The Drowned (DS Katie Macguire #7.5), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

I continue my epic journey through Graham Masterton’s Detective Sergeant (now Superintendent) Katie Macguire series, eager to get my hands on one of the short stories. While it is not entirely time sensitive, there are some breadcrumbs that show its place at this point in the series. Macguire is as busy as ever, but also has a great support team who work through a number of cases, including the one that will eventually be the crux of this short piece. Masterton does not lose his lustre with a page limit, proving just how strong a storyteller he can be and leaves me eager to forge onwards with the next novel.

When five young men do not return home after a night out on the town, their families reach out the the Garda for some assistance. Detective Superintendent Macguire has members of her team following leads, but no one has seen these young men since they left the club they attended. One piece of news surfaces that they were all involved in a sexual encounter that appeared to go somewhat sideways, but that does not explain where they might have gone.

When a search and rescue team locates a vehicle at the bottom of the river, it may be the best lead to date, but does not provide a clear answer. The Garda comb through the facts and seek to cut out any hoaxes that may muddy the waters (if you pardon the pun). However, it’s not long thereafter that something promising may come to light, though with each piece of news, someone else must suffer. Masterton brilliantly pulls the reader into the middle of this story and adds some depth to those characters who usually provide some of the minor roles within the series.

Without getting into too much detail, I will say that those who are interested in the DS Macguire series should not start here, but rather at the very beginning. If there are some who do not wish to commit to a full novel before they make the leap, they might want to check out the previous short story, which has fewer ties to the series progression at that point. Masterton’s strong writing abilities and detail when it comes to his characters is not lost on the attentive reader. Another gem that will surely prove a treat for those who have loved the series to date!

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for another great piece! I am eager to get back to the full-length novels as there are some stellar cliffhangers that were not resolved with this piece.

Living Death (DS Katie Macguire #7), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Graham Masterton has held my complete attention with his DS Katie Macguire series this summer, well worth the bingeing I have been doing. Masterton impresses with this Irish police procedural collection, with crimes as chilling and graphic as I have ever experienced in a piece of fiction. There’s strong narrative flow and characters who build off one another throughout the series. Masterton never ceases to amaze with the ideas he uses in the books and finds wonderful ways to captivate the reader.

Personal matters continue to plague Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire, who does her best to carry on from one day to the next. Criminal goings-on in Cork seem to be at an all-time high, which means DS Macguire and her team are constantly pressed into action. After numerous dogs are taken from a rural facility, the confrontation leaves one of the criminals dead and the owner in a heap of trouble, as self-defence is not a foregone conclusion. DS Macguire focuses her attention on this case, as it seems to have some additional threads that could lead to something larger.

All the while, a young woman goes missing outside a club and no one has any clue what’s happened. Truth be told, she has been kidnapped by a ruthless group, who perform odd and gruesome tests on her, leaving her permanently maimed and paralysed. After another man is found to have undergone similar mutilations, DS Macguire cannot help but step in to aid in that search as well.

If that were not enough, a family member of a local criminal gang comes forward to speak anonymously with DS Macguire about a crime she is aware of, hoping that it will help bring her family to justice and keep her out of the limelight from all the accusations. Juggling all this and the newly homebound John, her former lover and fresh from his amputation injuries, DS Macguire has to keep things on the straight and narrow, while her romantic life heats up once more! Another busy thriller that proves Masterton’s abilities, complete with a cliffhanger.

Just when I am sure that Graham Masterton has shown me everything he has to offer, he pens a new and exciting piece that offers new pathways to successful storytelling. Masterton pulls the reader in, while keeping them on their toes with gruesome acts of barbarity, all wrapped into an Irish police procedural that builds as the series progresses. I remain amazed at the hard work the stories appear to show and how Masterton provides countless new and exciting twists to keep things from getting stagnant.

Masterton is a master storyteller and proves it throughout this series. Clear narrative direction gives the reader a path to follow as the series cements itself with depth and complexity. Strong character development that builds from novel to novel helps to offer something the reader can enjoy as they ‘check in’ on a handful of recurring characters, all of whom have a story of their own. While she does work hard, the development of DS Katie Macguire is most prominent in her personal life, which Masterton has perfected throughout these novels, offering drama and some tense moments of indecision. Masterton offers plot twists cliffhangers to keep the reader coming back, which has worked effectively for me. Peppered with Irish idioms, I am learning to speak the local slang and happy to forge onwards to see what else is to come with these chilling stories.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for yet another winner!

