which is alluded to in this story) but he comes across as a straightforward and dedicated detective that you can trust to be on the side of the victim. He is clearly a family man (when the job allows) and the relationship with his grown up daughter was nicely managed. The scenes with his daughter’s new boyfriend and the dog particularly made me smile (and I did wonder whether the inspiration came from the author’s own canine companion!)

There are a lot of threads and characters to follow with Beneath the Ashes but rather than being a confusing muddle, the author has cleverly pulled them together to make a first rate and suspenseful crime story with an exciting and dramatic conclusion. Set around Northamptonshire, there is an excellent sense of place and it is clear that the author has first-hand knowledge of the locations.

I haven’t yet read the first book in the series, Before It’s Too Late, and I didn’t feel disadvantaged at all. There is enough information given here to enable me to engage with the central characters and to understand the dynamics of the investigating team.

Jane Isaac is now firmly on my list of ‘must read’ crime authors and I shall definitely be reading the third book in the Jackman series ‘The Lies Within’ due to be published in May 2017.



About the author:

jane-isaacJane Isaac lives with her husband, daughter and dog, Bollo, in rural Northamptonshire, UK. Her debut novel, An Unfamiliar Murder, introduces DCI Helen Lavery and was nominated as best mystery in the ‘eFestival of Words Best of the Independent eBook awards 2013.’

The Truth Will Out, the second in the DCI Helen Lavery series, was nominated as ‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by and winner of ‘Noveltunity book club selection – May 2014’.

In 2015 Jane embarked on a new series, featuring DI Will Jackman and set in Stratford upon Avon, with Before It’s Too Late. The second in the series, Beneath The Ashes, will be published by Legend Press on 1st November 2016 with the 3rd, The Lies Within, to follow on 2nd May 2017.

Both DI Jackman and DCI Lavery will return again in the near future. Sign up to Jane’s newsletter on her website at for details of new releases, events and giveaways.


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