Begging to Die (DS Katie Macguire #10), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Forging onwards with Graham Masterton’s Irish police procedurals, I have reached the penultimate novel. Masterton dazzles with great crime stories and the stellar work of a handful of strong detectives. The writing shows wonderful flow and has significant Irish flavouring, which pulls the reader into the middle of the story and leaves them to feel as though they, too, are in Cork. A great read that has me eager to reach for the final novel in this series, especially with a stunning cliffhanger!

When a young girl is found begging on the streets of Cork, many wonder about her family. As she cannot speak English, the Garda are baffled as to how they will get any information. Even Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire is scratching her head, until a Romanian translator can be located. Though the information is slow to trickle out, DS Macguire and her team soon learn that the girl is alone and was brought to Ireland with a group of others to beg on the streets and given a merger cut of what they collect. A ruthless man, someone who has instilled fear into others, heads up this group, but his whereabouts remains a mystery.

Meanwhile, DS Macguire’s lover, Connor, takes on an undercover investigation to uproot an illegal puppy farm. He asks one too many questions and is severely beaten, to the point that his relationship with DS Macguire is put in jeopardy. The struggle is real, though no one is sure how to act and ensure a conviction is secured.

While DS Macguire inches closer to learning about the Romanian kingpin, she sees just how ruthless he can be, as bodies of other beggars are found with holes from a drill bit in their necks. Fear is an understatement and DS Macguire cannot convince anyone to break their silence. All the while, sick patients requiring emergency services are found dead, their life savings drained. There’s no shortage of work for DS Macguire and her team in this thrilling penultimate novel, which includes a stunning ending sure to shock many readers.

Graham Masterton shows his abilities with this well-paced novel, which keeps the readers on their toes until the very end. With a strong central plot line, the piece evolves effectively throughout and leaves the reader to wonder where things will end up by the final page turn. The series is rich with Irish references and idioms, such that there is no way the reader can deny feeling as though they are tucked in the corner of a Cork pub, watching things progress.

Masterton provides a strong horror background as he develops the crimes for this series, which may turn some readers away with their graphic depictions. Strong narrative development throughout helps build on an already great story, where characters find themselves developing with ease. Personal growth occurs for many of the characters, with DS Katie Macguire at the centre. Series fans will know she has overcome a number of hurdles from the first novel to this present story. There is so much Katie Macguire has shows readers and I am curious to see how Masterton chooses to tie things off with his star protagonist. Masterton weaves plot twists and cliffhangers into each story to keep the series evolving. I cannot believe how far things have come since I began reading this books earlier in the summer. Bring on the final novel and more crimes sure to chill the blood of many who are involved!

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for keeping me enthralled at every turn.