Where Secrets Live, by S.C. Richards

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, S.C. Richards, andCrooked Lane Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After receiving an ARC for this novel, I was eager to see how S. C. Richards would grow on me, as I have heard of her writing in the past. A strong story and well-developed ideas emerges early on, leaving me to lose myself in all the action and suspense. I am pleased to have had the time to devour this book and am eager to find some more of Richards’ work soon to whet my appetite.

After losing their parents at a young age, Liz and Meredith McCallister are forced to rely on their sibling connection. All this takes a turn for the worse when Liz learns that her sister was murdered. However, this is not the only mystery that Liz must shoulder at present. While trying to find her sister’s killer, Liz discovers that Meredith had a deep secret, one that could have fuelled the motive for her murder. Liz must come to terms with the fact that her sister had a child in secret, who is now a teenager and asking questions.

While piecing together both these mysteries, Liz is forced to confront a past that she and Meredith thought was buried away. Liz cannot stomach digging into all these dark corners, but soon realises that secrets may have been the one constant Meredith had in her life over all these years

Seeking some help from her step-mother, Liz discovers that the secrets continue to emerge, both held by Meredith and others. Liz looks back at her life and wonders how much of it took place under a rock, while those around her lived secret or mystery-filled lives of their own. It could prove to be the key to learning about Meredith’s murder, but the truth has a way of also derailing the bucolic nature of some people’s everyday, as Liz is learning all too well. What other secrets will emerge and how might Liz handle them all before things come crashing down before her? Richards does a masterful job weaving this tale of deceit and deception.

I have always enjoyed a good book where mystery and deception fuel the narrative flow. S.C. Richards has a knack for making things work well and keeps the suspense high for those who like it. A plot that twists throughout and some characters with strong backstories help turn this book into an enjoyable reading experience.

Richards has strong narrative capabilities and keeps the reader wondering how things will progress throughout. The characters who emerge are both multi-dimensional and well placed, keeping the story on track throughout. I enjoyed how it all added depth to the plot and provided some needed mystery, and the story progressed with ease. Richards never lets up, keeping the reader wondering until the end as the mystery finally has some resolution. I’d try another S.C. Richards novel in the future, if only to compare to this addictive piece.

Kudos, Madam Richards, for a great introduction to your abilities. I will have to see if I can get my hands on more of your books soon.

Buried (DS Katie Macguire #6), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

The DS Katie Macguire series has been my summer binge-worthy read of late. Graham Masterton dazzles with this collection of novels that take place in Ireland, with crimes that could only be pulled from the police blotter. Great narrative flow and a strong collection of core characters provide significant entertainment for the reader, as long as they come with an open mind. As I keep pushing through the books, I am constantly amazed at the quality of the writing and the new ideas Masterton provides to keep things fresh and enticing. Masterton has done it again with another thriller that pulls on two time periods.

Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire has been through a great deal in her personal life of late, all of which is simmering on the back burner as she tries to continue working. Crime in Cork does not take a break, with her current case surrounding illegal cigarette sales. The kingpin has quite the layer of protection around him, but DS Macguire hopes to penetrate it and stop the sales quickly.

After a botched arrest leaves one Garda dead and others injured, DS Macguire receives a stern warning to stand down or something drastic might take place, citing her ex-lover, John, as a potential target. While DS Macguire is smart, she also does not take orders from a crime boss and begins plotting her next step.

When John is kidnapped and taken in return for DS Macguire’s sgreement to stop the investigation, the pressure is amped up. A former Garda agrees to go undercover, partially due to a romantic connection to DS Macguire, but also because this may be the only way to bring down a significant criminal in Cork. It will take a task force and all the support of the Garda to make calculating moves and end a brutal hostage taking.

All the while, the bodies of an entire family are unearthed under an old home. The local lore was that the family moved to America over nine decades ago, but their support during the Irish uprising might also have led to their deaths. While there is no way the murderer is still alive, DS Macguire wants the crime solved and a name brought forth to put all to rest. When an ancestor learns of the crimes, he takes matters into his own hands and pulls the past through to the present, with new criminal acts that cannot go unnoticed. Some grudges are simply not buried and left to linger in the mist. Masterton does a wonderful job pulling things together and leaving some new cliffhangers for series fans to enjoy in this piece. I am ready to devour the next novel in short order.

While I have a large ‘To Be Read’ pile, I have been known to take a risk and pull a collection off the middle and hope that the hype that came when it was mentioned to me is still high. Graham Masterton’s DS Katie Macguire series is one of those for me, mixing a strong Irish police procedural with complex characters and crimes that jump off the page. Masterton has proven himself time and again, doing so once more with this novel. His balancing of many plot lines is seamless and leaves the reader hungering for more information about both storylines as the novel progresses.

