Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Natural Causes by James Oswald

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights (

What we thought: This writer is new to me and was recommended by a colleague who is a big fan of the author and knew I wrote and read crime fiction – and I can’t believe I’d never heard of him before! Natural Causes is the first book in the Inspector Mclean detective series, and I will certainly be continuing with the rest of the series.

There are multiple crimes under investigation by newly-promoted D.I Anthony Mclean and his team in this book, and all seem somehow linked to the mutilated fifty-year-old corpse of a young girl found in the basement of a house previously owned by a wealthy banking family. When a series of unconnected violent deaths leave the rest of the Edinburgh CID department at a loss, it’s Mclean who believes he can see a connection with the past and goes all out to solve the original crime – hoping it will lead him to their present day serial killer.

There was much to enjoy in this book, all the boxes needed from a strong police procedural were certainly ticked. I thought the characterisation was particularly well handled, and I can see from the hints dropped about D.I Mclean throughout the book that he is going to have many skeletons in his own closet that will be revealed during the rest of the series. There are many layers to this character, and he’s also not dripping with clich├ęs with I think is refreshing in this genre.

Good pacing, good plotting and excellent attention to detail in the research, results in an excellent start to this crime series. I’m really looking forward to reading more and would highly recommend James Oswald to any crime fiction readers out there.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Ann Cleeves, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid.

Avoid if you don’t like: Witchcraft and murder scenes.

Ideal accompaniments: Hearty beef stew and a single Scottish malt whisky.

Genre: Crime.

Available on Amazon

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