It’s been a long while since I started reading the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald. Almost as long since I introduced Mandie to the series too. Probably some six years since she read the first book, Natural Causes, but as she had some catching up to do in terms of more recent titles, she decided to start back at book one and read them all from first to last (or latest …) If you want to know my thoughts, and bear in mind it’s one of my earliest reviews from the blog so less rambling than most of late, you can find my thoughts here. Follow on to learn more about the book and what Mandie thinks.
About the Book
Edinburgh is horrified by a series of bloody killings.
Deaths for which there appears to be neither rhyme nor reason, and which leave the city’s police stumped.
DI Tony McLean is focused on the investigation, but his attention is drawn by a chilling cold case:
A young girl, ritualistically murdered.
Her remains hidden for sixty years.
It seems impossible that there could be any connection between the cases, but McLean starts to wonder . . .
Because if it’s true, they might be facing an evil beyond anything they ever imagined.
I was first introduced to this series back in 2016 by my sister and was immediately hooked, reading the first 3 books within a week. Somehow life and my slow reading took over and I have found myself a little behind so have taken the opportunity to start back at the beginning as a refresh with the plan of finally catching up with Tony McLean and co.
The book begins with a rather disturbing murder that certainly has the police baffled as to its reasoning. Initially not on the case McLean is left to investigate a cold case when the mutilated and mummified body of a young girl is found in a bricked-up room in an abandoned house that is being redeveloped. As more murders take place he is convinced that everything is connected despite the thoughts of his senior officer, a person who he does not get on with. If this is not enough for him to be dealing with he also has to try to come to terms with the death of his grandmother, the person who had raised him following the death of his parents.
McLean is an educated officer who is determined to do a good job even if it does mean going against the orders of his superiors and getting on the wrong side of them. Despite his rank he is well aware of the contributions that his team make and encourages them to think for themselves and take initiative ensuring their loyalty to him. Despite him clearly being a good officer, it is when you see the off-duty side of him that you can truly understand what has made him who he is.
It is true that there are several investigations taking place throughout the book it is in no way confusing as the point to them all becomes clear the further into the story you get. With a hint of the supernatural it gives the reader a slightly different angle on the usual police procedural. At no time did it appear far-fetched and fanciful as it was dealt with in a calm and believable way and after all who is to say that demons don’t exist, many believe they do and have often used it as a defence for the crimes they commit.
Natural Causes is a great start to the series and an introduction to the characters that will draw you in the more you read about them. As for me I am looking forward to re acquainting myself with the books I have already read and discovering the ones that are still on my TBR pile.
About the Author
James Oswald is the author of the Inspector McLean series of crime novels. The first seven, Natural Causes, The Book of Souls, The Hangman’s Song, Dead Men’s Bones, Prayer for the Dead, The Damage Done and Written in Bones are available as Penguin paperbacks and ebooks. He has also written an epic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro, which is published by Penguin, as well as comic scripts and short stories.
In his spare time he runs a 350-acre livestock farm in north-east Fife, where he raises pedigree Highland Cattle