Jane Doe Mystery Series, Book 1: Flowers From The Grave by Wendy Laing (Mystery: Paranormal)

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Bitten by Books (http://bittenbybooks.com/?p=123)
Rating: 4 Tombstones

Flowers From the Grave is the first book in a series featuring Melbourne Homicide Detective, Inspector Jane Doe. After being injured during the course of an investigation of a serial rapist/killer, Jane takes a month off to recover and rents a cottage on the coast about three and a half hours outside of Melbourne. Her landlord, Beryl Greenough, just happens to be the wife of a former supervisor of Jane’s. Having left the Melbourne police, he is now on the force in Port Campbell, a small village near Jane’s rental cottage. Jane is also using her stay to figure out if she wants to marry her boyfriend Oliver, who proposed the day before she left.

During her stay, she meets Ryan O’Byrne who, as it turns out, is a ghost. So far, only Jane and Beryl are able to see and talk to him. Ryan’s wife Nellie had been raped, murdered and thrown off a cliff near Jane’s cottage. Even though he is a ghost, Ryan is unable to communicate with Nellie and believes it’s because her killer was never found. Ryan tries to convince Jane to investigate his wife’s murder, but as it happened forty years ago and Jane is out of her jurisdiction, she doesn’t think there’s much she can do. That is until another body shows up on the same beach with the same injuries. Jane’s police instinct takes over and, with Ryan’s help, she works with the local police. They determine that the two murders are connected and set out to find the killer.

While I did like this book, I was able to peg the killer early on. When that happens, no matter how much I liked the book, it’s a bit of a let down for me when I get to the end. Other than that though, this was well written with wonderful descriptions. I’ve reviewed something else by Wendy Laing and she definitely has a talent for painting pictures in your mind with her descriptive writing. The characters were easy to like and I hope to see them again in this series.
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Tanya King, Stiletto Magazine, No 28 Winter 2007, Sisters in Crime Australia Inc. page 50.
(print book version)

Wendy Laing's police detective, Jane Doe, is tracking a Melbourne serial killer, when he badly injures her and escapes, mouthing misogynistic obscenities.

Reluctantly agreeing to take time off to recover, Jane removes herself to a remote beach cottage along the Great Ocean Road; and area she's avoided since her parents died there years earlier. She's also escaping her personal life, giving herself time to reflect on her relationship with boyfriend, Oliver Tarrant, who has proposed. She's given him the evasive, 'I need time to think'.

At first the secluded cottage neat Apollo Bay appears perfect – comfortable and thoughtfully stocked with everything she could need. It's also far enough away from the well-meaning but talkative landlady, Beryl Greenough, wife of Stan, with whom Jane used to work many years ago.

Walking the beach early one morning, she meets Ryan O'Byrne, someone for whom she feels an immediate affinity. Ryan's wife, Nelly, was murdered on the lonely stretch of beach where h walks. In their first meeting, despite seeming so real, he confesses to being a ghost, having suicided after his wife's murder.

Ryan is grateful to fine someone with whom he can share his walks, and Jane finds it easy to talk to him – about the police force, and about Oliver. Bus is Ryan as good-natured and innocent as he seems?

When another broken and battered body turns up in the same place as Ryan's murdered wife five years ago, it all seems horribly familiar. Can a ghost wreak such damage? Is Jane the next victim?

Flowers From The Grave is an e-books, or print on Demand. The book is ordered through the e-publisher's website, and within a week a copy arrives. Wendy's books are therefore available worldwide.

This novel has a wonderful sense of location, along the beautiful Great Ocean Road, but Wendy's prose reminds the reader of the region's dangerous side as well. An interesting read.
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Geoffrey Burrows
i purchased 2 audio books from you and would like to say thank you
very much they are excellent listening to as i am a truck driver and i have enjoyed them greatly again thank you
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