Death at Rainbow Cottage is the fourth instalment in the DCI Satterthwaite series and when I was given the opportunity to review the book, I had not read the previous three-meaning it works as a stand alone novel in a way, as anything that has occurred previously with regards to character backgrounds is recapped throughout the novel. When I began to read it, I did contact author Jo Allen to ask if I would need to read the previous books beforehand in order to give a well thought review, but she assured me that I wouldn’t and I can confidently say that there was no struggle to keep up with character plots in anyway and it was a pleasure read!
So what is Death at Rainbow Cottage about? Well obviously a murder, but it also runs a little deeper than that.
In this book, we meet the main character Jude (DCI Satterthwaite-what a name! I struggle to spell it and usually have no issues with spellings or pronunciation!) whose got a discreet office relationship with fellow officer Ashleigh, which isn’t really an issue until the bee boss shows up and happens to be an ex lover of Ashleigh’s who has a bit of a grudge for reasons of her own. There are other pivotal relationships among the staff which do come in to play during the book-but I don’t want to give too much away!
The investigation begins when a man is found after a brutal and bloody stabbing by the poor, long OCD-suffering Natalie, and not too long after a second body is found by Natalie’s tolerance and diversity workshop-running husband, Claud. witness to Claus’s no gruesome discovery is a well known doctor (who is the husband of the lead CSI on Jude’s original case, and the father of a police officer who is dating one of Jude’s colleagues-not as complicated as it sounds I promise! I really just don’t want to give too much away!). And then follows a discovery of a third body while someone is in custody. This is the part that picked up so much speed my head was spinning! I honestly believed I had the case solved by this point!
We then have a fourth murder, swiftly followed with an uncomfortable chat which sees Ashleigh trying to clear the air with her new boss/ex lover which is topped with an attempted murder. Pretty hectic but so very good!
Once the perpetrator is in custody after questioning, we see Jude attend a family party. He’s several hours late and has a minor indiscretion with an ex followed by a pretty shaky run-in with her new man. Which has minor consequences of its own. And this is where the book ends. Ready for the follow up.
I actually LOVED this book! I loved all the characters and their own stories. And I loved how easy it was for me to get in to the flow of the story line-it’s not often you can be late in to a series and pick up the pace almost immediately, which is a credit to Jo and her writing skills and well thought out plot.
Finally, I really liked the killer too! Oddly enough, this person actually was relatable in a way and so vulnerable that I found myself feeling really sorry for them and actually wanting to protect them from what they had done-once I had gotten over the shock of who it was that is!
Allen has broached the subjects of mental health and sexuality in a well researched and gentle manner and has clearly used an open mind within her writing and creations of characters. I highly praise this. I really want to read book number five (and also books one through three too!) but I hope that we get to learn a little about what happens to the perpetrator at some point in the future.
About the Author
Jo Allen lives in the Lake District, which is where she has based the DCI Satterthwaite series, and began writing under the name of Jennifer Young and publishing short stories in the romance and romance suspense genres after a career in economic consultancy. 2017 saw Allen taking the plunge in to crime thriller, her personal favourite genre, and really enjoys football (being a ticket holder for Wolverhampton Wonderers) and likes cats and her Instagram feed features squirrels, cats, alpacas and nature (woman after my own heart!).