4/5, Crime, Fiction, Suspense

[Book Review] Beware the Past by Joy Ellis


Beware the Past by Joy Ellis
Series: N/A
Genres: Crime, Mystery, Fiction
Publication: December 17th 2017 by Joffe Books Mystery
Length: 369 pages
Format: E-Book
Source: Purchase


SynopsisWhen Matt Ballard was starting out his career, three boys were murdered in the same area, the remote and bleak Gibbet Fen. When the main suspect was killed in a hit-and-run, the killings stopped. But Matt was not satisfied that the real murderer had been caught.

Over 25 years later, Matt gets a photo in an unmarked envelope.It’s of the Gibbet Fen crime scene. And the picture was taken before the murder took place.

More photos arrive, relating to the historic murders, as well as intimate pictures of Matt’s very secret private life.


Review: I found myself procrastinating both when reading this book and when it came to writing about it. To be honest, I struggled with rating it as well!

In a way, Beware the Past had a bit of a slow start. Due to the nature of the story, we really need to get to know the detective on the case and this takes up the majority of the book. At the beginning I didn’t think much about it, I just thought it was another one of these books – slow, average. But then something changed.


I want to say that the dark side of the story sneaks in, and once you fully comprehend the twist, it’s too late. I mean, the story is dark from the beginning – we are following a detective obsessed about the murders of three young boys. Of course, every murder is horrible, but there is something evil about murdering kids.

I had my suspicions about how this story is going to go. I have to say, they changed quite a bit. First I thought one person is the bad guy, then another. I finally guessed who is behind the crime, but I wouldn’t say that spoiled reading in any way.

Even after I knew who the bad guy is, I was not prepared to read how different things were thought out and how even a murder could be justified. What possibly shook me the most was that the reason for the whole situation was a mistake. I cannot say I was surprised, but definitely upset by how things turned out.


At the same time, there was a bright side to the ending of this book. I cannot say it was exactly a happy ending, but it’s not entirely bad.

I have to say, Beware the Past is a dark and challenging read. It is also 100% a read for adults. The plot focuses less on the crime itself than I expected, but it still carries a powerful message.

I initially rated this book 5 out of 5. Then, I decided that it’s not exactly fair, as I would like to reserve this rating for books that I am happy to reach for again, books special to me. Beware the Past is definitely a great book, but I don’t think it fully fits in this category, therefore I changed the rating.

Rating:  4  /  5

My other posts about crime books:

[Review] Paula Hawkins – Into the water

[Review] Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge

2 thoughts on “[Book Review] Beware the Past by Joy Ellis”

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