Masterton has mastered the art of storytelling and puts on a show for his readers herein. The narrative works well and eases between the many crimes taking place, as well as the subplots that work to tell the larger story. Strong character development is at the heart of the novel, building from chunks in past novels, particularly the drama DS Katie Macguire has found herself handling. Masterton layers plot twists throughout and offers climactic revelations just before closing the story. This forces the reader to come back, which is also done easily by the quality of the published tome. His time living in Ireland is apparent, as the story is full of Irish idioms that add depth to an already stellar piece of work. This series is a must read, particularly those who were patient enough to begin with the opening novel. I cannot wait to see where things are headed and how DS Macguire with handle some of the new hurdles put before her.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, as you make my summer reading experience all throw more enjoyable.

The Last Girl to Die, by Helen Sarah Fields

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Helen Sarah Fields, andAvon Books UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Always a fan of Helen Sarah Fields, I was eager to get my hands on this book. Fields has developed a masterful police procedural series set in Scotland, but this is one of her equally powerful standalone novels. Fields uses her knowledge of the Scottish countryside, love of mysteries, and ability to cobble together a great procedural novel to provide the reader with something entertaining and highly addictive in equal measure. Not to be missed by those who love a ‘wee great mystery’!

Adriana Clark had been missing for days; eleven to be exact. While the police did not seem to be taking much of an interest, her family decided to hire a private investigator to uncover the truth. Enter Sadie Levesque, who arrived on a small Scottish island off the coast with little to go on but her instincts. However, it was enough to spark a fire in her belly.

While wandering around the island, Sadie could not help but wonder if there was a reason for the lack of police interest. She also had to wonder if her being a foreigner—from Banff, in the Canadian Rockies—could be playing into the cold reception she received. All that changed when Sadie found Adriana’s body in a cave, penetrated with a shell and mouth filled with sand. The authorities took note, but even then it was an investigation they had no interest in sharing with Sadie.

Not wanting to let up, Sadie continued probing in the murder, only to discover that there were those who preferred the bucolic nature of the island to remain that way, hushing up any waves. After the discovery of another teenage girl, Sadie was sure that this could not be a coincidence and began looking at the possibility of a serial killer.

With one suspect catching her eye, Sadie started uncover the truth, only to realise that she was in way over her head. As the story progressed, truths Sadie could not have expected came to light, only to provide more concern for everyone’s safety. Sadie would have to act quickly to ensure there were no more bodies piling up off the Scottish coast, or at least point the authorities in the right direction. Fields does a wonderful job with this piece, sure to appeal to many who have a love for police procedurals.

I have long enjoyed how Helen Sarah Fields weaves her stories together, using local lore and idioms to keep the reader feeling as though they are in Scotland on a man (or woman) hunt. While her series work is my favourite, I can also enjoy her standalone novels, as they do not lack any of the action, narrative strength or quirky humour. There is much to be said for the versatility of Fields and her fans are sure to see that they need not worry whenever she publishes something new.

Fields make sure to get the story moving from the opening pages, This narrative technique is sure to grasp the reader from the outset and keep them glued to the story until the final pages, which is especially important with this novel. Strong characters and a plot that never seems to stay still help the shape this story as well, keeping the reader on their toes throughout the journey. I felt as though I were in Scotland from the opening paragraphs, as Fields is able to imbue such a strong sense of setting throughout the novel. If I had one point of contention, it would be that Sadie Levesque, a Canadian from my neck of the woods, speaks and narrates with obvious Scottish idioms, which appeared out of place. Perhaps it is my Canadianness that led me to say ‘we don’t say it like that’, but it is worth noting, even if it might be a minor point. Overall, one cannot fault Fields for a stellar piece of work and I am eager to see what else she has on the horizon.

Kudos, Madam Fields, for another great standalone thriller. Keep them coming, as you have a great fan in me!

Eye for an Eye (DS Katie Macguire #5.5), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

As I make my way through Graham Masterton’s DS Katie Macguire series, this short story fell in between two of the novels. At first glance, it does not appear to be overly time sensitive or revealing much that follows the fifth instalment of the series. It is a great look at how the Cork Garda work and how DS Macguire proves to be a highly effectively member of the local police community. Masterton is sure to reel in many who might dip their reading toe into this pool, as it is a wonderfully succinct example of his abilities.

