20th February 2020. 5 stars.
This has to be one of the best and most enjoyable police procedurals I’ve read for some time.
I’ve never read one of the author’s books before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect when I was offered an advance copy in exchange for an honest review. It’s the tenth book in the Tony McLean series and reads fine as a standalone, though I imagine you get a little more out of the characters if you’ve read the whole series from the start.
I enjoyed the story from the opening pages, where a member of the team goes missing at the start of a major operation, involving various agencies and countries. The author’s easy to read style moved the story along at a measured pace, allowing the characters, subplots and story to breathe and develop. I got to know the characters inside and outside the police, including the usual conflict between frontline officers and senior officers, more concerned with budgets and public relations than a missing member of staff.
The suspense built slowly, creating an overwhelming sense that something rather unpleasant was waiting for me at the climax. I was not disappointed as little by little, the story became more complex and intriguing. The mystery deepened with each step forward in the investigation until the gruesome and truth began to emerge from the Scottish mist. From here it was full steam ahead to an exciting and shocking climax that provided a satisfactory conclusion to the story with no loose ends.
This is a measured, thoughtful and intriguing story, related with great skill and confidence to ensure the perfect balance between character and plot. I have no hesitation in recommending this novel to anyone who likes realistic and elegant police procedurals that offer something a little bit different.
I’m going back to the beginning now to see how the series started.
When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.
Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is Anya Renfrew’s disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?
McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling that there is a far greater evil at work here…