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.

Buried, by Jeffrey Deaver

Eight stars

Be sure to check for my review, first posted on Mystery and Suspense, as well as a number of other insightful comments by other reviewers.


In a gripping thriller that pulls the reader into the middle of a handful of crimes, Jeffrey Deaver shows that his skills at short story writing are second to none. Intriguing in its delivery, Deaver is sure to leave the reader wanting more in one of the best pieces within the HUSH collection.

There are times when old journalism tricks, like listening to a police scanner, can produce the greatest scoops. That’s the theory Edward ‘Fitz’ Fitzhugh uses when trying to stay relevant in today’s digital world of newspapering. Fitz learns of a man whose been kidnapped, with a clue to his whereabouts. The alleged perpetrator calls himself The Gravedigger, an entity who struck a few weeks before in another state.

While Fitz is close to retirement, he’s come to realise that his style is a dying art, where pounding the pavement and checking with sources has been replaced with quick Google searches and mass-market news stories that are splashed across the Internet. He clashes with one of the hires that will take the paper into its digital era, unsure if he will be able to withstand the pressure to conform and write about what sells to the attention-deficit reader. There’s little time to lose, as Fitz tries to piece it all together in time for the editorial deadline.

Finding a witness to the apparent kidnapping, Fitz works the angle, while the clue to finding the victim proves fruitful. However, there is something more and Fitz cannot shake that flashing beacon in the back of his mind. Parallels between both kidnappings must exist, though nothing is as easy as it seems. When Fitz begins to peel back the truth, he becomes entangled in a web that could blow the Gravedigger case wide open. He’ll have to convince someone to listen to his arguments, or face a less than glorious ride into the sunset of his journalistic retirement. Nothing worse than having an important story buried for none to see!

I have read a few pieces by Jeffrey Deaver before and enjoyed them all. Each has a chill factor and a quick pace that does not permit the reader to sit back and simply absorb. Clues are embedded throughout and the action never stops, which made this longer story flow with as much or greater ease than its other HUSH collection cousins.

Fitz proves to be a useful protagonist, particularly as he tries to shine in an era when everything is cut and paste, surrounded by digital advertisements. The old school of journalism may be on the out, but Fitz refuses to conform and finds himself eager to make a different the only way he can. Deaver offers little backstory for the man, though there is decent character development throughout, culminating in an unlikely twist that ties the plot together.

With little time to develop them, Deaver tosses a few key secondary characters into the mix, all of whom play their part. The various perspectives of the plot allow these personalities to shine, shedding light on a plot that has little time to lag. While not everyone fits together in a nice package, the characters do well complementing one another effectively and keep the reader wanting more.

I always find that an author shows their abilities when writing short stories, as there is little time for slow reveals or pointless plots. These pieces are raw and require movement from the get-go, something that Jeffrey Deaver has no issue doing. A strong plot is pushed along by a well-crafted narrative that keeps the reader wanting more. Clipped dialogue and characters who are placed in key spots offer that secondary momentum with so much going on. Deaver has chosen not only the chapter, but the multi-part style of writing, offering cliffhangers and short segments to keep the reader forging ahead. I enjoyed how things went in directions I would not have expected, yet still came together effectively. Makes me want to open my reading schedule and hunker down with some series work by Jeffrey Deaver to understand him a little more.

Kudos, Mr. Deaver, for another wonderful piece. I have often told myself that I should take the time to read more of your work. This is proof that my instincts are spot on!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons