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Friday 17 April 2020

‘Bury Them Deep’ by James Oswald

Published by Wildfire,
20 February 2020.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-4996-8 (HB).
978-1-4722-4998-2 (EB)

Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean and Detective Inspector Kirsty Ritchie of Police Scotland are heading up Operation Caterwaul looking into corporate fraud, a very secret investigation, also involving Interpol and other agencies.

A member of the team, Anya Renfrew then goes missing. All stops are pulled out to find her as she has important information concerning the investigation.

Meanwhile we learn that Anya has a secret sex life involving meeting men at remote sites. Then her car is found burnt out in a car park on the edge of a gloomy dense forest said to be haunted, even the two sniffer dogs brought in seem terrified and have to be taken away.  Finding Anya is of paramount importance and all investigations into the corporate fraud are put on hold so officers can concentrate on solving her disappearance.

During their searches, human bones mainly ancient are dug up on the moors. Several however, are more recent, leading McLean to believe some kind of ancient rituals are still being practised as the bones all have strange markings on them. Could this also have something to do with the disappearance of several women some years ago?

Anya's handbag is then found not too far from a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. It belongs to an uncle of one of McLean's police officers, who says no one has been near the house. A search is made of the property and surrounding area, but there is no sign of her, she seems to have completely vanished.

Meanwhile, McLean is puzzled to know how a childhood friend of his Norman Bale, in spite of being locked up in a secure psychiatric hospital, knows all about a “scarlet woman” going missing and hints as to what is happening to her. Reluctantly he has to take notice of him, but his theory is somewhat bizarre.  Also McLean wonders what can the stories about druids and The Red Monks of ancient times that everyone is retelling have to do with Anya's disappearance?

Time is running out if Bale's predictions are to be believed. Can she be found before her fate according to this supposed madman comes to fruition?

A truly exciting, chilling and macabre story, I thoroughly enjoyed it! The feeling of menace emanating from the dark forest is very real.

I see this is James Oswald's tenth McLean novel, another author I have not come across before. I must see if I can obtain some of his past books about this police officer. I highly recommend this gripping tale.
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

James Oswald 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 is the author of the Detective Inspector McLean series of crime novels. Currently there are ten books available. Recently he started a new series featuring Constance Fairchild, whose first adventure is told in No Time To Cry, published by Wildfire in 2018. The second book in series was published in 2019. He currently lives in Fife, with three dogs and two cats. He farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.    

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