Down Among The Dead by Damien Boyd


Down Among The Dead by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Somerset’s bloody past meets a dangerous present in this thriller from the bestselling DI Nick Dixon crime series.

When a badly decomposed body is discovered during an archaeological dig on the Sedgemoor battlefield, Avon and Somerset police are notified immediately. The remains are recent, and Detective Chief Inspector Peter Lewis knows exactly who they have found.

A single stab wound from a curved blade implicates convicted serial killer Daniel Parker, who Lewis arrested fifteen years ago.

With Parker’s appeal hearing imminent, Lewis comes under intense pressure to pin this new murder on him quickly and quietly. It’s an open and shut case—and Lewis should know—so why then does he insist on assigning it to DI Nick Dixon?

As Dixon starts to re-examine the original investigation, shocking revelations come in from the forensics team. And just as Dixon’s worst fears begin to surface, another body is found…

Fifteen years ago, DCI Lewis was just an underling who happened to be in the right place at the right time for a major arrest – that of a notorious serial killer. Only, in his gut, Lewis never felt the conviction was right and he hasn’t enjoyed an easy sleep since what he felt might be the wrong man was imprisoned. Now, as a new body is discovered on the very cusp of this prisoner having his appeal heard, there is only one man Lewis can trust to do the investigation right and not bow to any pressure – no matter how high up it comes from.

This is an interesting and enjoyable British police procedural murder mystery. There is a tiny bit of archeology and historical re-enactment that I thoroughly enjoyed, and I thought added well to the plot. I also was glad the author did an excellent job of laying out the groundwork for a few moving parts of the plot including both the victims and police working both in the past and present. I felt this was a well plotted story and it absolutely kept my attention right from the beginning.

I was also pretty relieved that a number of the more regular members of DI Nick Dixon’s team were back in play. The last few books Dixon has been working with a few other divisions and officers and while his regular team has always remained in the background, I was pleased to see the team come back together and I greatly enjoyed the familiarity and smooth way they all meshed back together and worked as a team. I strongly feel this added to the appeal I had for this story. I also was pleased Dixon’s fiancé – and her half-sister – added to the storyline. I was pleased the author seemed to be returning Dixon back to his roots a bit more.

Readers looking for a heavily action base plot or something really fast paced won’t find that here. I definitely felt the investigation moved at a decent clip, but this was solidly a police procedural and smaller town type of murder mystery – no massive car chases or helicopters or movie style of shenanigans here. This was a well written and very well plotted British police mystery and exactly what I was hoping for.

A good story in a great series I definitely enjoy.

Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton


Run, Rose, Run by James Patterson and Dolly Parton
Publisher: Little Brown and Co
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

From America’s most beloved superstar and #1 New York Times bestselling author James Patterson comes a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise—and on the run—and determined to do whatever it takes to survive.

Every song tells a story.

She’s a star on the rise, singing about the hard life behind her.

She’s also on the run. Find a future, lose a past.

Nashville is where she’s come to claim her destiny. It’s also where the darkness she’s fled might find her. And destroy her.

Run, Rose, Run is a novel glittering with danger and desire—a story that only America’s #1 beloved entertainer and its #1 bestselling author could have created.

Dolly Parton’s written a book? With James Patterson? Sold.

I picked up this book because it was highly recommended. I can honestly say I’ve never read anything else by James Patterson and I was a bit skeptical going into this one. I wanted to like it because Dolly Parton is well…Dolly Parton. The writing is decent. It moved along rather well and kept my interest, but the chapters are very short, so it has no choice but to go quickly.

I liked Ruthanna and could see Dolly Parton all over that character. I could hear her in the character’s voice and mannerisms, so that was great. I liked the interplay between AnnieLee and Ethan, too. They made a good couple.

That said, I wasn’t a fan of AnnieLee. Her trajectory is rather…it took a lot to suspend my disbelief. It’s like she never does manage a wrong step with her career. She has talent, that’s not to be argued, but she gets a lot of breaks a lot of others wouldn’t get.

I had a hard time with the suspense portion of the book, too. At times, it was too vague and at others, seemed like it didn’t fit. Maybe it was just me, but it felt like two books put together and cobbled into one. There seemed to be a lot of repetition in the book, too.

