Death in the Woods - B.A. Steadman - Book Cover
Detective, Mystery & Thriller

Death in the Woods – Bernie Steadman

In this exciting and thrilling detective novel, we get to know and follow Detective Dan Hellier, who came down to Exeter from the London Met to start anew but soon he finds himself in over his head…


A West County Crime Mystery #1

A body has been dumped: that of  16-year-old schoolgirl Carly who is beautiful still in her looks and, as we soon will find out, also by voice, but from now on she is very dead. When the young girls’ lifeless remains are found by kids from the nearby St. Andrew’s Academy, the wheels of the police investigation are set in motion. Excitingly enough, this is the first time for Detective Hellier as the head of investigations, for it is clear from the start that this is murder most foul. He will be accompanied by DCI Gould, for whom this is going to be his last case before retirement.


Hellier is struggling to assert his authority within the police force as well as the investigation because it proves difficult to get a grip on Carly’s life and the people involved. She lived with her bully of a father and her sister Jenna, their mother left when Carly was eleven. What is going on and how was the relationship between Carly and her sister Jenna? More important, was Carly that beloved as they first assumed, or did she have a darker side? Jamie May claims he was Carly’s boyfriend, but again not everything is as it seems. It seems that Carly was on her way to become a famous singer, she recorded her songs at Jed Abrams Illusion Recording Studio. When Hellier and DCI Gould – call me Ian – visit the studio, they have a bad feeling, something fishy is going on. Hellier is eager to show Ian that he is able to handle the case while at the same time making sure that DCI Gould is able to retire successfully, to “bow out in a blaze of glory”.

Why does Gould have to be so irritating and annoying to Hellier? It takes a lot of teeth gritting to work together with this relic of the past. That is why Hellier, against his better judgment, decides to go along with Gould’s audacious plan to break in at the Illusion Studios and find out what is really happening there. What follows is one disaster after another, revealing more horrifying and gruesome crimes than Hellier could have ever imagined. He is determined to get to the bottom of it, but is this case becoming too much for him? How will his colleagues trust him, unable as he is to get his life together, both as a policeman as well as in his private life as he is still recovering from his nasty breakup in London? Set aside these personal predicaments, Hellier knows that the whole of the Exeter police force is watching him, the new man, closely. How will he hold himself and will they challenge him as the one in charge, the leading officer?

My Thoughts

B.A. (Bernie) Steadman’s book is a great and intriguing detective story, easy to read and with enough speed to keep you hooked on the story. The detective novel has a thrilling plot with twists around every corner. Each chapter in the book starts with the date and time, as well as place. That chronological order and the placing of each action is convenient and enhances the reader’s close connection to the book as well as to its characters. Furthermore, the author introduces us to the Exeter police department and the roles of those, who will be part of Hellier’s team as well as in this first book as (most probably) in the next books of the series. DI Dan Hellier is someone you can relate to and can sympathise with, that makes it a terrific character and promises exciting more reads to come in this series.

The West County Crime Mystery Series:
#1 Death in the Woods
#2 Death on Dartmoormy review
#3 Death on the Coast – coming soon!

About the Author

BA Steadman Author Image

Bernie Steadman taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry until a few years ago when she took to writing full-time.  She completed her debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays. This was the first in the West Country Mysteries series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. There are now three in the series, Death on Dartmoor and Death on the Coast completing the series.

Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon and her novels are set in and around the ancient Roman city of Exeter, which has seen its fair share of murder and mayhem over the centuries. The books explore the beauty of the area but demonstrate that even in the most charming of settings, terrible events may occur.

When not glued to the laptop, Bernie is a keen yoga fan and enjoys walking and cycling in the Devon countryside with her husband. They share their home with two large, black cats which came from the animal sanctuary where she is a volunteer and trustee.

Book Info

‘Death in the Woods is available from Amazon

Paperback 266 pages
Publisher Bloodhound Books (13 Jun. 2018))
ISBN 978-1912604357
eBook 946 KB
ASIN B07DDM48RW (18 Jun. 2018)

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