Thoughts On: Natural Causes by James Oswald

If you haven’t already guessed by now, my favourite genre is mystery. My bookshelves are crammed with them, and when I’m not reading them, I’m writing my own. But mystery novels with a hint of the supernatural have managed to sneak in without my notice, so here is my first review of a perfect example.

Title: Natural Causes

Author: James Oswald

Published: 2012

Blurb: A young girl’s mutilated body is discovered in a sealed room. 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.

For newly appointed Edinburgh Detective Inspector Tony McLean this baffling cold case ought to be a low priority – but he is haunted by the young victim and her grisly death.

Meanwhile, the city is horrified by a series of bloody killings. Deaths for which there appears to be neither rhyme nor reason, and which leave Edinburgh’s police at a loss.

McLean is convinced that these deaths are somehow connected to the terrible ceremonial killing of the girl, all those years ago. It is an irrational, almost supernatural theory.

And one which will lead McLean closer to the heart of a terrifying and ancient evil . . .

Thoughts: The only reason I picked this up was because I was in The Works and needed another two books to complete my deal, and they were set in Edinburgh and the only two which seemed half decent.

But like I said before, it had a sense of supernatural in it and I’m not usually a fan of ghosts and rituals and demons and all that stuff, so at the first mention of something other than a murder investigation going on, I was all set to return it to my shelf and resign myself to not finding another Scottish author (next to J.K Rowling) to obsess over.

And then I realised I couldn’t put it down. I realised I wanted to know what was going on, and what had happened to McLean and whether he would solve his case. I wanted to keep reading to the end and the killer being caught and made to answer for what he’d done.

Don’t get me wrong; it’s dark. And if demon-possessions aren’t your thing, you won’t like it. But if you’ve read Val McDermid or Stuart MacBride, or maybe just want to read something a bit different from your usual murder mysteries, this is definitely it.



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