Famous Last Words by John Carson

Famous Last Words by John Carson
Publisher: Vellum
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

He caught him once before. Can he do it again?

With Harry McNeil’s life changed forever, he is thrust back into work when a serial killer dies in prison. Harry helped bring him to justice, but even in death, the man has something to say.

A message is found at the man’s post mortem. A message for Harry.

It isn’t over.

An informant in prison claims that the killer bragged about more victims, but none were ever found. Until now.

But these victims aren’t from the past. They’re from the present.

Just because the mentor is dead, doesn’t mean his spirit doesn’t live on…

And Harry is on the hunt for the protégé who is determined to keep the legacy going…

Meantime, DI Max Hold is having a quiet time since transferring back to his home town in Fife, from the London Met.

Until he gets a call to assist at a unique crime scene – Prince Albert’s cairn in the Cairngorm National Park. The body of a young woman has been found at the pyramid, and although the crime scene is being overseen by Grampian Division, Hold is being sent by Fife.

Out of his jurisdiction, some of the other officers think he’s out of his league.

But dealing with some of London’s finest low life for fifteen years, he doesn’t give in easily. And along with a DS who’s on temporary assignment, he faces a tough challenge. But soon this becomes one of the toughest cases of his career. And nothing London threw at him will prepare him for the outcome of this case…

After a seismic shift in his personal life, DCI Harry McNeil is determined to keep things as normal as possible, not just for himself but equally so his one year old infant daughter, Grace. DI Max Hold is having a bit of a break after transferring to his home town in Fife from the London Met, until a case that hits close to home has him called into action and directly into danger.

After a massive twist at the very end of the previous book in this series (Never Go Home) I was very pleased and relieved that this book picks up directly where the previous one left off. While there is a huge change in the works, I feel many readers will appreciate that it needed some time and care to get everything back on track. So I really felt this was an exceptional time for the author to introduce another main character in DI Max Hold – and hopefully this new character will continue either in his own series or possibly as an excellent counterpart for DCI Harry McNeil.

I wasn’t too surprised when Harry and Max’s two cases began to dovetail together – but it really helped me see how well the two detectives could work in parallel together. I’d love to see more of these two in action in future books. And while the cast in the Harry McNeil series is already really full and somewhat crowded, I feel there’s always room for more characters, particularly ones as layered and interesting as I found Max to be.

I also wouldn’t be opposed if Harry starts to take less of the main stage – even if it is “his” series – and some of the other characters, or perhaps Max, take a more active role in the books. I’m interested in where the author might take this series next and am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.

I am also cautiously optimistic where Harry is heading in his private life. While I am glad he’s not jumping into anything too quickly, I feel a lot more comfortable with this pathway than I have for the last few books with his relationship with the psychologist Morgan. I am a lot happier with how this new plotline is moving and am quietly hoping it all goes smoothly and well.

I found this to be a really strong Scottish police procedural book and an excellent addition to the series.

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