A FEW NICE THINGS:
The writing. Goodness, but there was some beautiful writing in here! Some of the descriptions were so extraordinarily apt, and the conversation between characters (especially side-characters who were being interviewed) was well done indeed. There was a real sense of character conveyed by the dialogue.
The mystery unfolds very well, the pacing even and enjoyable. It had that deep-set, community feel that you get from watching Misdsummer Murders and its ilk—in fact, the one thing I kept thinking as I read JANUARY KILLING was how very similar it was to watching one of the village-type police procedurals. And I mean that in the best sense. It was an excellent sample of its genre.
LOVED learning about things like the Wassail! It was woven in beautifully, like Ball’s constant burr of ‘zor’ instead of ‘sir’. It added a lovely layer of worldbuilding and place setting that I found very satisfying. It also gave a great sense of the community.
The cover. I know it’s unfashionable and frowned upon to judge a book by its cover, but this cover is truly fantastic. I love it! It has exactly the right mood for this book.
A FEW PROBLEMS:
Too hard to tell which POV was being used, because there were so many of them. Standard for this genre, but it was made harder by the fact that their thought ‘voices’ all sounded exactly the same. The same rhythms, the same patterns, even the same habit of addressing themselves by their own names in their ruminations. I understand that this was probably to help with the confusion, but it didn’t. And sometimes the POV seemed to change several times in a single paragraph. VERY hard to keep up with.
Content warning for swearing and some blasphemy (ie, using Christ as a swear word). If you’re not a Christian this most likely won’t bother you. And it's only a few times.
The female characters. Hm. They all seem to be very fragile. Seriously, every woman who comes into contact with anything nasty seems to need to be sedated. Just a little niggle, but it DID niggle at me.
**OVERALL: Very well-written book with a few flaws that won’t be flaws to everyone. Buy this if you love Broadchurch, Midsummer Murders, Endeavour, etc. You’re not going to be disappointed**