What Will Burn by James Oswald

Today it’s back to Mandie who continues her Inspector McLean catch up with a review of What Will Burn by James Oswald. We both love this series, and I shared my thoughts back around the original publication date. You can find them right here. In the meantime, here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 18 February 2021
Publisher: Wildfire

About the Book

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

The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned-out game-keepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh. Clearly no accidental fire, Detective Inspector Tony McLean suspects that neither is this simply a grim arson attack. There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings might suggest, and something ritualistic to her horrific murder.

Nor will it be the only case of death by fire that Tony and his team will be faced with. This is only the beginning, and with such evil clouding the air, Tony begins to wonder what else will burn . . .

Mandie’s Thoughts

I will have to start this review by saying that I can’t believe that I have got to book 11 already I am enjoying the series catch up so much.

What Will Burn start with a the brutal attack and murder of an old woman living in a secluded house. With no clues and no apparent motive this may turn out to be one of Tony McLean’s most challenging cases to date. 

Tony is thrown into the case after his return to duty following a suspension he was given for not following procedure on his last case. Demoted back down to DI he is back doing what he loves the most, investigating crimes without all the politics higher ranks have to deal with, well he would as long as his new boss lets him. The powers that be think they have punished him yet really they have done him a favour. 

As they investigate every possible lead the team are challenged as they also have to deal with some public disturbances against Tommy Fielding, lawyer and leader of Dad’s Army, a group founded to fight for the rights of fathers, however their stance is that women are the enemy. When members of his “workshops” are found dead in apparent accidents they are sure this is all linked to the death of the old woman and to Tommy himself but they just cant work out how or why. 

Whilst the subjects that are brought up during the investigation may challenge some readers it is the ever-present supernatural element that brought a bit of a smile to myself as it just linked with my childhood and brought back some funnier memories. 

With Anna away working Tony did not have to deal with his personal life but Emma was definitely on his mind, and he genuinely wants her to be happy and get back what they had. It was also clear that he misses working with Grumpy Bob now that he is retired and working in the Cold Case Unit. At least he can still bounce off him if needed. It was good to see Madame Rose back and also see that even in her line of work there are some people that even she does not always see eye to eye with, there was also a nod to James Oswald’s Con Fairchild series that fans will understand. 

As much as I miss some of the characters from the earlier books it is also nice to see Tony forging new working relationships with some strong and independent officers as the team evolves and brings in fresh perspectives even if they don’t always understand what they are dealing with. 

I am still holding out hope that Tony and Emma will work everything out and find the common ground they shared….oh and maybe he should invest in a Tank…. Not the best for driving around Edinburgh but it may be safer, and it may last longer than his cars do.

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. BURY THEM DEEP is the tenth book in the Inspector Mclean Series. James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

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