On the remote coast of Suffolk an amateur diver uncovers an unusual artefact while exploring the lost town of Dunwich, now submerged a mile from shore. Within hours his boat is robbed and the burglar is found mutilated on the beach, in a way reminiscent of a Viking ritual killing. Can the CRYPT agents decipher the clues and figure out what might have been disturbed on the seabed before more lives are lost?
In this, their fourth adventure, the CRYPT team find themselves assigned to a particularly bloody case out on the Suffolk coast, when a badly mutilated body is found on a beach. I won't go in to too many details regarding the state of this body - just pop 'blood eagle' into Wikipedia and you'll get a good idea. You will also quickly realise that this story involves vikings (or dead ones at least).
Whilst Jud and Bex go ghost hunting in Suffolk, Luc and Grace are sent to Denmark to investigate a ghostly sighting, as a favour for CRYPT boss Jason Goode. Little do they know that their case may be linked to that being investigated by their friends back in Sussex, and that they may just be putting themselves in greater danger than they would have faced back in the UK.
This is the fourth book by Andrew Hammond in what I have found to be his hugely enjoyable and frequently gruesome CRYPT series, and I think it is possibly my favourite in the series so far. The main and secondary characters are now fully established and so Andrew can really let rip with the action and ghost hunting. Long time readers of The Book Zone will already know that I am not particularly squeamish, and I love a bit of gore in my YA horror, and I certainly wasn't disappointed here. Those readers who have a weaker stomach than I for such stuff should beware (but teens will love it!).
The various relationships continue to develop in this book, and my one gripe is that at times I just wanted to give Jud a slap and tell him to man up and let Bex know how he feels about her (and vice versa actually). I found these parts of the story a little irritating, as they seem to appear far too commonly in books for teens, and just once in a while it would be great to see a pair get together without a ridiculous amount of awkwardness or petty jealousies. As such, it was nice to see Luc and Grace given more page space on their own, and to see their partnership developing even more.
In previous books Andrew Hammond has shown that he isn't afraid to shock, and I've always had the feeling that no character (other than Jud) is safe in his writerly hands, and these suspicions have been proved correct in this book. Of that, I will say no more, as no one likes a spoiler! However, this book really does go a long way in moving the overall story arc along, with a number of revelations coming to the surface regarding Jud, Jason, Bonati and the work that is going on behind the scenes at CRYPT.
As ever, this is an action packed and occasionally violent and bloody ghost hunting story from Andrew Hammond, and I can't wait to see how he continues to develop the story in the next book (as yet untitled), especially given the rather shocking way he brings Blood Eagle Tortures to a close. I do wonder whether I should be giving this particular book in the series such a good review though, given that in this story Andrew Hammond has written a particularly slimy and odious character and given him the same surname as mine?
My thanks go to the lovely people at Headline for sending me a copy to read.