Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Release Date: August 19, 2019
Genre: Adult Fiction / Mystery / Crime
Goodreads Average: 4.56 *As of 8/20/2019*
As a boy, Ben was a witness in the disappearance and suspected murder of a beautiful young woman, Esther Garrett, which led to an intense adolescent obsession.
Twenty years later, the conviction of her murder is overturned due to a police corruption scandal. Ben’s obsession is reawakened when Esther’s sister asks for his help investigating the crime.
As Ben is drawn deeper into the case, he will be forced to face the truth about his own life and soon finds himself questioning everything he ever believed.
Was Esther really murdered?
And if so, could the killer be closer to home than anyone ever imagined?
What it’s about: When Ben is eleven, he sees a young woman named Esther Garrett get off his father’s bus right before she goes missing and is suspected to have been murdered. He develops an obsession (at 11!) that twenty years later will be reignited when Esther’s little sister phones him asking him to help her find out what happened to Esther once and for all. As Ben begins diving into Esther’s disappearance with a little civilian sleuthing, what he finds out may shock everyone, including himself.
I don’t really know with my expectations going into The Grave Digger’s Boy were, but whatever they were this book completely exceeded them! It was fast-paced, interesting, and the end was fantastic and surprising – I never saw it coming! Ben was an interesting POV to read from, and we are in it when he is eleven when Esther goes missing, then again when he is 32 in a job he doesn’t like and he’s basically a loner. Helping figure out what happened to Esther gives him a purpose and he becomes very obsessed with figuring out what happened to her after the little sister gets in touch. His obsession was fascinating, and let’s face it, a bit weird.
While I did like reading from Ben’s POV I’m still not entirely what I thought about him as a character (likable vs not). Even though I can’t decide how I feel about him, that didn’t affect how I felt about the book overall, and he wasn’t particularly UNlikable, just weird. But hey, he would probably get along great with the My Favorite Murder ladies!
The chapters were all pretty short, and even the ones that weren’t read super-fast. I tore through this book in one sitting, and highly recommend it for those of you that love a quick mystery read!
Song/s the book brought to mind: Creep in a T-Shirt by Portugal. The Man
Final Thoughts: I don’t think I can recommend The Grave Digger’s Boy enough. For some reason it just really struck a chord with me and I loved it. Surprise endings that I can’t figure out are always my favorite and this book does not disappoint! I can’t even tell it’s a debut you guys, so everyone read it!
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫 / 5
Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an advance review copy of this book, all opinions are my own.
About the author
Ray Newman grew up in Devon and Somerset, and lives in Bristol, where he works as a writer and editor in trade publishing.
His first novel, The Grave Digger’s Boy, is a psychological crime novel set in the West Country.
Ray studied English at Cambridge, specialising in American literature and crime fiction, and worked in central government communications after graduating.
Under the name ‘Ray Bailey’ he has co-authored two multi-award-winning non-fiction books, on beer and pubs respectively.
He has also written articles on architecture, history and culture for Fortean Times, the Modernist and the Bristol Magazine, among other publications.
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