That said, there’s a sweet romance between AnnieLee and Ethan. I liked that. And there’s a CD of music that goes along with the book that’s Parton’s music, which is fantastic.

If you’re looking for a mystery and a romance that’s got a touch of country, then this might be the one for you.

Penshaw by LJ Ross


Penshaw by LJ Ross
Publisher: Dark Skies Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

When you sell your soul, the devil gives no refunds…

When an old man is burned alive in a sleepy ex-mining village, Detective Chief Inspector Ryan is called in to investigate. He soon discovers that, beneath the facade of a close-knit community, the burn from decades-old betrayal still smoulders. When everyone had a motive, can he unravel the secrets of the past before the killer strikes again?

Meanwhile, back at Northumbria CID, trouble is brewing with rumours of a mole in Ryan’s department. With everyone under suspicion, can he count on anybody but himself?

Murder and mystery are peppered with romance and humour in this fast-paced crime whodunnit set amidst the spectacular Northumbrian landscape.

When an old man is burned alive in his small, village home DCI Ryan first things it should be a fairly simple case. Only he quickly discovers there is plenty of decades-old tension simmering just under the surface and a number of old grudges and betrayals that have never really been put to rest. Also, with a number of the police divisions merging together – lines are blurring, and DCI Ryan’s team are no longer exactly who is trustworthy and who might have sinister other agendas.

I found this to be an interesting and decently plotted police procedural type of mystery story. There is a bit of romance in the sidelines between some of the main characters – two sets of very well-established couples and Jack and Mel are trying to sort out will they or won’t they take that plunge. I found the two main mystery plots to be very well written and solid additions to the story but found myself a bit disappointed with the whole Jack/Mel situation. Without giving too much away I found them both to act a bit immaturely – with Mel throwing a number of Jack’s previous mistakes in his face during an argument and Jack knowing he was in a bit over his head and refusing to reach out to Frank or Ryan to even get their advice – let alone ask for help. While each problem is excusable, it really felt to me like they were both showing how immature and not sensible they were being, particularly considering the fact they’ve each been in similar situations before and clearly not learned anything from it. It soured me a little on them both which was a shame.

That said I thought the arson investigation was a solidly written plot and I enjoyed the way the author linked the small mining town back to the past and really captured the feeling of both the residents in a small village like that and the way wounds can fester over time. I also thought the tensions and inter-office conflict with a number of the various police forces coming together and needing to work together as a unit was exceptionally well handled. With so many different groups – all having worked in their own divisions and teams for so long – and so many different dynamics and ego’s all being crammed together and suddenly needing to share and co-exist the drama and issues really felt well-handled and realistic. It added a lot of conflict and drama to the interactions and story without feeling as if plot devices were being dragged around the regular team and dynamics and things being added just to create tension. I thought it was a good idea and will be interested to see how it unfolds in the next few books.

This is a good story with two solid plots. While I feel it could be picked up without the reader having read any of the previous books, I don’t feel this is a good book to try that with. Personally, I’d read at least a few of the previous installments as many of the characters, history and teamwork that so strongly ties them together would need some explanation prior to this story. Having at least some idea on how the team works together and a general grasp of their history together is fairly important to fully enjoy this story I feel. But it’s a great British mystery and police procedural style of plot and well worth the investment.

The Devil’s Lover by Alexa Piper


The Devil’s Lover by Alexa Piper
Publisher: Changeling Press
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, LGBTQ, Erotic Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Nymphaea

Lionel and Lucifer are drawn deeper into a murder case, but they are set on solving it together.

Just when Lionel’s love life has gone back to normal — normal meaning the kinky Devil making his ownership known — Lionel’s murder case gets stranger. Lionel’s birth father seems to have his hands in the mystery, and Lionel finds himself in the sights of Eris, goddess of discord.

Lucifer used to be a prime example of a powerful underworld deity with all the knowledge and skill to take care of a lover in the bedroom. But that was before Lucifer fell properly in love and won over his necromantic boyfriend, who also happens to be a demigod. Lionel’s innate magic, magical skill, and stubborn nature make it exceedingly difficult for Lucifer to be the alpha god he wants to be for Lionel.

