Bury Them Deep by James Oswald

Today I am delighted to be opening up the blog tour for Bury Them Deep, the tenth Inspector McLean novel from James Oswald which is out on Thursday. The tenth!!! Can you believe it? Ten helpings of Tony, Grumpy Bob, Madame Rose et al. Amazing.

Now it may have escaped your notice but I might have a moderate amount of interest in this series, so when Anne Cater invited me to join the tour, I thought it only right to say yes. Before we find out if I liked the book, let’s take a look at all the official gubbins:

Source: Netgalley

About the Book

The tenth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.

Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?

McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books

My Thoughts

I have been a huge fan of this series ever since I happened upon book one, Natural Causes, quite by accident whilst perusing book buying options, drawn in as I was by its Edinburgh setting. There is something so comforting about settling back with a well written tome that combines a brilliant police based investigation with something a little, how shall I put this, otherworldly. This is not your ordinary case and not your ordinary set of suspects, or even characters to be fair. I love reading these books, absolutely devour them in fact, usually within days of laying my hands on them, meaning I then have a long and torturous wait for the next one. The only bonus this time around is this – that I now have ten books I can read all over again! And again, and again, and again ...

Bury Them Deep continues in Mr Oswald’s not so conventional style with a case which is perplexing, intriguing, surprising and tense to the last page. When one of the team’s civilian colleagues disappears in the middle of a major case, it is up to McLean and co to determine if there is a simple explanation behind her disappearance or whether she is the victim of foul play. This is an Inspector McLean novel so of course the chances of an innocent explanation are slim, but does the disappearance have anything to do with the multi-agency case they are working on? Well … maybe, maybe not. Read the book and you will find out. That’s how these things work you know.

I will admit that the opening chapter to this book had me intrigued. It is a passage which seems to have no obvious links to the premise of the book, but which becomes intertwined with the main narrative very quickly and very skilfully. It appealed to the macabre story lover in me, the sense of legend which is often built into the series, and although absolutely rotten and unsettling to think about its content, it certainly caught my attention and left me with that hangover question of how and why that carried throughout the book.

Not going to lie, there are elements of the book that have left me wondering just how … varied(?) Mr Oswald’s internet search history must be as he has never shied away from exploring some of the more colourful and less mainstream pastimes of society. At least I am assuming it is just internet research or I am learning far more about one of my favourite authors than I necessarily needed to know … It takes all sorts as they say, and the missing person in this case certainly defies the image that her colleagues have of her. I can understand some of the appeal of letting go, being someone completely different when you step out of the workday clothes. I wouldn’t personally go that far but strangely it did kind of work for Anya. That split personality that leaves you wondering if she could be hiding far more than we think.

The story is full of tension and mystery and although a few of the more regular characters may be missing this time around (Madame Rose having recently temporarily defected to the author’s other series), it still bears all the hallmarks of a McLean mystery. A seemingly unconnected chain of events sees the team managing a case far bigger than anything they could have expected, the surprises coming thick and fast for both Detectives and readers alike. The book draws us back to one of McLean’s most intense and memorable early cases and so if you haven’t read some of the earlier titles, particularly Prayer for the Dead, then you may want to do so before starting this book. One of the key characters here is someone McLean knows well, but his presence and engagement with McLean will create major spoilers for that book in the very least, so be warned.

The narrative ebbs and flows, the author creating a sense of tension and pace when necessary but also highlighting the frustration of inaction when the investigation keeps hitting a brick wall. There is a constant sense of threat, and certain chapters had me on edge with the kind of quiet calm that belies the skin-crawling menace that is actually inherent. And then the ending. It wouldn’t be a McLean book without that ultimate showdown, the overwhelming jeopardy for those involved, and this book does not disappoint. You’d think by now that McLean would know better, but thankfully he has still not learned, making it a satisfyingly intense but surprising conclusion for the reader, leaving you wondering if redemption may actually be possible.

I both love and hate this book. Love it, because it is another McLean classic that had me hooked from the off, and I get a healthy enough dose of Grumpy Bob Laird (love Grumpy Bob). Hate because I have to wait to a whole year for book eleven and Grumpy Bob will have retired by then. Not that I expect he’ll be any more or less active in the cold case team with Duguid but still. Next year is so far away. (The great news is that in a recent newsletter Mr O confirmed there will indeed be a book eleven – and twelve … Whoop whoop)

Still … I can always go back to book one while I wait I suppose … 😉

About the Author

JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. AS COLD AS THE GRAVE is the ninth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

Author links: Twitter | Website

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