The Visitor by Jane R Goodall

The Visitor

23rd September 2019.  4 stars

This complex novel pits folklore, superstition and the supernatural against forensic science and police procedure to produce an intriguing story about the hunt for an elusive serial killer. DI Briony Williams starts a new job with a murder that will take her to her wits end as she’s dragged through myth, superstition and fear in search of facts that will make a case and identify the Visitor.

I enjoyed the novel as I like something different from the usual run-of-the-mill police procedurals that seem to be everywhere these days. I’ve always been fascinated by superstition and the supernatural, both in terms of wondering what might be out there, and more importantly, the affect it can have on people and the way they behave. The author certainly provides a deep insight into ancient folklore and the way beliefs can manipulate, frighten and subdue people.

The investigation pits Briony against her more hard headed colleagues and superiors, who prefer a conventional, follow the evidence approach to apprehending the killer. The trouble is, the killer always seems to be several steps ahead, killing anyone who might reveal the truth about him.

While I liked the detail on folklore and superstitions, necessary for the plot, it seemed to come at the expense of character development. There were glimpses of personal issues and relationships that could have been developed to add more depth to the characters and story. Though fascinating, the detail needed to support the story inevitably slowed the pace in places, leading to a somewhat hurried climax.

That said, I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys something different and challenging. I’m moving on to read The Calling, the third and final book in the Briony Williams series.


1974, Oxford.

Detective Briony Williams, starting a new job with the Thames Valley police in Oxford, is called to investigate the murder of a seventeen-year-old girl. Convinced that the girl’s murder is no ordinary domestic crime, Briony delves into the world of the supernatural when she finds a stone carved with an ancient cryptic message clutched in the victim’s hand.

The police need solid scientific evidence that will stand up in court, but in order to solve the case Briony must ally herself with a psychic girl and a druid leader. As Briony investigates, the danger deepens, setting her directly in the path of a killer bent on eliminating anyone getting close to the truth.

Undeterred, Briony must steer a course between the rational and the supernatural in her search for The Visitor.

The Visitor

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