Lucifer is set on finding a way to provide for the man he loves and to fulfill Lionel’s every desire. But before he can focus entirely on his necromancer, the two of them must solve the case, prevent primordial deities from being raised and destroying the world, and learn to communicate better. It’s what relationships and crime solving are all about.

The devil and a necromancer meet…they fall in love and solve mysteries. What a series.

I did like the show Lucifer, but I rather wondered what it would’ve been like had the lead character been gay. Now, through this series, I get to find out how it would play out. I do like it a lot.

Lucifer and Lionel make a good pair. They’re kind to each other, considerate and complement each other well. Their love story is cute, too. It’s also pretty hot. Can’t knock that.

This is a mystery and I liked that I wasn’t able to figure out the mystery right away. That kept me in my seat needing to know what would happen next. It felt like there were a few loose ends in this book, but it’s also part of a series and I haven’t read all of the others yet. I wasn’t lost, but there did seem to be a bit that wasn’t rectified at the end.

Still, it’s a hot book and great for an afternoon that’s chilly. If you’re looking for a book featuring the devil and a necromancer, filled with love and sweetness, plus a mystery, then this might be the one for you.

Fool Me Twice by JM Dalgliesh


Fool Me Twice by JM Dalgliesh
Publisher: Hamilton Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Fern

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool Me Twice, shame on me…

When the body of a high-profile, semi-retired barrister is found brutally murdered at his Norfolk home, DI Tom Janssen and the team must work to uncover who killed him and why.

With a glittering career, spanning several decades representing the privileged and the wealthy, behind him the focus of the investigation inevitably turns toward cases and clients past and present, but was his death linked to his work or is there another, darker and far more sinister motive at play?

No matter how successful, privileged or elevated in society one person can be, one universal rule applies… we all bleed the same…

Set within the mysterious beauty of coastal Norfolk, this fast-paced British detective novel is a dark murder mystery that will keep you guessing until the very end when the final shocking twist is revealed.

DI Tom Janssen is called out to work a particularly brutal beating and murder of a little-known local barrister. With such a long career behind him and so few strong ties in the community it takes a while for Tom and his team to piece together what might have happened. But when another murder happens things become murkier, and the team can’t even be sure the two cases are linked until things finally begin to unwind.

I’ve been enjoying this series and while this book was a little slower in pace than I usually enjoy I have to admit I like that there was ample time spent with the various characters and allowing them to grow and flourish a little. This is not heavily action-based plot so readers looking for something fast paced or really thrilling might not find this satisfies them. That said I thought the plot was quite well thought out and well linked. I only put a few pieces of the puzzle together before it all started to unfurl in the last quarter of the book and while there were bits I did guess there was still plenty that caught me pleasantly by surprise.

I was especially pleased that Tom’s partner, Alice, and Alice’s young daughter played a strong – but not overwhelming – part in the story and I’m pleased they are both becoming more prominent in the series. I’m also keen to learn a bit more about Eric and his wife and young son – I feel there’s still plenty of growth and exploration that can happen with his character too.

Readers looking for a small-town type of coastal, British based mystery series should find this book really fits the bill. While it’s a little slow in paces the mystery moves well and is plot-heavy which I really enjoyed and even though this is well into the series I feel it can definitely be read as a standalone as the plot is quite independent and not linked to previous books. The team has a strong history, but they are all very well explained in my opinion, and I feel readers picking this up without having read any prior books should still thoroughly enjoy this story.

The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths


The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Quercus Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Ruth Galloway uncovers the bones of what might be a notorious Victorian child murderess and a baby snatcher known as “The Childminder” threatens modern-day Norfolk in this irresistible mystery from Elly Griffiths.

The service of the Outcast Dead is held annually in Norwich, commemorating the bodies in the paupers’ graves. This year’s proceedings hold special interest for forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway, who has just unearthed the notorious Mother Hook, hanged in 1867 at Norwich Castle for killing multiple children. Now Ruth is reluctantly starring in a TV special, working alongside the alluring historian Dr. Frank Barker. Nearby, DCI Harry Nelson is investigating the case of three children found dead in their home when another child is abducted. A kidnapper dubbed the Childminder claims responsibility, but is the Childminder behind the deaths too? The team races to find out—and after a child close to everyone involved disappears, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

During a dig, forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway unearths a Victorian body which she strongly suspects is that of Jemima Green, a woman hung for the murder of five children. DCI Harry Neilson is investigating the recent death of a woman who lost her infant son – the third of her children who has died. During the investigation Ruth is drawn in and once again back to Harry.