DS Katie Macguire is called to the home of an elderly woman who reports that there is a dead priest in the garden. After getting over the whiplash shock of it all, DS Macguire goes to examine the body, only to learn that the priest was not only bludgeoned with a rock, but had a specific purpose for being in the garden. It would seem he was tasked with performing an exorcism.

As she learns a little more, DS Macguire discovers that a figure dressed all in black has been lurking in the yard, scaring the elderly woman into thinking this is Satan in all his glory. Who could have been organising such a task and taken it so far as to kill a priest? After looking into the area, DS Macguire has an idea, but it is stalled when the body of a young woman is found dead, possibly murdered as well.

It will take all of the Garda’s abilities to coax out a confession, but DS Macguire has some tricks up her sleeve that she wishes to enact. It could be risky, but there’s no other way to make it all fit together. A brilliant short piece by Masterton that proves he can spin a shorter tale and be just as successful.

I won’t go on too much about Masterton and his abilities, short of saying that readers ought to follow this series in order to get the full impact. I will admit that this short story works as a standalone, but caution those who approach it, as it will suck you in and leave you wanting more. There are five full-length novels awaiting you, all of which have aspects off gore but are highly entertaining as well.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for another great read!

Blood Sisters (DS Katie Macguire #5), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

The gem that is the DS Katie Macguire series has become my latest obsession. Graham Masterton pulls the reader in from the opening pages of each book and presents a horrible crime and then spends the bulk of the story trying to have his protagonist piece it all together. In this novel, DS Macguire not only has a handful of cases to resolve, but also some major developments in her personal life, all of which are sure to come crashing down before her if she cannot bring order to the situation. Strong storytelling matched with wonderful plot twists keep Masterton at the top of his game and provides the reader with a stellar piece of writing.

Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire is still trying to come to terms with having brought her Chief Superintendent down in a flurry of illegal activities, which resonates throughout the Cork community. Paired with a personal revelation that her life is about to change forever, DS Macguire has little time for anything else. Alas, there are some new crimes in the area that beg her attention.

The bodies of many horses are discovered by locals, apparently dumped off a cliff and into the water. Sure that this is more than a freak accident, DS Macguire summons her team to begin looking into it, thinking that this could be a massive case of animal cruelty. Meanwhile, an elderly nun in a nursing home is found dead, which is soon labelled as a murder when she was violated with a small statue. DS Macguire cannot believe who would want to target an elderly nun, but is sure that she’ll use all the resources at her disposal.

When more nuns are found murdered, all from the same convent, DS Macguire begins to see that there might be a pattern here. The convent was once the home for unwed mothers and their babies, which may be a clue to connect the murders. When tiny bones are discovered in the gardens of the convent, DS Macguire begins to see that this could be the work of a former resident, perhaps seeking retribution for something done to her.

All the while, a teenager turns up drowned in a body of water, with ties to a pimp who has been working in Cork for years. DS Macguire has been trying to nail him for prostitution and other crimes for months and this could be her best shot, if she can find the evidence she needs. But all that is shelved when an old flame returns to Cork and hopes to reconnect with her, while DS Macguire holds onto a secret that could change her life forever. Will she tell anyone or harbour this for as long as possible? Masterton does a brilliant job once again with this Irish police procedural.

Many readers likely gather recommendations and sit on them, choosing to allow their “To Be Read” pile to grow high or gather dust. I read some of Graham Masterton’s other work and promised myself that I would get to this Katie Macguire series something soon. I am now kicking myself for waiting so long, as I have not been able to stop reading them. They are so full of action, development, and the type of police work I find highly engaging. Added to that, the gruesomeness of the crimes makes me want to know more and see how Masterton could dream up such happenings. I have only met a few other authors who can write so graphically and yet keep their books strong on the investigative end. Masterton adds great character development, particular to DS Macguire, allowing the reader to feel a connection to the protagonist with each passing chapter. This is a series well worth adding to the pile, but block off some time, as it is addictive.

Masterton provides a stellar storytelling ability and supports it with a clear narrative, as he has throughout the series to date. Things flow with ease, though the reader will likely need breaks to gather themselves, as Masterton does little to filter what goes on in the criminal underworld of Cork and environs. There remains strong character development, building from past novels into the present, particularly with some of the drama DS Katie Macguire has to face, both at home and work. Masterton’s ability to weave plot twists with his climactic revelations makes for an even more exciting piece of writing, which has become a staple of this series. The ‘Irishness’ of the stories transport the reader to the Emerald Isle and make them feel a part of the auction as linguistic twists pepper the dialogue. There is also an underlying theme here, this time the abuse nuns inflicted in their homes for unwed mothers, which adds depth to the overall reading experience. This series is a must read, but should be started with the opening novel, as there are threads best followed from their origin. With a short story next in the series chronology, I am not sure if it will build on the ending here, or branch off into something completely different.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, as you keep me wondering and wanting more. What a way to spend my summer reading!

