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Dead Man’s Grave: DS Max Craigie, Book…
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Dead Man’s Grave: DS Max Craigie, Book 1 (edition 2021)

by Neil Lancaster (Author), Angus King (Narrator), HQ Digital (Publisher)

Series: DS Max Craigie (1)

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1031,538,276 (4.5)None
Member:Vegemite
Title:Dead Man’s Grave: DS Max Craigie, Book 1
Authors:Neil Lancaster (Author)
Other authors:Angus King (Narrator), HQ Digital (Publisher)
Info:HQ Digital (2021)
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Dead Man’s Grave by Neil Lancaster

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Scottish crime thriller with all the right twists to keep you tuned!

DS Max Craigie, of the Serious Crimes Squad, ex military and suffering from PTSD, finds himself in the middle of the bizarre death of a Scottish Crime Lord. The mode of the gangster’s death links back into the 1890’s. That beginning leads Max to uncovering corruption that spreads to the heights of the Scottish Police force. From here on in violence and death spreads out like a festering sore.
An exciting and very readable piece, complete with a couple of very interesting characters including his partner DC Janie Calder. I particularly liked his great aunt Elspeth, and his dog Nutmeg.

A HQ Harper Collins ARC via NetGalley
(Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.) ( )
  eyes.2c | Nov 14, 2021 |
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
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WHAT'S DEAD MAN'S GRAVE ABOUT?
Tam "Peeler" Hardie has been the head of one of Scotland's most powerful, most violent (you don't want to know how he got that nickname*), crime families for decades. He's looking at the end of his life and has an overwhelming desire to look into his family's roots. This quest takes Hardie to an old, small graveyard near a small Scottish town. Thanks to a feud that goes back generations, he won't leave that graveyard alive.

* Okay, you probably do in some twisted way—but I'm not going to go into it. Go buy the book.

It doesn't take long before Hardie's sons suspect something's wrong—at the very least their father is missing (maybe kidnapped?). Now, if you're the Scottish Police, the last thing you want is the Hardies to take it upon themselves to go looking for their father—they're much more likely to start a war with some other criminal organizations than they are to find him. So DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder are assigned to the search, which will hopefully placate the sons for a little while.

Some good detecting by Craigie—and some better instincts—lead to the discovery of Hardie's body—and some good fortune leads to a quick arrest. It's soon after that when Craigie starts to notice something's amiss with the investigation—it's clear that the Hardies know more than they should, investigative lines are shut down by superiors, and Craigie's aid is taken as interference, In fact, he's put on leave when he won't stop.

There's something rotten afoot, and now the question is: can Graigie (with or without the aid of Calder, a new detective that he barely knows) find out what kind of corruption is meddling with this investigation and put a stop to it without risking their careers or lives?

DS MAX GRAIGIE AND DC JANIE CALDER
In a very real sense, we've seen both of these characters before. He's the cynical experienced detective who still has a sense of right and wrong; he's not afraid to defy orders and go his own way to make sure the right people are arrested; his career has taken a toll on his health and family, but he's driven by a sense of mission that he can't shake. She's a little odd and not that popular with the rest of the detectives—but she's smart, she's eager, she's tech-savvy—and you don't want to face off against her in a physical confrontation. But somehow Lancaster takes these very familiar types and makes them feel fresh—like he's one of the first to try this combination of partners with these characteristics. Don't ask me how he did that, but he did.

Even if it didn't feel fresh—there's a reason we've seen these characters paired in this way before: it works really well. Storytellers gravitate to them, readers respond well to them. Lancaster is a great example of someone who takes these characters and uses them right.

I really liked these characters, and can't wait to see how Lancaster develops them. I predict it won't be long before most readers of the series think of Calder as their favorite character. (and very likely has started already)

SO, WHAT DID I THINK ABOUT DEAD MAN'S GRAVE?
It took me no time at all to be hooked by this novel--it starts off strong and improves from there. It was tense, well-plotted, and (mostly) well-paced. Add in Max and Janie and Dead Man's Grave becomes a real winner—one of the better Crime Novels I've read this year.

One little complaint—the book wraps up too quickly, it was just a bit too difficult to believe that they met their objectives that speedily. But, by that time, you're so into the story and characters that you're willing to go with Lancaster. And the conclusion was so satisfying that the only reason I remember this gripe is that I wrote it down.

I strongly recommend this one to you—it's the kind of book that makes me want to go and lower the stars on Lancaster's earlier books because this is so much better than what he'd done before—there's a depth, complexity, and richness to plot, character, and style that wasn't there in the Tom Novak books (don't get me wrong—I enjoyed each of them). If he's stepped up his game this much in so short a time, Lancaster's going to have a long and very satisfying career. ( )
  hcnewton | Aug 6, 2021 |
Detectives Max Craigie and Janie Calder are teamed up to investigate a missing person report. It's a delicate situation as the missing man is Tam Hardie, the now elderly but dangerous head of an organized crime network in Scotland.

Tam Hardie is off in a remote area of Scotland looking for a particular grave in what seems to be a genealogical pursuit. The grave has a headstone reading This Grave Can Never Be Opened so I was curious about that right away. There is something hidden in there or perhaps it a plague grave from centuries back.

Once Hardie disappears and the detectives are called in you get a glimpse of the seedy and violent underbelly of the Hardie empire.

This police procedural has everything going for it with likeable main characters and lots of intrigue. The desciptions of Scotland immerse you into the scene and the detective work keeps you turning the pages.

This story had me instantly hooked and I look forward to many more books in this series about DS Max Cragie and DC Janie Calder by Neil Lancaster.

Publication date July 16, 2021 by St. Martin's Press. Genre: Mystery, Thrillers and General Fiction.

Thank you to Netgalley for the advanced reader's copy of this book. I was not compensated for the review, all opinions are mine. ( )
  SquirrelHead | Jul 16, 2021 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Neil Lancasterprimary authorall editionscalculated
King, AngusNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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