I really enjoy the way this author and series merges together the history and archaeology of the British setting but meshes it so skillfully with the modern time and present day. While the two main plotlines are very well kept and fully explored during this book, I can’t help but feel the characters’ lives and interactions will be much better appreciated and have a stronger emotional link if the reader has followed along with at least a few of the previous book. While I do think a reader can pick up this story alone and thoroughly enjoy it a number of the links and threads binding the various characters will have a much deeper connection with some of that history known to the reader.

I was pleased that while the two cases – the historical story of Mother Hook/Jemima Green and the modern case – had a number of similarities and clearly played off each other, the two cases didn’t “just happen” to link up or connect. Sometimes I feel an author might try too hard to have everything dovetail in even if it’s not particularly realistic – I was really pleased that this time while there were obvious similarities they weren’t forced or merged, they were just showing how even though times change – people and circumstances don’t necessarily change much at all. I really enjoyed this.

I was very pleased with the progress and growth of a few characters and while I can see there might be some adjustment and settling needed in the future, I was very pleased with how the longer-term arc of the story between the characters is moving in this book. I feel many readers will be pleased with the movements made here.

A delightful book that blends history, archaeology and modern times very well and with what I feel is exceptional skill, this is a great mystery book.

Beyond The Point by Damien Boyd


Beyond The Point by Damien Boyd
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 3 stars
Reviewed by Fern

DI Nick Dixon is on the hunt for a vicious serial killer, following a trail of fingerprints and DNA across west Somerset.

When the body of a young woman is found on the building site of a nuclear power station, work grinds to a halt. The body bears all the hallmarks of yet another random murder at the hands of the escaped killer. Then Dixon finds a motive.

Fighting for his place on the Major Investigation Team, he soon uncovers a family’s desperate search for the truth, exposing a web of corruption and death that will shake the billion pound construction project to its very foundations. But who can be trusted when so much money is at stake?

Can Dixon find the killer under intense pressure from the top of government? And can he do it before anyone else has to die?

With a dangerous criminal on the loose there’s no rest for DI Nick Dixon. Despite knowing exactly who they are after, Dixon and his team have had very little success in tracing him this last month. Until the bodies start being uncovered and Dixon finally catches the scent – and he knows his quarry isn’t so far away after all.

I’ve been enjoying this series and while I don’t feel this is one of the author’s strongest books it is a very solid and enjoyable read. The plot is extremely straight forward and while the killer is the same nemesis as the previous book in this series, the author explains everything very well – without those annoying, massive info-dumps – and I feel readers who haven’t read any of the previous installments can still be clear on the plot and enjoy the book.

I do feel that readers looking for a heavily action-based story or something with a deep mystery might not be as pleased with this story as others. The killer is known from the very beginning – though readers wanting a more “who dun it” style of book might start with Dead Lock, the previous book where they do the more traditional mystery solving. But this is more of a police procedural manhunt style of story.

I was impressed though that a lot of the conflict came from within the police force and team themselves – things like the power and political plays between the media and the bureaucracy and the more internal police issues. That was quite a bit of the conflict and tension found in this type of story. I also really appreciated how about halfway in the manhunt started to link around another aspect of the mystery and there was still a puzzle to solve and more traditional mystery case to solve. So that was a really enjoyable aspect to the story as well.

I was pleased both Nick and Jane had a good amount of time together – both working and personal – in this story and I am very happy with how both of their character arcs are coming along. Readers looking for lots of bombs and chase and action might not find this story fits their needs. For a realistic and character driven story with plenty of police procedure and enough questions and tension to push the plot along this was a good story and one I enjoyed.

Ryan’s Temptation by Amber Daulton


Ryan’s Temptation by Amber Daulton
Arresting Onyx Book 2.5
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

Wrong place, wrong time. Now she’s running for her life.

Beautician Chanel Leroc can wield a pair of scissors like nobody’s business. After she witnesses a murder and lands on a serial killer’s hit list, she has to figure out how to protect herself—and fast. The killer tracks her down, but her sexy new neighbor, Dr. Ryan Naylor, drives the brute off.

