Book Review: The Santa Killer by Ross Greenwood

I am so pleased to be welcoming Ross Greenwood back to Novel Kicks. He’s here with the blog tour for his novel, The Santa Killer.

The Santa Killer is coming to town…

One night less than two weeks before Christmas, a single mother is violently assaulted. It’s a brutal crime at the time of year when there should be goodwill to all. When DI Barton begins his investigation, he’s surprised to find the victim is a woman with nothing to hide and no reason for anyone to hurt her.

A few days later, the mother of the woman attacked rings the police station. Her granddaughter has drawn a shocking picture. It seems she was looking out of the window when her mother was attacked. And when her grandmother asks the young girl who the person with the weapon is, she whispers two words.

Bad Santa.

The rumours start spreading, and none of the city’s women feel safe – which one of them will be next?

He’s got a list. It’s quite precise. It won’t matter even if you’re nice.


A woman is violently attacked two weeks before Christmas. When DI Barton and his team begin to investigate, there seems to be no motive for the attack.

The daughter of the victim produces a drawing whilst whispering two words ‘Bad Santa.’

Can they find the Santa Killer before he attacks the next person on his list?

I have become such a fan of the DI Barton series that I couldn’t wait to get started on the latest book, The Santa Killer.

As with previous novels, it didn’t take long for me to be completely enthralled in this story. Ross has a great skill in getting you completely invested in the plot quickly and before you know it, it’s the early hours of the morning and you realise you’ve read the whole book in one session.

I love DI Barton. He is one of my favourite fictional detectives. In a lot of ways, he is uncomplicated. He’s simply a family man who is struggling with the commitment to his job whilst balancing family life, something a lot of us can relate to. He also has a great, strong team around him and there isn’t one of them I don’t like.

This story, like the others in the series builds well and the tension and suspense is strong. I couldn’t figure out what was going on and who was responsible and this had me guessing all the way through. Twists and turns aplenty. I needed to know how everything fitted together.

The juxtaposition between the crimes being committed and it being set at Christmas sets a really intense, gritty atmosphere. Aside from the murder investigation, this book highlights some serious concerns around the cost of living and the horrible conditions many families are facing as well as issues surrounding mental health – Glenn especially.

I am not going to say anything else as I really don’t want to give away any spoilers. What I will say is, if any one who commissions TV shows happens to be reading, this series would make an excellent adaptation. Just saying!

The Santa Killer is a well plotted, compelling crime novel and perfect if you’re looking for a new crime series or to fill the Line of Duty void. As I understand it, this could be Barton’s last outing. Although I am looking forward to the next novel from Ross Greenwood, I hope it’s not the last we see of John Barton.


About Ross Greenwood:

Ross Greenwood is the author of crime thrillers.

Before becoming a full-time writer he was most recently a prison officer and so worked everyday with murderers, rapists and thieves for four years.

He lives in Peterborough.

Say hello to Ross via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Bookbub. Click here to sign up to his newsletter. 

The Santa Killer was released by Boldwood Books on 12th September 2022. Click to buy on Amazon UK and Waterstones


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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