review by Maryom
Life hasn't been going well for Ruth Galloway - her mother died not long ago, and, while everyone around her seems to be embarking on a life of 'happily ever after', her on/off lover Harry Nelson has gone back to his wife. So when Angelo Morrelli, an old acquaintance, asks her to check out some curious finds at his archaeological dig in Italy, and make it a bit of a holiday, she's all too willing to go. In the hilltop village of Castello degli Angeli she finds remains dating back to Roman times but a mystery surrounding events of Italy's more recent past.
Meanwhile, back in Norfolk, DCI Nelson is facing a more pressing danger - the possibility that a newly released offender is out to take revenge.
The Dark Angel is the tenth book featuring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway, and this time Ruth is taken away from her beloved Norfolk salt marshes to the heat of Italy. I've always loved the descriptions of Norfolk with its seemingly limitless vistas stretching away to the horizon but that's an area I know fairly well and wondered how much I was adding in my own memories of the area. This time, the setting is totally unknown to me but the heat, the narrow streets, village square with cafes and church, and distant views of vineyards were totally brought to life. It isn't all picturesque scenery and holiday fun for Ruth, though. There are threatening messages left at the house she's staying in, Morrelli claims to have received death threats, and the land itself seems unwelcoming, shaking the village with an earthquake!
Ruth's sometimes lover, and father of her daughter Kate, DCI Harry Nelson again plays a large part in the story. He's finding himself torn between his desire to be with Ruth, and the obligations he feels towards his pregnant wife, even if there's sneaking suspicion at the back of his mind that he might not be the child's father.
I haven't read all ten books, and those I've read haven't been in chronological order (!), but I love this series - particularly its blend of personal story and crime. This book is no exception, though there might be a slight more emphasis on the personal side of Ruth's life this time, as she and Nelson try to resolve their feelings for each other. The characters as always are well drawn and believable, even the minor supporting ones, and when the villain is unveiled, there's a satisfying feeling that, if we'd read the hints properly, the reader should have guessed who it was.
And, of course, though each story is complete, the crime solved, and the villain brought to justice, the ongoing Ruth/Nelson relationship continues drawing you into the nest book, and the next...
Maryom's review - 5 stars
Publisher - Quercus
Genre - adult crime