Joy Ellis Books in Order

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Who is Joy Ellis?

Joy Ellis stands as a luminary in the British crime writing scene. Her career began after years in the police and criminal justice sectors, lending authenticity to her narrative. Ellis is renowned for her gripping crime novels that feature intricate plots and complex characters. Readers find themselves enmeshed in the shadowy realms of the UK’s Fenland. Her writing is characterized by a rich, descriptive style that paints a vivid picture of the setting and the emotional landscape of her characters.

Recognition for Ellis comes not just from her skillful storytelling but also from the critical acclaim and international readership she has garnered. The realism she weaves into her police procedurals resonates with enthusiasts of the genre, confirming her status as one of the top British crime writers.


Her books are a mainstay for those who revel in unraveling the darkest puzzles of detective fiction. By delving into Joy Ellis’s oeuvre, readers are assured of embarking on a journey through the murky waters of crime and justice, guided by her capable hand.

Key Takeaways:

  • Joy Ellis: A celebrated British crime writer with a background in policing, which infuses her novels with realism.
  • Writing Style: Known for complex characters and detailed descriptions, her books transport readers to the Fenlands of the UK.
  • Genre Recognition: Ellis has earned both critical acclaim and a dedicated following among crime fiction enthusiasts.
Graves on the fens

The Nikki Galena Series

Joy Ellis’s Nikki Galena series stands at the forefront of her work, capturing the devotion of crime fiction enthusiasts. The series plunges readers into the heart of the Fenland, where Detective Inspector Nikki Galena operates. A determined and resilient officer, Nikki Galena is fueled by a personal tragedy that echoes throughout the series, shaping her resolve to eradicate crime. She is often joined by her partner, DS Joseph Easter, whose own troubled past weaves into the narrative, adding layers of complexity to their partnership.


The series is praised for its robust portrayal of rural police work, tangled webs of local crime, and the deep personal stories of the series’ recurring characters. Fans are treated to a sequence of solve-the-puzzle narratives that unfold in the atmospheric backdrop of the hauntingly desolate Fens.

  • Book 1: Crime on the Fens (2010) aka Mask Wars
  • Book 2: Shadow Over the Fens (2011) aka Shadowbreaker
  • Book 3: Hunted on the Fens (2016)
  • Book 4: Killer on the Fens (2016)
  • Book 5: Stalker on the Fens (2016)
  • Book 6: Captive on the Fens (2017)
  • Book 7: Buried on the Fens (2017)
  • Book 8: Thieves on the Fens (2017)
  • Book 9: Fire on the Fens (2018)
  • Book 10: Darkness on the Fens (2019)
  • Book 11: Hidden on the Fens (2020)
  • Book 12: Secrets on the Fens (2021)
  • Book 13: Fear on the Fens (2021)
  • Book 14: Graves on the Fens (2022)

Reading the series in order allows one to follow the growth and evolution of the characters over time, witnessing their personal battles while they tackle professional challenges. Starting with “Crime on the Fens”, readers will journey through gripping cases, culminating in the latest release, “Secrets on the Fens”.


Each novel in the Nikki Galena series stands as a testament to Joy Ellis’s talent for crafting engrossing crime stories that resonate with authenticity and depth. Loyal fans and newcomers alike will find themselves drawn into Detective Galena’s world, rooting for the success of the Fenland Constabulary’s tenacious team.

Jackman and Evans Series

Delving into the Jackman and Evans series by Joy Ellis offers readers a journey into a unique setting with compelling character dynamics. Set in the shadowy fens of England, the series unwinds the complex interplay between DI Rowan Jackman and DS Marie Evans as they tackle harrowing cases. The landscape itself casts an eerie backdrop that perfectly complements the intricate plots Ellis weaves.

Fans of Joy Ellis’s work will find the series starts with The Murderer’s Son, followed by Their Lost Daughters, then The Fourth FriendThe Guilty OnesThe Stolen Boys, and the latest installment, The Patient Man. These titles give merely a hint of the dark twists awaiting the reader.

