Natural Causes by James Oswald

Natural Causes4.5 stars from me!

Oooh that’s so nearly 5 stars isn’t it!

Natural Causes is dark, brooding, grisly, intense, clever and immensely readable. I absolutely loved it and found myself frequently not wanting to put it down when I very much needed to (work and life do get in the way of a good book, don’t they!).

I’ve seen reviews for this where people have found the opening scene to be a bit too full on – just to say that this scene is now at the back of the book, to be read or not as the reader wishes. Needless to say I read it and it is pretty grim!

I really like Detective Inspector Tony McLean, he is a ‘proper’ detective; can’t rest until he’s absolutely got to the bottom of a case. Stuart MacBride is great too and a lot of the more central characters are strong enough to carry the role – the only relationship that didn’t work for me was the love interest but I guess that’s hard when you’ve created a stand alone, aloof, need-no-one guy.

I recently reviewed Dead Men’s Bones which is a later book in this series and I have to say I much, much preferred Natural Causes. Whether that is because the characters are more familiar to me now I’m not sure but for me this book is seriously good and I can’t wait to read the next one.

So, why did it lose that last half a star? One teensy thing that just took it all a step too far (not the money, not the fact he’s always right, not the many coincidences – I liked all of those); it was the last connection, the relative, that didn’t work for me. A bridge too far.

Small amusement… I’ve gone on to Good Reads to add my review and found this – loving the spelling of Edinburgh!

Good Reads - Edinborough

 

Synopsis: A young girl’s mutilated body is discovered in a sealed room. Her remains are carefully arranged, in what seems to have been a cruel and macabre ritual, which appears to have taken place over 60 years ago.

For newly appointed Edinburgh Detective Inspector Tony McLean this baffling cold case ought to be a low priority – but he is haunted by the young victim and her grisly death.

Meanwhile, the city is horrified by a series of bloody killings. Deaths for which there appears to be neither rhyme nor reason, and which leave Edinburgh’s police at a loss.

McLean is convinced that these deaths are somehow connected to the terrible ceremonial killing of the girl, all those years ago. It is an irrational, almost supernatural theory.

And one which will lead McLean closer to the heart of a terrifying and ancient evil…

 

Whisky From Small Glasses by D.A. Meyrick

Whisky Small Glasses4 Stars from me

I set out to deliberately read a new author and stumbled upon Whisky From Small Glasses in my quest. I am so glad that I did! D A Meyrick has created a new series based around DI Jim Daley and his hapless sidekick Brian Scott, which breathes fresh breath into the bones of the gritty Scottish crime thrillers.

I found Jim Daley to be a likeable chap, although in my mind’s eye he kept appearing as the first Barnaby from Midsummer Murders (never warmed as much to the second Barnaby although I do have a soft spot for Sykes the dog) and I now can’t picture him any other way!

The only real negative I have about the book is the promiscuous wife, it just doesn’t work for me that he would have stayed married to her and be prepared to ignore her shenanigans. I’m wondering if this goes somewhere in latter books or was simply an error of judgement that will be swept under the carpet?

Either way, Whisky From Small Glasses is a great read with a refreshingly different storyline and I greatly look forward to reading the next book The Last Witness.

I can easily see this becoming a televised series, the beautiful Scottish landscapes, wildlife and squalid tenements will make for a great backdrop to DI Jim Daley as he battles his way through to solve crimes against the odds.

I will also confess to high fiving myself when I found the line ‘large men drinking whisky from small glasses’ within the book. Go me.

 

Synopsis:  DI Jim Daley is sent from the city to investigate a murder after the body of a woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the West Coast of Scotland.

Far away from urban resources, he finds himself a stranger in a close knit community.

The investigation becomes more deadly as two more bodies are found.

Love, betrayal, fear and death stalk the small community, as Daley investigates a case that becomes more deadly than he could possibly imagine; in this compelling, beautifully written novel- infused with intrigue and dark humour.