ARC REVIEW: Nighthawking by Russ Thomas

Title: Nighthawking by Russ Thomas
Pages: 448
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Publication date: 29th April 2021
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones


Sheffield’s beautiful Botanical Gardens – an oasis of peace in a world filled with sorrow, confusion and pain. And then, one morning, a body is found in the Gardens. A young woman, dead from a stab wound, buried in a quiet corner. Police quickly determine that the body’s been there for months. It would have gone undiscovered for years – but someone just sneaked into the Gardens and dug it up.
Who is the victim? Who killed her and hid her body? Who unburied her? And who laid two ancient Roman coins over her eyes?
In his quest to find her murderer, DS Adam Tyler will find himself drawn into the secretive world of nighthawkers: treasure-hunters who operate under cover of darkness, seeking the lost and valuable . . . and willing to kill to keep what they find.

My review:

A massive thank you to Simon & Schuster for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Nighthawking, the second book in the Detective Sergeant Adam Tyler Series, has a detailed plot that will keep you on your toes anticipating what will happen next. It’s filled with some shocking twists and betrayals as a once close-knit group begins to fall apart.

The story begins with an unidentified nighthawker, known only as “the first nighthawker”, breaking into Sheffield Botanical Gardens to hunt for antiquities, but instead uncovering the body of a foreign student. DS Adam Tyler, DS Guy Daley and Detective Constable Mina Rabbani, who are part of the Cold Case Review Unit, are assigned the case.

There’s multiple points of view to follow in Nighthawking. Tyler and Rabbani take up the bulk of the story. Then we also have Dave Carver, who is part of a metal detectorists group and POVs from five other members of the group, which serve as diary entries. Alongside the main storyline, there are a lot of subplots to keep track of and the one I was most invested in was Tyler’s investigation into his father’s death. His father, Richard, who was also a police officer, committed suicide, but Tyler believes that he was murdered and has been building his own case to find out what really happened. Unfortunately, he does a lot of his investigating during his work hours, which means that his protégé, Rabbani, is often left in the lurch covering for his frequent absences. I thought Tyler was an intriguing character and very intelligent. When he was actually working the Gardens case, he was very efficient and attentive, but probably not the best role model since he was constantly disappearing without notice. I’m interested to see if he gets anywhere with his father’s death and if he really did commit suicide.

I loved Rabbani too, and thought she was a very fierce character. She had great character development in this book as, at the start, she seems very unsure of herself and her new role as a detective and it doesn’t help that she has to frequently cover for Tyler’s whereabouts. However, she quickly embraces her new role and soon becomes more confident and develops a no-nonsense attitude. There was quite a bit of beef between Tyler and Daley but Rabbani handled it well and soon sorted them both out. She was also quite sassy at times and made sure to speak out if she didn’t like something. I loved how she went off and did her own investigating, even if she was advised against it. She’ll definitely make a promising detective.

I’d just like to note that although you can read this as a standalone, I would recommending reading the first book because you’ll have a better understanding of the characters, especially Tyler and Rabbani and how they’ve developed since then. I think a lot of Tyler’s development happens in the first book so in order to get a feel for his character, it would probably be best to read Firewatching first. That being said, I still really enjoyed getting to know the characters and I thought the author did a great job of summarising events that happened in the first book.

I found Dave Carver’s chapters to be confusing at times mainly because of his actions. I thought he was rather disturbed and I found it hard to keep track of how he was involved in the body in the Gardens. He was constantly evading the police throughout so I was keen to see what he was hiding and if he was responsible for the student’s death or involved in some way, even if he didn’t kill her. I was interested in finding out the significance of the two ancient Roman coins and how they’d been discovered.

Russ Thomas does a great job at tying everything together at the end. Every chapter ended with me throwing another wild guess out there, but turns out none of them were correct. I was definitely left surprised when the killer’s identity was revealed and I thought it was a great ending. However, the final chapter was jaw-dropping and such a massive twist to leave the story on. It was definitely a dramatic ending and will leave you wanting more.

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