The police dump the pair in a witness protection program, which doesn’t last long. Either the killer has a connection to the police, or he’s far more intelligent than they realize. All Chanel wants to do is get back to her safe life and get to know her neighbor better. Instead, she and Ryan hit the road and try to survive on their own.

How will they stay alive and keep their blooming romance intact with the killer hot on their trail?

I read the synopsis for Ryan’s Temptation and, no pun intended, I was tempted to read this book. LOL

If the synopsis didn’t arouse my attention, then the first sentence of the story surely did. “The piercing cry froze the blood in Chanel Leroc’s veins”.

Chanel is the heroine of the story. I am undecided if she’s brave or lacks common sense. Let’s think about it for a minute. Chanel hears a cry for help, and she asks herself, “What kind of person would that make me if I abandon someone who might be hurt?” I’d say that would make her a smart person. Chanel is a beauty beautician with no weapon. But does that stop her? Her choices wouldn’t be my choices, but it sure set up the suspense. What Chanel thinks next and what happens right after is the perfect setup for the story and plot. Chanel even meets her new neighbor in an unconventional way.

Needless to say, it didn’t matter to me at that point if Chanel was brave or stupid. Ryan is the new neighbor that Chanel couldn’t stop thinking about. Chanel can’t resist men with a cleft in their chin, or dimples. It’s remarkable that her new neighbor, Ryan Naylor, the hero in the story, has both. He is simply breathtaking.

If you like to watch the tv show “Criminal Minds” as I do, then this story might delight you as it did me. Ryan’s Temptation would make an entertaining episode for any of those crime solving police shows on tv. The plot is predictable as they come but I still rapidly turned the pages to solve the mystery. The romance was electrifying as much as the suspense was riveting. I couldn’t get to the end fast enough. Once I finished the book, I felt quite satisfied.

The story was well written as I read to find out “How will Chanel and Ryan stay alive and keep their blooming romance intact with the killer hot on their trail?”. This story is book 2.5 in a series but can be read as a standalone. If you are in the mood to raise your blood pressure either by a steamy romance or sitting on the edge of your seat, then this book might be a good choice for you. I’m glad I read it. Happy Reading!

Beyond Odin’s Gate by Greig Beck


Beyond Odin’s Gate by Greig Beck
The Mysterious Island: Book 2
Publisher: Severed Press
Genre: Contemporary, Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

The legend of Lemuria, the Mysterious Island, and all its wonders and dangers were all too real. And it has been found.

But the ancient stories of the great treasure and great horrors that existed through the ice rift and beyond Odin’s Gate, could never have prepared them what they discovered – monstrous creatures that lived in the sea, in the air, and on land. And now Troy Strom and Anne Walsh are trapped there amongst them.

But they have a plan, and if they can retrieve the Heart of Odin, the massive ruby, they can use it to escape. Until then they must learn to live on a primordial island amongst horrifying life forms that defy the normal rules of evolution. To survive they need to travel into the dragon’s lair, and there find the truth about the ancient dragon of myth and what it guards, and also discover the fate of the first Viking clan that set foot there and what they had become.

The legend of Lemuria – the Mysterious Island – has been discovered and the tales of adventure and monsters are all too real. Troy Strom and Anne Walsh are trapped down there, with the creatures and wonders. But if they can retrieve the Heart Of Odin – a massive ruby – it can be used by them to escape. Only their enemies – Elle and Tygo – are not far behind them, even more determined to once again have the Heart Of Odin in their hand, and this time they don’t plan to leave without it.

I found this to be an exciting action/adventure story, filled with paranormal and amazing creatures and monsters. I feel the story covers a number of genres, from Mystery to mild Horror, to Paranormal and Adventure. While it’s the second book in what I expect shall be a trilogy I do feel readers could pick it up and enjoy it without having read the previous installment. I strongly feel for maximum enjoyment the first book should have been read before this – but the plotline, characters and story arc is very well explained by the author so it isn’t strictly necessary. Equally, some new characters and plotlines are introduced here in this book so it adds a lot to the overall arc – that of Lemuria and the mysterious hidden island – and definitely nudges the reader towards interest and curiosity on what will happen in the final installment of the trilogy.

