‘In the Cold Dark Ground’ by Stuart MacBride

The wait has been long but it was worth it. Another stunning book from Mr MacBride. It has everything you want from a Logan McRae story, twists, turns and misdirections galore along with the wit and banter that you come to expect of any story featuring our hapless hero and DCI Steel.

So Logan is still out in the sticks, still running B division, still not quite having managed to finish repairs to his house. Compared to Aberdeen CID, the pace in the boondocks is frantic (is there a bigger police crisis known to man than the vending machine running out of chocolate?). Logan and his team are busy protecting the streets of Banff and Macduff and trying to prevent the Great Bacon & Cheese robbery, while also coordinating the search for a missing local businessman, a search which turns up something very unexpected in the woods. Enter stage left Steel and her Major Investigation Team including the ever odd Rennie, and the stage is set for another entertaining tale.
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‘A Song of Shadows’ by John Connolly (@jconnollybooks)

A Song of Shadows marks, for me at least, a slight change in the Charlie Parker series. Set a short time after Parker’s near fatal encounter with the delightful Selectmen of the town of Prosperous, it sees the wounded Detective renting a relatively isolated house in the small community of Boreas, in order to be close to the rehabilitation centre that is aiding his recovery, as well as avoiding the eventual return to the home in Scarborough where he nearly breathed his last. His presence in town causes a minor stir, something that would only be natural given the chaos which has been known to trail him like a bad smell. This tale is no different, with a body washing up on shore close to his home, a mysteriously guarded woman and her daughter who move in next door and the seemingly random investigation into the murder of a family and the disappearance of their teenage son. Tied in with all of this is an ongoing hunt for Nazi war criminals in a community of largely German descent, all of which tels you that you are in for one hell of a tale, the familiar elements of otherworldliness taking it beyond your normal thriller novel.
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‘Silent Scream’ by Angela Marsons (@WriteAngie) – Introducing the Midlands toughest Detective, DI Kim Stone

Silent Scream is a story of secrets that some thought long buried, and the consequences of years if deceit in covering up a murder. When an application to dig the grounds of an long abandoned childrens home is granted, the truth is about to be revealed to the whole world. A face from the past returns, and the five people who kept the secret are being targeted one by one, not to ensure that they maintain their silence, but for the most basic and common motive of all – revenge.

The first victim is found drowned in her own bathtub, the second almost beheaded in his own kitchen. As the link is drawn between the two and the site of the dig, the hunt is on to find a killer before they can claim more victims.
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‘Evil Games’ by Angela Marsons (@WriteAngie) – Has Kim met her match?

The second outing for DI Kim Stone and her team and bostin’ one it was too. In Evil Games, Kim is pitted against Socipathic Alex, a woman who believes to have found in Kim a kind of ultimate toy for her game of manipulation and perhaps the only person she feels a worthy adversary.

This is a departure from the first story, in that during Silent Scream you were kept guessing until the end just who it was that was committing the murders. In Evil Games, much akin to a good episode of Columbo, you know from the outset who dunnit and why. There are difficult themes touched upon, such as the ongoing story of child abuse which runs alongside the main murder investigation, and a serious sexual assault, neither of which are dealt with in too graphic detail but are well written and give the reader just enough. With Alex working hard to distract Kim and to get to the reason behind her outwardly hostile persona, you question whether Kim will ever find the truth.
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‘Natural Causes’ by James Oswald (@SirBenfro)

I can’t recall how I came upon this series but I am mighty glad that I did. Having just been back through this novel for the second time in readiness for the new release at the end of the month, I can happily say it has lost none of the appeal it had for me on our first outing,

Natural Causes introduces the character of Detective Inspector Anthony McLean. It opens upon a rather grisly murder which sets the tone for the rest of the story. You can tell from the offset that McLean is an intelligent, diligent detective with a good intuition, who for some reason has fallen foul of his superior office DCI Duguid or Dagwood as he is less affectionately known. This sets us up nicely for an ongoing tension and conflict throughout the book, making McLean’s job just that little bit harder than it really needs to be, and giving the reader just another reason to feel a little affection for our put upon hero.
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