Bestselling crime author LJ Ross has sold more than 1.5m books worldwide in the last three years – and now the Queen of the Kindle is back with her seventh DCI Ryan mystery.
Dark Skies will be published in both e-edition and print on December 10, having already hit the top of the Amazon UK book chart before it was officially available.
Within hours of being released on pre-order on Hallowe’en, the gritty whodunit had shot straight to number one – where it stayed for the next 11 days.
It means all seven DCI Ryan books are currently sitting in the UK Amazon Top 100 bestseller chart.
And if past form is anything to go by, Northumberland-based Dark Skies can expect to be catapulted straight back to number one in time for Christmas.
Both LJ Ross’ debut DCI Ryan novel, Holy Island, and her fictional detective’s last print outing, Cragside, reached number one in record time, while the other four books in the series were all top five successes on publication.
LJ – real name Louise – said: “I can’t thank my readers enough for their devotion to DCI Ryan. It’s always a nervous time when you publish a new book, and I never take anything for granted.
“But DCI Ryan’s fans across the world have been wonderfully supportive since he stepped out on his first murderous literary outing in Holy Island in January 2015.
“I didn’t know what to expect, but Holy Island went on to knock Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train off the Amazon top spot. It was a surreal moment and I had to pinch myself.
“I am still relatively new to the literary world, but DCI Ryan has really won over the hearts of readers in what is a comparatively short time.
“I am immensely grateful that they love him and the North East landscape I have chosen to write about, and hope they continue to enjoy both as much as I have enjoyed writing about them.”
Dark Skies – which is based around Kielder Water and Forest Park – sees the brooding detective tackling probably his grimmest case to date.
One fateful night, three friends embark on a secret camping trip, but only two return home. Thirty years later, the body of a teenage boy rises from the depths of England’s biggest reservoir and threatens to expose a killer who has lain dormant – until now.
DCI Ryan faces danger from all sides. In the depths of Kielder Forest a murderer who has escaped justice will do anything to protect the secrets of the past. Meanwhile, an old foe has taken over as DCI Ryan’s boss, and is determined to destroy the charismatic detective.
A book to fire up both the imagination and the grey matter, it promises to be an invigorating read over the festive period.
Louise said: “Dark and gritty, it’s the ideal book to curl up with in front of the fire when the tinsel and turkey gets too much in the hiatus between Boxing Day and New Year. And Kielder’s bleakly beautiful and eerie setting only adds to the chilling atmosphere, making Dark Skies the perfect crime stocking thriller.”
Louise, who was born and raised near Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is a proud North Eastener and has deliberately set all her DCI Ryan Novels in the region she loves and knows well.
Her other DCI Ryan books include Sycamore Gap set on Hadrian’s Wall; Heavenfield, based around Hexham; Angel, which uses the cityscape of Gateshead and Newcastle as its backdrop; High Force, named after one of the UK’s most majestic waterfalls in Teesdale, County Durham; and Cragside, inspired by the former country retreat near Rothbury, Northumberland, of the Victorian Tyneside industrialist and inventor, Lord Armstrong.
Louise said: “Dark Skies takes its name from Kielder’s international gold standard dark sky status. I hope the book will throw the spotlight on what a magical and unique place Kielder is. I love North East England, and I want my readers to as well.”
The author, who has just moved back to Northumberland with her family, is already working on her next DCI Ryan book, which is set for a spring publication.
She was offered a traditional publishing deal, but decided to take charge of her own career and go down the self-publishing route instead.