The Body in the Shadows, a review by Joanna

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The Body in the Shadows

Nick Louth


287 pages

Published on January 19th, 2023


This is the eleventh book in the consistently clever DCI Craig Gillard police procedural series, about a hardworking middle-aged detective in Surrey, England. I’ve read all of these in order but they do stand alone as mysteries, although I do enjoy the recurring support characters in this series and the little updates into their lives. What I like best about this series is the diversity of the crimes that Gillard investigates, which means they are never formulaic – yes, there’s a murder, but it’s not the main mystery – and the reveal here’s a doozy!

Gillard’s wife Sam is doing some quiet Christmas shopping, when she spots a pickpocketer, and despite being six months pregnant, decides to intervene – with nearly disastrous consequences. The young man escapes, but a week later is found dead in a canal. Meanwhile the Met are investigating rumours of a huge heist planned for the week before Christmas – and one of Gillard’s old informants has some key information about it. The police teams know who the suspects are, but not what they’re up to – how can they prevent the crime of the century when they don’t know what it will be?
I’m running out of new ways to praise this excellent series! I finished this in less than a day, the pace and plotting were perfect, and I didn’t guess what was going on until the big reveal. Gillard does a lot of work that you might expect to be covered by a lower ranked detective, but this is explainable by the secrecy required by the magnitude of the suspected plot. There are lots of characters to keep up with but it never got confusing and all the loose threads were neatly unravelled by the end. Recommended to fans of intelligent British crime fiction which isn’t too gory or violent. 4.5 stars rounded up for originality in a genre that often lacks this vital ingredient!
Thanks to NetGalley and Canelo. I am posting this honest review voluntarily.

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