Dead And Buried by John Carson

Dead And Buried by John Carson
Publisher: Vellum
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Sometimes, the past is better left behind…

Detective Chief Inspector Harry McNeil had found himself back in CID after a leave of absence saw his team disbanded. Now he’s been temporarily assigned to an existing Major Investigation team, working alongside his old friend, Detective Inspector Frank Miller, after Miller’s DCI dies suddenly.

A body is found in the city centre, torn to pieces. It’s reminiscent of a cold case from years ago and the victim is quickly identified, bringing the old murder enquiry back front and centre.

There’s new management in the Edinburgh police division, and old friends have been replaced by new enemies. Not everybody wants to see Harry McNeil succeed.

But that’s not going to stop him and Frank Miller from tackling the cold case head on, with help from a couple of Glasgow detectives.

But nothing is what it seems. Starting with the death of Miller’s DCI.

Harry and the team find out that some cold cases were meant to be left alone, and that sometimes the past should be left dead and buried…

It’s been months since DCI Harry McNeil lost his wife Alex, and while he’s recovered from some time away to get over the initial shock, things haven’t settled down too much just yet. His old team has been disbanded and Harry has been temporarily assigned to an existing Major Investigations team. When one of DI Frank Miller’s CIs dies unexpectedly Frank and Harry find themselves working together to solve a new case. But they find that some old friends have been replaced by new enemies and not everyone wants to see Harry – or Frank – succeed in finding justice.

I was pleased to find this book was quite a bit longer than a number of others in this series. With the cast of well-known secondary characters growing and the world of both Harry and Frank growing larger I was glad to see the length of the story has equally grown in size. I felt quite a bit of sympathy for Harry – he’s had a pretty rough time of it in the last few months and with his team disbanded – and the loss of the emotional and working comforts that provided – added to the loss of his wife and previous professional partner there’s been some major upheavals for Harry and getting his new rhythm hasn’t been easy. In some respects, this has to have added to Harry’s burden, but I found it also cleared the slate a lot for readers who might not have read all (or many) of the previous books. Harry is starting out with a bunch of new colleagues and the crimes and criminals are all quite new – so much of the backstory and weight of the previous books in the series isn’t there and won’t be a deterrent to readers new to the series.

That said there are still plenty of friendly faces and characters the readers should know and there’s plenty of support for Harry as well. I found these new cases were well plotted and interesting enough to keep me eagerly turning the pages trying to solve what was going on before Harry and his team could. Readers who enjoy a lot of banter and wit along with their Scottish Police procedural style of crime novels should definitely find this an enjoyable and well-paced story.

A solid book with plenty of twists and turns and a stack of interesting characters (both good and bad) this is a fun and enjoyable Scottish police procedural style of mystery/suspense story and well worth a read. Recommended.

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