Murder Can Be Fatal, Kevin Scott Allen

Seven star

First and foremost, a large thank you to Kevin Scott Allen for providing me with a copy of this novel, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

Always eager to get my hands on new authors or independent publications, I gladly accepted an ARC for this novel from Kevin Scott Allen. Laid out as a mystery, the story revolves around Igg Downs, a private investigator who has seen better days and finds himself in the middle of a dry spell. When approached to help a friend investigate a murder, our protagonist finds himself neck-deep in evidence but without a clear killer. All the while, a detective with the LAPD is trying to stir up trouble in the form of retribution. A decent read for those who like PI mysteries.

Igg Downs has had better days. Working as a private investigator, Downs is used to dead ends when trying to locate people or chase something down. However, he’s hit a dry spell with no clear end in sight. That could be why he reluctantly agreed to help with this new case, where a woman’s been murdered.

Wanda’s dead body is making Downs quite nervous, this being his first stiff. However, the potential for some income pushes him through as he tries to piece together what happened to her. Seeking to stay one step ahead of the LADP Homicide Detective is key, for more than one reason. It appears that Downs may have ruffled some feathers when he bedded the detective’s wife not long after she left her husband. This will surely add some complexities to the investigation.

While Downs follows the leads he uncovers, he comes upon more bodies, killed in brutal fashions. Could all the killings be connected, a means of shutting people up while the killer makes a break for it? While being bullied for his past behaviour and worrying that this paycheque might slip through his fingers, Igg Downs will have to act swiftly and identify the killer. Kevin Scott Allen does well with this, keeping the reader wondering with each page flip.

Kevin Scott Allen does well with what appears to be one of his first published novels. Pulling on a number of the needed ingredients for a successful publication, Allen keeps the reader enthused from the opening pages, Adding some great narrative twists to allow the reader to better understand Igg Downs, the reading experience is heightened. While I did find it difficult to connect with the flow at times, I can see how many readers will latch on this PI mystery and feel completedly at ease.

Allen keeps the narrative at the forefront of the story, permitting the reader to see things from a variety of angles at any one time. The story flows fairly well, introducing the reader to the protagonist in the opening sentences and not letting go until the final statement ends. The characters found herein prove not only to be realistic, but also well placed to better understand all aspects of the story. Allen uses some great plot twists to keep the story fresh and hooks the reader who is not entirely sure where things are headed. While I cannot put my finger on it, I found myself not as enthralled as I would have liked. The story seemed solid and the characters proved entertaining. It could be that I was caught during one of my more fickle reading and reviewing moments, but I do not feel this should reflect on Kevin Scott Allen’s abilities.

Kudos, Mr. Allen, on an appealing potential series debut. I am eager to see where you take things and how readers can enjoy more of your work.

The Cage (DI Tom McAllister #1), by Scott Mariani

Eight stars

Scott Mariani‘s writing tends to be highly addictive, at least many of the novels I have taken the time to read. While he has dazzled readers for years with his collection of Ben Hope novels, he’s taken a break to pen this novel with a new protagonist. Tom McAllister is a cop with a lot to prove, but also a large case filling up all his time. Using the tools he has at his disposal, DI McAllister will have to crack the case wide open or worry about keeping his job in this captivating series debut. Mariani fans ought to take note and see what they think.

Detective Inspector Tom McAllister has a great deal to prove working in Oxfordshire. He is a cop who does not do well colouring between the lines and has a pile of reprimands to show for it. When he’s assigned a new case, he puts himself in to the middle of it, if only to show that he is an asset to the team and not simply one who likes to rough up those he encounters. Someone has been killing recently released sexual offenders, as if sending a message to those who prey on young children.

While DI McAllister tries to work through all the facts, the community is highly divided. Some want this killer caught and brought to justice, while others think the vigilante deserves a hero’s welcome. DI McAllister must sift through all the evidence and speak to those who knew the victims to get a better understanding of who they were and what commonalities, besides the obvious, exist. All the while, the killings continue and the media are serving the local police up on a silver platter as incompetent louts.

