Thoughts On: Natural Causes by James Oswald

jean ure

Minor spoilers ahead.

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

Genres: Mystery, Thriller

Buy From: Amazon. Book Depository.

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 On:

Premise: ****

Edinburgh + Detectives + weird crimes = my kind of book.

Storytelling: ***

Tiny, tiny bit meandering at times, but not overly so, so I can overlook it. I liked the switches between McLean’s perspective and the killer’s, and the subtle hinting that there was something not quite right going on.

I’m not usually a fan of ghosts and rituals and demons and all that stuff, but the book was good, so it might have swayed me a bit.

Characters: ****

McLean isn’t your average semi-alcoholic grump of a detective, and he doesn’t spend half the book moping around and promising vengeance, but he has had stuff happen to him, and he is a workaholic, so this category loses a star.

The other detectives were believable, though, and the general dislike of Dagwood (actually Duguid) was funny, so that made up for McLean’s mopiness.

Plot: ****

Again, I’m not a fan of supernatural stories, but it was blended in perfectly and only subtly hinted at so it doesn’t hit you in the face halfway through and make you want to put the book down.

Ending: ****

Satisfying in that it tied up the lose ends, but left a bit of a cliffhanger because it hinted at something bigger to come.

Recommend: If you’re looking for a mystery novel with a difference.

The opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine only. I have not been paid for this review.



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