- Series: The Belltree Trilogy (Book 2)
- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Minotaur Books (November 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1250113202
- ISBN-13: 978-1250113207
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,973,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ash Island: A Belltree Mystery (The Belltree Trilogy) Hardcover – November 1, 2016
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Praise for CRUCIFIXION CREEK:
“Well written with an elaborate plot, this fast-paced novel explores some aspects of the racial divide in Australia.” ―Library Journal (starred)
“Nail-biting…Complex, interesting characters will keep readers engaged.” ―Publishers Weekly
“A wild ride seasoned with murder, corruption, and other outrages… Though you’ll wonder early and often how Harry can possibly survive for any sequels, you’ll hope again and again to be proved wrong.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
About the Author
BARRY MAITLAND is the award-winning author of Crucifixion Creek, the first novel featuring DS Harry Belltree, as well the acclaimed novels featuring DCI David Brock and DI Kathy Kolla. Born in Scotland and raised in London, Maitland lives in Australia.
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Detective Sergeant Harry Belltree is a lone wolf Homicide cop and he is definitely not a team player! Murder and mayhem follow Harry like a shadow. The events at Crucifixion Creek make a Harry a liability and he is posted to Newcastle. He is made less than welcome and along with pregnant Jenny, they settle in to a quieter life.
But a quiet life is not to be, after a body turns up on Ash Island, off the coast of Newcastle. Harry suspects that more than one body resides there! And Harry is still conducting his private investigations into the deaths of his parents. It's not long before the problems of Crucifixion Creek have followed them to Newcastle. In addition, Kelly Pool has been digging into her kidnapping and leads her to Newcastle also.
Ash Island is a fast paced and exciting thriller with many twists and the unexpected turns. Maitland's characters are complex and numerous and reveal the many sided facets of the Australian lifestyle. The final chapter’s shock development will have readers eager for the third book of the trilogy. Aussie crime fiction at its best.
“Ash Island” is the second novel in the Harry Belltree Trilogy. The first novel in the series, “Crucifixion Creek”, introduced us to Detective Harry Belltree of the Sydney, Australia, Homicide Department of the NSW Police Force. We quickly learnt that Harry is ex- Army Special Forces and the sort of policeman who walks on the edge of the law, even crossing it from time to time in order to solve murders and bring criminals to justice. Before we turn many pages we find Harry up to his neck in murders, bikie gangs, drugs, and greedy property developers in the western suburbs of Sydney. Add to this the fact that Harry’s wife, Jenny, is blind due to a car crash that killed Harry’s parents, and Harry is convinced the crash was a deliberate act by criminals.
In this second novel, “Ash Island”, Harry & Jenny have been relocated to Newcastle, NSW, where bodies are discovered on Ash Island. Before you can turn the page Harry is once again involved with crimes of murder, drugs, violence, and suspected criminal activity in coal mining, claims of Aboriginal land rights and links to his father’s murder, as he was an Aboriginal Judge.
Kelly Pool, a journalist who helped Harry in “Crucifixion Creek” also plays a major role in this novel, as does Harry’s blind wife, Jenny, who is an expert computer hacker, despite her blindness.
I suggest you only read this novel after reading “Crucifixion Creek”, otherwise you won’t make a lot of sense about the plot as there are so many links back to the events of the first novel. Likewise, when you reach the startling conclusions of “Ash Island”, I guarantee you (like me) will be hanging out for the third novel in the series, “Slaughter Park”, because until we have read that one, we ain’t gonna get much sleep!
Considerably more action orientated, Belltree is also very different from Maitland's other police characters (Brock and Kolla) in that to call him morally ambiguous is possibly understating the case. He's also well out of his comfort zone having been transferred to Newcastle after final events in the earlier novel very nearly killed him. If you've read CRUCIFIXION CREEK already you'll know that this covered a lot of things to do with development, corruption, drugs and bikie gangs, touching briefly on the car crash that killed Belltree's parents and blinded his wife. ASH ISLAND however, builds on that aspect considerably whilst also getting stuck into mining, politicians, land rights and, as always, a hefty dose of corruption and nasty goings on.
Having said "if you've read CRUCIFIXION CREEK" it is almost mandatory that you do read these two novels in sequence. There's a lot of back story to Belltree, his parents, wife and supporting characters, such as journalist Kelly Pool, that you're just going to have to know to make any sense of what's happening in ASH ISLAND, despite some reiteration of background and details.
There's no fudging the fact that whilst CRUCIFIXION CREEK was a great series commencement, there are aspects of ASH ISLAND that are less successful. Whilst there is advancement of an underlying conspiracy with new plot elements introduced, as well as that backwards concentration on the fatal car accident, there is overall less tension here. Obviously because this is part two of the trilogy you can't expect that everything is going to be resolved in ASH ISLAND, but that's not the overwhelming problem. Rather there's a slight sense of wandering, less direction somehow with some hefty personal leaps and bounds that just felt silly contributing overall to a somewhat anti-climactic feeling.
That's not to say that the third book in the series won't be high on the reading list when it comes out, as there's absolutely no doubt that whatever is going to happen to Belltree, he's not going to go down without a bloody good fight.