While DI McAllister works to piece it all together, the killer lurks off to the side, with a plan all their own. Worse than the targeted killings that continue to occur is the significance of The Cage, which adds a new layer of depravity and concern for these pedophile and likely also DI McAllister. A chilling story that shows how versatile Scott Mariani can be. Perfect for his fans and those who want a stunning new series to follow.

Admittedly, I was not sure what to think when I saw this book hit the market. I had been so devoted and focussed on the work of Scott Mariani as he crafted countless Ben Hope thrillers. However, this book, listed as the first in a series, caught my attention, as I wondered if Ben Hope could stand to the side and DI Tom McAllister could rise to the occasion, giving readers a bang for their buck. Mariani weaves a story that is both highly transitional and well-grounded. Mariani uses his skills effectively and provides a stunning piece that forces the reader to take a side, both of which have their weaknesses. While I am reluctant to stray from what I know, particularly when an author has pulled me in over so many novels, I am eager to see where this series is headed.

Scott Mariani has long held my attention with his thrillers and yet there is something about this new book that has me wanting more. It could be the strong narrative abilities Mariani has woven into the story or even the great characters who emerge throughout, but I am hooked and need to know how DI Tom McAllister will work his way through things. Plot turns through the story emerge and keep the reader guessing, without getting too over the top. I admit, it is difficult not to try comparing Hope to McAllister, but they are so different and yet appear as though they might complement one another well. I will keep my eyes open for more DI McAllister, but trust Ben Hope is not on his way out.

Kudos, Mr. Mariani, for making a believer out of me. What do you have in store for your fans next, other than more Hope adventures?

Taken for Dead (DS Katie Macguire #4), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

As I keep discovering more in this series by Graham Masterton, I am shaking my head for not having tripped upon it sooner. The story is strong, with underlying themes throughout, and I cannot get enough of the Irish flavouring of this police procedural. DS Katie Macguire has a knack of getting herself into some troubling situations, only to prove her worth and catch the killer. However, this story may prove to be her downfall, as the organisation is not only ruthless, but also highly connected with those in power. Masterton has done it again and keeps me wanting to flip pages well into the night.

Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire has been proving herself in Cork for many years, as the old boys’ club is strong and full of pig-headed members. While she and her team are following the movements of a notorious local pimp, they are pulled away to investigate a decomposing hard baked into a wedding cake. DS Macguire cannot help but wonder if a new and sadistic serial killer is on the loose in this community.

When a local businessman goes missing and a ransom for his return arrives at the family home, DS Macguire begins racing to get all the evidence that she can. After the ransom drop goes awry, DS Macguire cannot help but wonder if this is a group that takes no prisoners and seeks to kill without any clear motive. Even after the kidnap victim emerges safe, missing his teeth, DS Macguire cannot help but wonder if there is more to the story.

The group emerges to be calling themselves the High Kings of Erin, a collective with deep connections to Irish history. Said to have tried to keep Ireland pure at the time of English control in the region, the High Kings seek to rid the country of those who are not worthy. While DS Macguire tries to get to their core, she learns just how connected the group might be and how high up they go. With a new superior out to see her lose her job within the Garda, DS Macguire will have to fight even harder.

If that were not enough, new neighbours move in and begin their lives next to DS Macguire. In a highly toxic situation, both confide in Katie and seek her help, though it is not clear who is telling the truth. As she finds herself letting down her guard, Katie allows herself to get pulled into the middle of the mess and it could cost her everything. Does she had the patience to allow it to come together naturally, particularly when there is a band of killer on the loose? Masterton paints quite the picture with this piece and keeps the reader in the middle of it all.

Graham Masterton continues to develop this series and make it even more addictive with each passing novel. Masterton pulls on history and current events to keep his numerous plots highly believable, while straying at times into a graphic nature. His protagonist continues to develop and tosses herself into predicament after predicament, both professionally and in her personal life. It keeps the stories highly addictive and makes me want to read more, if only to see how things will play out.

Masterton presents a great storytelling ability that keeps the reader hooked. He sets the tone with a detailed narrative, while some of the criminal offences are graphic, meant to shock the reader. The strong characters continue throughout the novel, emerging at a variety of speeds. DS Katie Macguire receives so much character development and personal backstory, which is surely essential to foster a connection with the reader. There were numerous plot twists that keeps me wondering what awaited me as I turned the page. I cannot wait to see what’s to come and how DS Katie Macguire will dust herself off from some of the revelations that occur throughout the story’s climax.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, as you delve deeper to add more to a series that is already quite rich with twists.