Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald

Today, Mandie continues her Inspector McLean catch up with a review of Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald. We both love this series and don’t hesitate to pre-order when a new title pops up. As there won’t be one for a wee while, Mandie is using her time wisely, looking back on the earlier books in the series. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 12 February 2015
Publisher: Penguin

About the Book

‘Are you ready to be reborn?’

The search for a missing journalist is called off as a body is found at the scene of a carefully staged murder.

In a sealed chamber, deep in the heart of Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious network of caves and passages sprawling beneath Edinburgh, the victim has undergone a macabre ritual of purification.

Inspector Tony McLean knew the dead man, and can’t shake off the suspicion that there is far more to this case than meets the eye. The baffling lack of forensics at the crime scene seems impossible. But it is not the only thing about this case that McLean will find beyond belief.

Teamed with the most unlikely and unwelcome of allies, he must track down a killer driven by the darkest compulsions, who will answer only to a higher power . . .

‘Are you ready for the mysteries to be revealed?’

Mandie’s Thoughts

What can I say but I am enjoying revisiting the books I have read in the Tony McLean series (I have 2 more to go and then I will be starting on the ones that are on my TBR list) Prayer for the Dead begins with the murder of Ben Stevenson a fellow reporter of Jo Dalgliesh, someone Tony does everything to avoid. He is not exactly over the moon when he finds himself working with her to find out what Stevenson had been working on at the time of his death but even he can see the benefits of her insights and maybe he can control what the public hear about too. When other bodies turn up the race is on to find out is behind the killings and are they even linked. If that wasn’t enough to keep him busy he is also dealing with developers wanting to buy his old flat and Madame Rose as a house guest when she is being harassed at her home.

Although you do still get the slight feeling of the supernatural in this book it is not as prevalent as in the ones before. Tony is still being pulled from pillar to post and not always getting the backup he needs from his superiors (at times you do feel this is self-inflicted). I liked the fact that we get to learn a little more about Tony’s childhood via small chapters throughout the book. It’s not a case of any reminiscing which is why at first they don’t really make any sense but by the end the link is clearly there.

Despite everything that is going on we also get to see the developing respect within the team as DS Ritchie and DC MacBride start to open up a little to their boss and you can see how much he values their input into investigations even if he doesn’t always let them know it. I love the snarky interactions with Jo Dalgliesh as well as you know they will never be best buddies but in this book they do seem to have a grudging respect for the others profession and determination to get to the truth.

I love the pacing of these books as they keep you on your toes trying to work out the multiple investigations and how they fit together. I do worry about the team as with the exception of Grumpy Bob who always manages to be out of harm’s way they do always seem to find their lives at risk with each investigation. Maybe they actually have more lives than Mrs McCutcheon’s cat and they can survive whatever investigations are still to come. One thing is for sure I cantwait to get stuck into the rest of this series over the coming months to find out.

About the Author

James Oswald is the Sunday Times bestselling author of the Edinburgh-based Detective Inspector McLean novels, the first two of which were shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger award for best unpublished author, as well as the epic fantasy series The Ballad of Sir Benfro. In his spare time he farms 350 acres in North East Fife, Scotland, where he raised pedigree Highland cattle.

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