I really enjoyed the fact there were a number of new types of monsters (very hungry monsters) in this book and Beck really needs to be commended on his imagination. I found the monsters he created were realistic, scary and very easy to picture. The fact the monsters managed to eat a fair number of random characters was just a bonus for me. Readers who like monster/horror style of adventure novels should definitely feel Beck does justice to this genre in the book. I was found the book quite amusing/ironic that just as a number of parties were trying to find their way into Lemuria and find the Heart of Odin, equally there was Troy and Anne trying to find their way out. That situation tickled my funny bone.

Overall, I thought this was an exceptionally well written story – full of adventure, monsters, a few really solid plotlines and plenty of interesting characters. I definitely feel Beck is an excellent author and am eager for the final installment in this trilogy. The pace of the story was fast enough to keep me gripped to my seat but didn’t feel too rushed or like it skimmed over anything. There were a few plots interwoven together and as they’re all so clearly linked to the one larger story arc, I feel this helps give the whole book a good cohesion and feel as if we’re rollicking along on a crazy – and monster filled – adventure together. A great book and I’m very eager for the next one to come along.

Hard Case by John Carson


Hard Case by John Carson
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Fern

Three victims. Two men on the hunt. One killer to play the game.

Calvin Stewart has just retired from Police Scotland, but far from ready to sit in front of the fire with his slippers on. He has joined the small private investigation firm, run by a former colleague, Michael “Muckle” McInsh. Along with his friend, Finbar O’Toole.

Fresh off a case tracking down a runaway bride, they get a job to go north. A woman’s husband disappeared almost a year ago while on a golfing holiday with some friends.

Now, the body of a man has just been pulled out of the water. This man had identification on him. Just not his own. It belongs to the missing man.

The woman wants answers. Where is her husband? And why did this man have his identification on him?

Calvin and Finbar are sent to investigate after the police investigation stalls. But this might be a bigger job than even they can handle. They get their friends DCI Harry McNeil, along with DI’s Frank Miller and Charlie Skellett involved, and they uncover a crime far bigger than any of them could ever have imagined.

Calvin Stewart has dealt with many killers in his career, but maybe not one quite as dangerous as this one…

Calvin Stewart might have retired from the police force, but he and his friend Finbar O’Toole are happily keeping busy working for a mutual friend in his Private Investigations firm. Calvin and Finbar find themselves working to find the missing husband of their client even though he’s been off the radar almost a year. Another man has been found drowned – but with the missing husband’s possessions on his corpse. For a seemingly simple missing person’s case, things get complicated fast and Calvin and Finbar need to untangle the web before they get stuck in it.

Readers who have experienced John Carson before should have a general understanding of the sort of story this is. There is plenty of banter, memorable and engaging characters and – as with anything related to Calvin Stewart – a ton of bawdy but well-meaning humour and a plethora of words that would singe your grandma’s ears off. That said, you can also expect a fast moving and well woven plotline, more than a few interesting twists and turns and a warm-hearted, good natured, romping adventure. This book is all that and more.

While there are a number of cameos from various Scottish Police friends and associates, this book does focus front and center on Calvin and Finbar. They each have quite a lot of experience behind them and are settling into their new careers with vigor and ease. I thoroughly enjoyed the snippets of other characters – mainly from the DCI Harry McNeil series, but some of Carson’s other series’ as well – but this book really does mostly focus on Calvin and Finbar and the sleuthing team they are becoming together. I enjoyed their character and personal growth – both as a team and as individuals.

Readers looking for an enjoyable – albeit sweary – Scottish murder mystery should feel this really fits the bill. While Calvin isn’t a policeman anymore, decades of his training and previous experience lie here – as do his many connections and his overall outlook on solving the puzzle – so while this technically isn’t a police mystery it is a very close cousin of it. I actually liked the blending of PI work and police procedure – I feel Carson has written this in a highly believable, very organic kind of manner that makes it interesting but different; strongly believable and – with the banter and characters he is so well known for – thoroughly enjoyable.

This is the sort of story where you should get comfortable, grab a drink or three and settle in with for a fun and cozy weekend. I very much hope there will be more books in this series forthcoming. Highly recommended.