Life Extinct by John Carson

Life Extinct by John Carson
Publisher: Vellum
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Doctor Angela Monroe is found dead at the foot of Salisbury Crags on Arthur’s Seat. An avid runner, it first appears that she fell to her death.

Until the pathologist deems it murder.

It’s the night of the summer solstice and people have been celebrating on the famous dormant volcano.

DCI Sean Bracken and his team are called in to lead the investigation.

Monroe was a well-respected professor, lecturing at a local university, who had no known enemies and was a private person who kept to herself.

Was this a random attack? As they dig deeper into her background, nothing makes sense. But somebody wanted her dead, and when the killer strikes again, it takes the team into a whole new direction.

Meantime, Bracken’s girlfriend is being stalked…by a dead man. Logic says it can’t be him, but who would want to harm her? She enlists the help of Bracken, who knows all too well that dead men don’t stalk…

DCI Sean Bracken is enjoying where he’s at with his life. His work and family relationships are all fairly stable and happy, his growing relationship with his girlfriend Chaz is moving steadily but well and he’s even comfortable still staying in the guest house with a retired detective as his landlord. Only an odd death draws Sean’s idyllic summer to a close on the solstice and Chaz appears to have a stalker – a man who she met a number of years ago through her work in the mortuary – a man who is very dead.

I’ve read a number of John Carson’s books and enjoy both his DCI Harry McNeil series as well as his DCI Sean Bracken series. While I have frequently found the Bracken series to be a bit grittier and harder than the McNeil series, I still thoroughly enjoyed this story. I was very pleased that Bracken’s romantic relationship with Chaz is slowly gaining momentum and they each seem to be steadily getting more series about each other. I also enjoyed how the author spent a little more time showing us the reader more of Sean and Chaz together in their personal time and not glossing over the somewhat new relationship. This helped me see them both and understand that this isn’t some quick fling but has the potential to be long term and serious between them.

I was pleased with the balance between Sean’s work as a homicide detective and his looking into the more personal investigation of who was stalking Chaz. I enjoyed this extra layer into their private life and seeing them work together outside their professional career and I enjoyed this. I definitely feel that while readers who have been following along with this series will find a lot of satisfaction in seeing this extra layer to the characters we’ve read about for a while – this book can easily be picked up by itself and readers can thoroughly enjoy this story even if they haven’t read anything previously in this series.

A strong Scottish police procedural style of novel, this is a strong read and one I enjoyed. I thought there is a good amount of character growth and an easy and steady interaction between the main characters, but it’s also a very strong police investigation-based mystery and I feel this should appeal to a wide range of readers.

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