The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths #BookReview #Mystery #20booksofsummer21

There’s nothing Ruth Galloway hates more than amateur archaeologists, but when a group of them stumble upon Bronze Age artifacts alongside a dead body, she finds herself thrust into their midst—and into the crosshairs of a string of murders circling ever closer. Ruth is back as head of archaeology at the University of North Norfolk when a group of local metal detectorists—the so-called Night Hawks—uncovers Bronze Age artifacts on the beach, alongside a recently deceased body, just washed ashore. Not long after, the same detectorists uncover a murder-suicide—a scientist and his wife found at their farmhouse, long thought to be haunted by the Black Shuck, a humongous black dog, a harbinger of death. The further DCI Nelson probes into both cases, the more intertwined they become, and the closer they circle to David Brown, the new lecturer Ruth has recently hired, who seems always to turn up wherever Ruth goes.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Night Hawks is a folklore-inspired mystery and the thirteenth book in the Ruth Galloways mystery series by Elly Griffiths.

You would think twelve books into the series, it would be hard to understand what was going on. But though I could tell that the characters had documented histories, enough background was explained to quickly pick up this book and enjoy it without first reading the past books. Of course, now I want to read all twelve of them, but that is a happy problem.

I loved the folklore inspiration of the Black Shuck that is the backbone of the mystery.  I had never heard the tale, so it was fascinating to learn about it.  I also loved how the author used the folklore of this creature to increase the suspense at specific points in the story dramatically.  The fascinating support character, Cathbad, is full of Norfolk folklore tales such as Black Shuck and is one of the most exciting support characters in the story.

There is such a delightfully diverse group of support characters – some eccentric and some more familiar.  I could tell the series had deep roots because all the characters were so unique and well-developed that I could easily imagine them and delight at being in their company.  The main character, Ruth, is exceptionally layered with nuances and quirks that make her instantly relatable.  I can see how she can carry a series for thirteen novels.

Ruth and Nelson’s relationship is one that drew me in.  Not overly romantic, they do share a daughter, and though he stayed with his wife for many years because of their young son, I could easily discern that Ruth and Nelson still share deep feelings for each other.  I do not usually side with the “other women” in love triangles. Still, I was not far into the story before I found myself feeling Ruth’s pain that she never actually verbalizes or even reflects.

I did not even guess the murderer, though the reason is not as much of a surprise.  Did plot holes exist?  Possibly, but it did not phase me as I read because there were so many other elements to delight in that they took most of my focus.

To Read or Not to Read

If you are looking for a puzzling mystery with a fun touch of paranormal folklore, this is the story you have been hoping to read and do not be worried if you haven’t read any of its twelve predecessors as it can stand alone quite easily.  But beware, you are going to want to read them once you finish this one.

Publication Date: June 29, 2021

23 Replies to “The Night Hawks by Elly Griffiths #BookReview #Mystery #20booksofsummer21”

  1. Not only have I Not read the others.. I’ve never even heard of the author. But this sounds pretty fascinating, I love books that incorporate myths and legends, so thank you for sharing!
    Wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Stranger Diaries was the only other book I’ve read by her but I loved that, so I thought I’d give this one a try. Griffiths hasn’t disappointed me yet ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow, I just checked out ‘The Stranger Diaries’ and now I’m going to have to read it. That sounds fantastic! Definitely going to have to read her stuff, thanks so much!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. This is my second book by Griffiths and I have not been disappointed by either book. She creates such wonderful characters that hold my interest fully ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the legend of Black Shuck, which drew me to this book the first time I saw it featured on your blog. Now, having read your review, it sounds like one I definitely need to add to my TBR. I’m intrigued!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was thinking of you the whole time I was reading – it is so much up your alley. Reminded me of your books in the way she integrated in folklore. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great review Tessa. I keep saying I want to start this series, so it is good to know you read it as a standalone. I might give it a try, I do like the folklore angle.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Griffiths gives you just enough back story so you can jump right. I’ve read another book by her in a different series and it was very good too. I don’t think you can go wrong with one of her books ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elly Griffiths has been on my radar for quite some time but I still haven’t read anything by her. I will definitely try to make a plan.

    Great review and it does seem like a compelling read!

    Elza Reads

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve read two books by her now and found them both to be excellent reads. You can’t go wrong if you make time for one of her books, I don’t think. ❤️


  5. Fantastic review. I’m really intrigued now and being able to drop in part way through a series and still understand it is the sign of excellent writing. I shall be adding this author to my TBR – even if it does mean I’ll want to read all the back series too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The writing is excellent. I’ve read one other book by her in another series and it was equally well-written. I think Griffiths is one to keep in mind. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I used to follow this series and have probably read the first 7-8 books or so. But at some stage, the books started to feel a bit too same’ish (this always happens to me) so I haven’t read the later books. Glad you were able to enjoy the 13th book in the series, without having read the other 12. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve had that happen with different series too. There is only one series that I’ve been able to happily follow through almost 30 books and that’s Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve seen this author’s name, but had no idea she had such an extensive series. Archaeologists and paranormal folklore would absolutely get me to read this book – and probably the other twelve also. Absolutely a happy problem!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Griffiths is a very good writer. This is only my second book by her and the first was in a different series but both were very well done. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I didn’t realize there were so many books in the series! Cool that you can jump right in with this one though. I’m glad you enjoyed it so much, Tessa. I’ve added it. Excellent review! 😃

    Liked by 1 person

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