Captive on the Fens by Joy Ellis

33970054A young woman’s body is found in a remote barn on the Fens. Before she was killed, one of her fingers had been cut off. Who is inflicting this violence and why? And can DI Nikki Galena stop them before anyone else suffers?

The young woman in the barn had been kept captive for some time. And the case shows strong similarities to an unsolved murder in Derbyshire. When another woman is found alive with similar injuries the case grows even more complicated.

At the same time, the Fenland police have received intelligence that the ruthless criminal Freddy Carver plans to make Greenborough the hub for his new enterprise. DI Nikki Galena is desperate to track down Freddie Carver and make sure that he does not put down roots in the Fens, but finding him is not easy. And what’s his connection to the kidnapped girls?

And who is the woman being held captive in a remote location? DI Nikki Galena must rally her team of detectives, while facing a traitor on the inside, in this captivating mystery which will have you gripped as Nikki races against time to save more than one victim, including someone she care deeply about

Detective Nikki Galena is back for the sixth book set in the Lincolnshire Fens, a place of beauty but also danger – at least in Joy Ellis’ world, where roads lead nowhere but the back of beyond and at night, even headlights aren’t enough to stop you getting completely lost or falling in a ditch.  I have to say it’s not the fens I saw when I visited but I was only there a day or so. Now, I’m not sure sure I would go back. Unless of course I was in trouble and needed Nikki’s help.

Here, she and her team are on the hunt for a serial kidnapper, a man who takes young women, traps and tortures them; a kidnapper who seems linked to a local gangster (Carver) no police officer has ever been able to pin anything on – even though they know he is guilty of murder and worse. Nikki is convinced if they can catch the kidnapper, they can catch Carver, and sets her team on the trail of both. It’s a trail that leads them into the Fens and into neighbouring Derbyshire where more young women are turning up dead.

By heading into Derbyshire, Ellis was able to introduce a new character, Ben, who I hope we’ll be seeing more of, and give space to Cat, a member of Nikki’s team. I really liked that she did this, having Nikki not be centre stage the whole time and letting other characters come to the fore. Because there were different voices in Cat and Ben, it also changed the tone and the pacing of the book as it alternated between their investigation and Nikki’s. Neither of these were bad things and made the book feel different than previous reads and kept it fresh (something not always easy in series). Woven through is the voice of a kidnapped girl, one in pain, scared and possibly with not long to live – adding to the tension.

This is the third Nikki Galena novel I’ve read and one of the things that keep bringing me back is the tension Ellis brings to her stories, making you turn the pages. Another is that each has had a twist that turns the story on it’s head and makes you look at it afresh. They lull you into a false sense of security, making you think you are reading one story then realising you’ve been reading another. It’s taken me a while to catch on each time and, even though I should be prepared for it now, I still got caught out here.

I won’t say more than that for fear of spoilers, other than this is a well written, well plotted and well paced book with a strong and interesting female lead surrounded by characters I like in their own right.  I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend it.




Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Joffe Books
Publication Date: 23rd January, 2017
Pages: 317
Format: ebook (Kindle)
Genre: crime fiction

Note: I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review. All thoughts, feelings and opinions are my own


  1. […] Captive on the Fens by Joy Ellis, where I got to spend time with one of my favourite detectives, Nikki Galena.  This is her fifth outing (and the third book I’ve read) and it was a good one as Nikki is on the trail of a serial kidnapper.  What I especially liked was getting to know her team as well, people who are often side-lined in this genre for the main detective. […]


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