Dead Men Whistling (DS Katie Macguire #9), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

My binge of Irish police procedurals continues with more novels by Graham Masterton. He continues to impresses with stories full of action, criminal goings-on, and strong detective work. There is a great flow to the writing that appears only to get better as Masterton weaves Irish-themed ideas to add an even more flavourful story for those who have followed from the beginning of this collection.

When the body of a Garda officer is found beheaded, many within the Cork police community wonder if it could be terrorism. However, the odd insertion of a tin whistle into the neck stump adds a curious angle to the investigation. Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire wants to get to the bottom of it, especially if someone is targeting her colleagues.

After another Garda is found murdered, with the same whistle placement, DS Macguire is sure this is a pattern. While she would love to deal solely with this, she has some personal matters that require her attention, namely her new lover. While he is a detective working on some dog fighting cases, he appears to have taken matters into his own hands after burning down the home of a known criminal.

When the two victims of the Garda attacks are confirmed as whistleblowers against their colleagues, things fall into perspective and DS Macguire is keen to see who might be targeting those who want to ensure everyone follows the rules. Three other whistleblowers are identified and placed into protective custody, but they are not entirely safe from whoever is targeting these Garda.

Juggling everything tossed at her, DS Macguire makes the best of it while trying to stay one step ahead of the hungry media folk who surround her at every turn. She is also receiving a great deal of pressure from her superiors, some of whom have voiced a concern at letting a woman climb the ranks of the Garda. A murderer (or group) is out there and DS Macguire will have to stop them, as she is about to ‘blow the whistle’ herself on some happenings that come to her attention. Masterton is brilliant once again and keeps the reader on their toes throughout this stellar piece of writing.

Graham Masterton weaves more Irish police procedurals in this intense series that uses graphic and sometimes gruesome murder as a means of catching the reader’s attention. Strong themes, set in the heart of Ireland, provide this series with a flavouring to which I am not accustomed, but thoroughly enjoy. The author is able to build on character development with ease and finds new ways to add depth to storylines that cross from one novel to the next.

Masterton blends his love of horror writing with a strong sense of mystery and police investigation. The strong narrative development is apparent throughout, as this book is only the latest in a collection of strong pieces. Personal and professional growth is apparent amongst many of the characters, especially DS Katie Macguire, who has had a number of hurdles in her way that require some attention. This is as it should be with a strong protagonist in a longer series, allowing the reader to build stronger ties as they read more. Masterton offers plot twists and cliffhangers to keep the series evolving, which has left me scrambling to get hold of the next book as soon as I can post a review. While there are only a few books left in the series, I am ready to tackle those that remain and see just how intense things get for DS Macguire and those around her.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for another great read.