The Last Drop of Blood (DS Katie Macguire #11), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

The binge is complete! While it took 39 days, the reading marathon was well worth the time invested. Graham Masterton proved sensational with his eleven novels and two short stories, pulling the reader deeper into the life and work challenges of Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire. The character development was great and the novels each packed a punch, while also offering some stunning story arcs that spanned multiple books. Masterton impressed me from the outset and never waned in his abilities, keeping me guessing how things would resolve themselves by the final page turn. A series well worth the time and full of stunning crimes for the reader to enjoy. So pleased I took the time for this series as the summer days sped along.

Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire is still stunned by the sexual assault she received at the hands of her superior, but refuses to let this derail her. There is too much going on and crimes in Cork will not stop while she picks herself up. When a blazing car fire contains the charred body of a respectable judge, the Garda are quick to open an investigation. Something seems off and DS Macguire has a personal connection to the victim, which makes this case all the more important.

While the case progresses, Cork is hit with an uptick in gang wars, as two rival groups plot bloody revenge on one another. The Garda sit idly by, trying to pick up hints of hits or possible acts of retribution. This is not lost on the media, who begin tossing DS Macguire under the bus, keen to show that she’s not kept her promise to quash criminal activity on city streets

One journalist in particular has targeted DS Macguire, creating sensational headlines and tossing mud in her direction, When salacious photos are also leaked, DS Macguire can only wonder if it is more than a journalist with a grudge. She pushes harder, only to learn that her reputation could be on the line.

As Cork buzzes with crime, the higher-ups in the Garda begin to posit that it might be time to end the DS Katie Macguire experiment in a position of authority. There is nothing more that can be done but DS Macguire is not yet ready to toss in the towel. As the series comes to a close, Masterton adds just enough spice to keep the reader hooked to the final paragraph. I am so pleased to see how things ended and can only hope that I find another great series to devour before too long.

Graham Masterton has made a fan out of me after reading some of his horror works, but this police procedural collection was even better. Full of nuances when to comes to crime, personal drama, and Irish lifestyles, Masterton has something for everyone. The series proved highly engaging, while also being full of character development that helped offer depth to offset the gruesome crimes that fill many of the chapters. I am sorry to let DS Katie Macguire and her Garda team go, but things ended on such a scintillating note that I am happy to recommend this collection to others.

Masterton has impressed me from the opening pages of the first novel through to the end of this piece, providing strong writing and deep character depictions that develop with ease. The good thing about reading a series in a binge format is that it permits the reader an opportunity to see character growth and storylines progress in short order, seeing the little things that casual readers may miss. The criminal aspect never left me feeling underwhelmed, as Masterton has shown he is able to chill the reader to the core. A police procedural thriller unlike any I have read before, the Irish flavouring adds something unique to my reading experience and I can only hope that others will flock to this series when time permits or they can find a way not to allow their TBR pile to topple down upon them.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for a great series and introducing me to some stellar Irish writing. Not sure what’s next but it will be hard to top this!