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The Book of Souls (The Inspector McLean…

The Book of Souls (The Inspector McLean Mysteries) (original 2012; edition 2012)

by James Oswald

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1861463,528 (3.71)11
Title:The Book of Souls (The Inspector McLean Mysteries)
Authors:James Oswald
Info:DevilDog Publishing (2012), Kindle Edition, 365 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:Supernatural, police thriller

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Natural Causes by James Oswald (2012)


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Newly minted Inspector McLean is assigned a ridiculously difficult case. A girl, dead for at least fifty years, has been found walled up and ritually disemboweled in the basement of a house being renovated. Another case involves an important local man and some recent burglaries. And to top it off, McLean’s grandmother dies leaving him 5 million pounds.

It’s a moderately interesting story although some of the events, like the inheritance, seem superfluous unless intended to be relevant in future series title. Fortunately, the hint of supernatural involvement remained just that, but even the mere suggestion was a bit off-putting.

The author says in a note that the novel was fleshed out from a short-story and it does have a bloated feel sometimes. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable and I’ll continue with the series.

N.B. The publisher’s blurb is stupid. ( )
  ecw0647 | Jun 23, 2016 |
Detective Inspector Anthony "Tony" McLean is investigating the discovery of a dead girl that has been walled up in a basement of an old estate. As if that's not bad enough Tony also discovers that her internal organs have been removed and placed in six preserving jars around her. The evidence implies that it must have been at last 60 years ago that someone did this, but why? Could this murder be a sacrifice of some kind? It's up to Tony to figure it out. But, this is a cold case, the Edinburgh police have a bigger problem with the murders of prominent city elders. The problem is that the killers commit suicide right after the murder. Which is odd the first time, but then it happens again...and again...

I read The Damage Done, the latest book in the Inspector McLean series a while back and I was a bit confused over the book story. However, after the "interesting" ending did I check up the book and that confirmed my suspicion that this series has a paranormal angle to the stories. And, suddenly the story in The Damage Done made much more sense. So, when I started to read this the first book in this series was I expecting the paranormal angel.

I was impressed with the story in this book, with the weird murders and the dead girl in the basement. I especially like the mix of paranormal in this crime novel. That makes this series a bit more unusual than an ordinary crime series. The main character Tony was raised after his parent's death by his grandmother that's now in the hospital following a stroke. And, 10 years ago his fiancee Kirsty Summers was murdered. So, he hasn't had an easy life and he hasn't much of a private life. Basically, he lives for his job and that's good because he has much to do in this book. He must solve the murders, find out the truth about the girl in the basement, and stop a cat burglar that targets houses of recently deceased people.

It's a dark book, but with humorous banters the characters. I especially like the coroner Angus Cadwallader, he brightens up the book, despite his job. Angus and Tony's scenes are always fun to read, despite the fact that they often met when someone has died.

I found this book, the first in the series to be an excellent book, with an intriguing and thrilling story! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Jun 14, 2016 |
Very disappointed with this. Violates rule 2 of Ronald Knox's Ten rules of detective fiction: All supernatural or preternatural agencies are ruled out as a matter of course.
( )
  stevebishop | Apr 2, 2016 |
I can't recall how I came upon this series but I am mighty glad that I did. Having just been back through this novel for the second time in readiness for the new release at the end of the month, I can happily say it has lost none of the appeal it had for me on our first outing,

Natural Causes introduces the character of Detective Inspector Anthony McLean. It opens upon a rather grisly murder which sets the tone for the rest of the story. You can tell from the offset that McLean is an intelligent, diligent detective with a good intuition, who for some reason has fallen foul of his superior office DCI Duguid or Dagwood as he is less affectionately known. This sets us up nicely for an ongoing tension and conflict throughout the book, making McLean's job just that little bit harder than it really needs to be, and giving the reader just another reason to feel a little affection for our put upon hero.

The story itself centers around the murder of several prominent business men, with no immediately apparent link between them or the people who kill them. In amongst the ongoing investigations, McLean and his team of DS 'Grumpy Bob' Laird and DC Stuart MacBride are handed the rather dubious pleasure of investigating the 60 year old murder of a young unknown woman, discovered in a house which is being renovated. Throw in a succession of burglaries and the disappearance of another teenager and stage is set for a most challenging investigation.

What sets this story apart from your common or garden police procedural, and what gave it that edge for me is an undercurrent of the supernatural, the sense that all of the players in this game might not be quite who, or what, they appear to be. Visiting clairvoyant, Madame Rose, McLean is given a clear understanding that to solve these particular cases he will have to look beyond what can be seen by the naked eye and trust in his instincts that something far more sinister is afoot. It is also clear that McLean's past is not as he thought it to be, with the promise of a secret yet to be revealed. It is the element of the supernatural which I really enjoyed as I was brought up on Scottish Ghost stories and Steven King novels. Think some of the less conspiracy theory episodes of the X-Files and you have a flavour of what you might be facing. If you don't think this is what you are looking for, I'd say give it a whirl anyway. You may surprise yourself.

The writing is solid, the story moves along at a fast pace and the descriptions of Edinburgh and the surrounds had me reminiscing over many a summer spent drip drying in an old tent in Mortonhall. McLean is a character who is easy to like and the supporting characters lend their own colour to the story. I have to be honest and say that after reading all five of the books, and even rereading them now, I am not entirely sure I know what it is that McLean looks like. The story is largely told from his point of view and to be fair I don't know about you but as a rule I don't go around thinking about how I look to myself much either. I know how old McLean is, I know about his past and that he looks like his father but beyond that... Maybe that's part of the appeal. This way he is whoever you want him to be.

A great story and it really hooked me. If you haven't read it yet - what are you waiting for? ( )
  Spicewalker | Feb 19, 2016 |
Come thriller è molto lento e a parte gli omicidi sanguinosi non c'è suspance. Come horror non ci siamo per niente, una piccola idea peraltro già vista e rivista. ( )
  Angela.Me | Nov 9, 2015 |
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To my parents, David and Juliet. I wish you were here to share in this.
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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 Detective Inspector Tony McLean this baffling cold case ought to be a low priority, but he is haunted by the young victim.… (more)

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