  • Book 1: Their Lost Daughters
  • Book 2: The Murderer’s Son
  • Book 3: The Fourth Friend
  • Book 4: The Guilty Ones
  • Book 5: The Stolen Boys
  • Book 6: The Patient Man
  • Book 7: They Disappeared
  • Book 8: The Night Thief
  • Book 9: Solace House

Throughout the series, Ellis skillfully develops Jackman and Evans’s partnership. Their relationship strengthens with each novel, presenting a powerful alliance that brings depth to the narrative. The recurring themes of loss, redemption, and justice resonate through their interactions, matching the intensity of the criminal mysteries they unravel. Readers invested in character progression and interwoven personal stories amidst crime-solving will find this series both satisfying and enthralling.

Detective Matt Ballard: A Standalone Saga

Among Joy Ellis’s offerings stands the Detective Matt Ballard series, which diverges into a grittier atmosphere. The narrative follows the seasoned detective as he grapples with cold cases that haunt him into retirement. Readers enter a world shaded with darker elements, where the protagonist’s past and professional challenges intertwine.

With the looming presence of unsolved crimes, tension escalates in a gripping manner that fans of the genre will appreciate. The series begins with “Beware the Past”, where an unresolved case poses new threats. This is followed by “Five Bloody Hearts” and the latest installment, “Mystery on Hidden Lane”, each novel building upon the last, revealing the depths of Ballard’s character. Delve into these titles sequentially to experience the unfolding mysteries and character profundity that Joy Ellis masterfully crafts.

Why Reading Order Matters

Fans of Joy Ellis’s books reap significant benefits from tackling the series in publication order. Character Development: Readers witness the evolution of beloved characters, their complexities unraveling book by book. Gaining insights into their histories, personalities, and relationships is a gradual process that parallels the sequence of the novels. Comprehensive character arcs help you understand their motivations and responses to the winding mysteries presented.

Plot Continuity: The narrative builds with each new book, picking up threads of previous storylines and weaving them into the current plot. Subplots and background stories develop in a linear fashion, offering clarity and enhancing the cohesiveness of the overarching narrative. Familiarity with past events ensures that all the nuances and callbacks resonate with you, avoiding confusion and reinforcing the storytelling tapestry.

New readers are encouraged to embrace the publication order of Joy Ellis’s works. This approach promises a richer experience, allowing you to grow with the characters and appreciate the full spectrum of the Fenland setting. Begin with the first book and let the interconnected stories unfold naturally, securing a more satisfying journey through the murky waters of Ellis’s crime mysteries.

Discovering Hidden Gems

For those who have relished the gripping tales within Joy Ellis’s main series, it offers rich rewards to scour for her lesser-known works. These treasures can be short stories or novellas set in the same intriguingly dark world. You find further shades of her narrative craft in these outings, shades that might go unnoticed in the larger works. They provide additional insights into the corners of the Fenlands and bring minor characters into the spotlight. You discover backstory elements that enrich the experience of the series.

The enthusiastic crime fiction reader will take pleasure in tracing the subtle connections and the nuanced character developments that these additions afford. They are like finding pieces to a puzzle you did not know were missing, completing the picture of Ellis’s fictional realm. Each one of these stories stands as a testament to Ellis’s ability to weave engaging tales no matter the length. So, delve into these hidden gems to fully embrace the spectrum of Joy Ellis’s storytelling prowess.

Embarking on the Joy Ellis Journey

Set off on an exploration through Joy Ellis’s rich tapestry of crime novels. Readers are in for a treat delving into the lives of complex characters and twisting plots that capture the essence of the Fenlands. Her books promise a world where each turn of the page brings you closer to the heart of rural Britain, intertwined with gripping mysteries waiting to be solved.

As you follow detectives Nikki Galena, Jackman, and Evans, or the intrepid Matt Ballard on their quests for justice, you will experience the meticulously crafted environments and the intense, emotion-driven storylines that Joy Ellis masterfully conjures. Engage with each story, anticipate the evolution of recurring characters, and appreciate the craft of a storyteller who knows how to keep readers guessing until the very end.

Embrace the opportunity to experience the unfolding narrative through the recommended reading order. You will see the layers of narrative complexity build with each book. Joy Ellis invites you to a journey brimming with suspense, where loyalty, honor, and the pursuit of truth stand against the shifting shadows of crime.

As you close the final pages of each novel, the satisfaction of a mystery unraveled is matched only by the anticipation for the next. Thus begins your own adventure into the suspenseful world crafted by one of the UK’s cherished crime writers. Step into Joy Ellis’s literary landscape, and let the journey captivate your imagination.

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