Review: Under a Silent Moon by Elizabeth Haynes


Title: Under a Silent Moon {DCI Louisa Smith #1}

Author: Elizabeth Haynes

Published: Little Brown UK May 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from May 09 to 11, 2014 — I own a copy

My Thoughts:

Elizabeth Haynes draws on her experience as a police analyst in Under A Silent Moon, the first book in a new series to feature Detective Chief Inspector Louisa ‘Lou’ Smith.

Lou’s first case as Detective Chief Inspector involves the brutal murder of Polly Leuchars, an attractive and popular horse groomer, beaten to death in her own home. As her team begins their investigation, they are alerted to a second death in which a woman known to their victim is suspected to have committed suicide by driving into a quarry. It seems likely the two cases are connected but exactly how and why is for ‘Op Nettle’ to determine, and the answer is not as simple as it may first appear.

To balance the professional aspects of the investigation Haynes allows us glimpses into the private lives of the investigating police officers. This includes the budding romance between Louisa and police intelligence analyst, Jason Mercer and DI Andy Hamilton’s careless womanising that compromise both the case and his life.

The story is organised in chronological order, covering the six days of the investigation. The emphasis is on the investigative procedures of the police task force, named ‘Op Nettle’, as they interview witnesses, cross check facts, execute search warrants, and collate relevant evidence in their remit to solve the case. The novel also includes partial transcripts of text messages, witness statements, press releases and similar documents which add authentic detail to the story.

I mostly found the details of the investigation interesting, though also, I have to admit, sometimes dry and repetitive. There is tension inherent in the plot, after all the police are chasing a killer, but it’s more subdued than I expected, and I thought the pace lagged at times.

While I think there is still room for improvement as the series develops, particularly in terms of pacing and creating suspense, I do like the overall concept. I’ll be interested in seeing how Haynes builds on this introduction in the next installment.

Under a Silent Moon is available to purchase from

Little Brown UK I Amazon UK I Book Depository Amazon US

Amazon AU I Hachette AU I via Booko

Also by Elizabeth Haynes


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. herschelian
    May 12, 2014 @ 20:39:37

    Co-incidently I just finished reading this on my Kindle – I had read one previous book (Into the Darkest Corner) by Elizabeth Haynes and enjoyed it but this one though it started promisingly left me feeling unsatisfied. On the whole I am a fan of police procedural crime fiction, and I think Haynes will improve on this start to what is evidently going to be a series featuring DCI Lou Smith, at least I hope so!



  2. Rebecca Bradley
    May 12, 2014 @ 20:51:59

    I’ve only read Into The Darkest Corner and loved it and as a fan of police procedurals I’d be interested in this, and as you say, there will be room for it to grow as the series progresses.



  3. cleopatralovesbooks
    May 13, 2014 @ 15:20:22

    I enjoyed this book, looking at crime from the analyst’s viewpoint made it sufficiently different from a crowded genre. Great review!



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