It’s an absolute honour today to be sharing my review for Cold as the Grave by James Oswald as part of the blog tour. My thank to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invite and the publishers for the copy of the book.
About the book
Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.
As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.
But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…
Can you believe this is the ninth book in the inspector McLean series? Well neither can I and I think each book just gets better and better.
Newly promoted Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean isn’t enjoying his promotion, there’s too much paperwork, box ticking and not enough action for him so when the opportunity to help out with a protest arises he jumps at the chance. The protest takes place along the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and not having suitable protective clothing McLean stands back from any trouble but in doing so ends up being pushed through the throws of protesters and emerges beside a door, a door that has had its lock broken and McLeans heckles instantly rise. On entering the building at first it looks to be just a normal basement with old furniture abandoned and a spooky looking doll. On closer inspection the doll turns out to be a child, a dead child and it looks like it has been there for a long, long time.
This seriously gave me the heebie jeebies, like each book I’ve read in this series you get a real sense of being there, right in the middle of everything that’s going on and because of the wonderful descriptions it is so easy to visualise Edinburgh even if you haven’t been there.
Cold as the Grave covers multiple themes from racism and immigration to human trafficking and more which makes things feel ever so realistic. Everyone has seen the news or read in the papers about these topics and the author shows the harrowing situations they face.
Not only has McLean all this to deal with, he has to try and juggle work with his person life which is going through a difficult patch and McLean is the sort of man who will put 100% into his job which makes things even more difficult.
Cold as the Grave is a story that had me on the edge of my seat, it’s fast paced in places and a real page turner. I was thoroughly gripped all the way through and have to admit I lost a wee bit of sleep as I was that engrossed.
So I’ll definitely be recommending Cold as the Grave and even if you haven’t read the rest of the series this will work well as a stand alone too.
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About the author
James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. Set in an Edinburgh not so different to the one we all know, Detective Inspector Tony McLean is the unlucky policeman who can see beneath the surface of ordinary criminal life to the dark, menacing evil that lurks beneath.
He has also introduced the world to Detective Constable Constance ‘Con’ Fairchild, whose first outing was in the acclaimed No Time To Cry.
As J D Oswald, James has also written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, ebook and audio formats.
James has pursued a varied career – from Wine Merchant to International Carriage Driving Course Builder via Call Centre Operative and professional Sheep Shit Sampler (true). He moved out of the caravan when Storm Gertrude blew the Dutch barn down on top of it, and now lives in a proper house with three dogs, two cats and a long-suffering partner. He farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.