The first in the DI McLean series: intriguing, moderately paced and with a tinge of the supernatural.
Edinburgh: A young girl’s mutilated body is discovered in a sealed room on the outskirts of the city. Her remains are carefully arranged, in what seems to have been a cruel and macabre ritual, which appears to have taken place over 60 years ago. Meanwhile, a series of bloody killings across the city take priority; the victims are all high-profile city big-wigs and their deaths are gruesome and apparently motiveless.
But they’re not motiveless and it seemed to take an extraordinarily long time for DI McLean to reach the conclusion that all of these crimes, including the 60-year old cold case, were connected. That was clear from the outset and became clearer still when the full extent of the 60-year old ritual killing was discovered. However, it was interesting to follow the procedure of leads being followed and connections being made and to see how it all linked in to DI McLean’s own past.
As a detective, DI McLean is not interested in results unless they are the right results and picks away at the surface of the evidence to show that things are not quite what they seem, often going against his superiors and not worrying about the toes he treads on in his search for justice. He is a likeable character and his relationships with other detectives (good and bad) make for an interesting backdrop. Minor characters are vividly drawn and the subplots are woven into the main narrative with ease, helping to fill in DI McLean’s character.
The supernatural edge worked well in this particular story with this particular crime. I’m not sure how this USP can be developed in future stories without becoming repetitive and/or unconvincing; not all crimes will lend themselves to Di McLean’s supernatural sensitivities. As a standalone crime thriller, it’s a good read. As a series, I’ll definitely be reading the next DI McLean with interest, but with judgement reserved.