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!

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.

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.

Dead Girls Dancing (DS Katie Macguire #8), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Those who have followed me closely this summer will know that I am currently in the middle of an epic binge of Irish police procedurals by Graham Masterton. The author never ceases to impresses with a collection whose crimes prove as chilling and graphic as anything I have come across. The narrative flow is smooth and characters develop throughout the series, adding something for those who have followed from the opening novel. Masterton shows how he can use Irish-themed ideas to keep the series flowing, educating and entertaining in equal measure.

A fire in Cork’s downtown core leaves many dead, including an entire dance troupe. Of those who survive, one little girl is unclaimed and since she is not speaking, there is no way to track her. Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire works as best she can to help her, but there’s something not entirely right about the situation or this young survivor.

While the investigation turns to an arson inquest, DS Macguire is forced to deal with her own personal issues, which includes trying to understand what’s going on with her current lover. He has a secret he failed to share with her, but seems keen to make a future with her, no matter what the cost. Another love interest emerges and complicates the scenario, especially since there is a workplace aspect. Then again, DS Macguire never does things in a straightforward manner.

As the investigation takes on new importance, there is an IRA angle that could explain it all. DS Macguire and her team must be careful, as this could leave more bodies in the wake of these discoveries. The little girl could be the key to it all, though learning the truth about her identity could create even more trouble for the Garda. Politically rich and full of Irish flavouring, Masterton keeps the series strong with another stellar novel.

Graham Masterton has created something well worth the attention I have been giving it. With strong themes, set in the heart of Ireland, this is a police procedural that will tug on the reader’s lapels and not let go throughout. Themes related the political goings-on and regionalism prove successful in keeping the tension up, while providing the reader with something new and exciting. What luck I had in discovering this series and how pleased I am that things have been going so well.

Masterton is at the top of his game with this collection of novels, though he was a household name for many who love the horror genre over the last number of years. There is strong narrative development, both within the book and throughout the entire series, allowing the reader to get a sense of what is going on and stray focussed. Character development builds with each novel, offering a cast that is reliable and permits the reader to see growth. The development of DS Katie Macguire is most prominent, as should be the case with any strong protagonist, but it is primarily her personal life that keeps readers intrigued. Masterton supplies great plot twists and countless cliffhangers to leave the series ever-evolving, which has me rushing back to find the next novel as soon as I complete a review. I can see things getting more intense with these novels, which only means that Masterton is honing his skills even more.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for keeping me highly entertained throughout.

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!

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.

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!

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.

Red Light (Katie Macguire #3), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Continuing this series by Graham Masterton, I had high hopes it would be just as exciting as the previous two. Masterton builds on this police procedural collection set in rural Ireland, exploring a new set of graphic murders. While some may shy away from this, series fans know full well that Masterton has a reason for his detailed descriptions and things are revealed in a timely manner. A chilling series with themes sure to entertain the reader throughout, Masterton proves his worth yet again.

Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire has been working hard in Cork to keep the area safe and ensure no one breaks the law. She’s been synthesising a recent decision about her personal life which could impact her significant and pave the way for success. All this while a new senior official at the office has targeting DS Macguire in an effort to clean up the ranks.

After a man is found murdered with his hands removed, DS Macguire and her team begin their thorough exploration of what could have happened. Background information leads to the discovering that the victim was involved in the sex trade and there are whispers that he’s imported a number of girls from outside the country, many below the age of consent. DS Macguire cannot help but wonder if there is more to the story than meets the eye.

All the while, a woman lurks in the background, luring men into compromising situations before she strikes, wishing to send a message. She’s happy to explain to her victims that they are being targeted for preying on young girls, who are promised lavish lives only to send the young girls into a world of depraved sexual acts that leave them broken. Scared and yet defiant, these men try to justify their lifestyles before being given a hard choice; lose their left hand or manhood.

When more men turn up dead with similar hand injuries, DS Macguire works with her team to sift through the many men in Cork who are known for running girls on the streets or in private homes. One known well to the political elite for trying to show that the sex trade can be a legitimate means of work is sent a message that he will not soon forget. It’s time for the authorities to strike, but DS Macguire is distracted by some issues at home, which could leave her in a shambles. Masterton does it again with his strong writing, sure to impress series fans many times over.

Graham Masterton has developed this series in such a way that the reader cannot help but want to learn more. This is the second of his series that I have been reading, both of which I would tag as ‘addictive’ without hesitation. Masterton creates numerous plots that keep the reader hooked, sometimes for their graphic nature, while using a strong protagonist to push great underlying themes. I like how things series has been progressing and am ready to reach for the next, hoping to find some of the same ingredients.

Masterton has a strong storytelling ability that makes the reader take note from the opening pages. His narrative flow provides a smooth reading experience, while offering graphic murders to shock the reader to the core. While this may turn some readers away from reading this series, the discussions are quick and to the point, but are also with reason, providing rationale for the retributions. There are strong characters throughout the novel, each developing at their own pace. DS Katie Macguire receives more character development and personal backstory, essential for the protagonist’s relationship with the reader. The plot twists were plentiful in the book, as well as themes related to sex work and the trafficking of young girls. I devoured this book and remain eager to see how Cork will progress under the watchful eye of DS Katie Macguire. Graham Masterton shows his mettle once more and readers ought to take notice!

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for another stellar story. Bring on more!

Broken Angels (Katie Macguire #2), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Eager to continue this series by Graham Masterton, I hoped to remain just as impressed. A police procedural set in rural Ireland, Masterton uses all the elements of a stellar backstory to chill the reader as they forge through this tale of abuse and horrific torture. Then again, those who know his work would expect nothing less of Graham Masterton. A winner in a series that has me completely enthralled already!

In County Cork, Detective Sergeant Katie Macguire has been trying to create new connections for herself while remaining at the top of her policing game. She’s pulled into the middle of a new case when a local priest is found tortured and murdered. A little hunting around shows that he may have been involved in some horrific abuse of local orphans in the past.

When the forensics from the scene point to genital mutilation with a harp string, DS Macguire and her team are surprised. While there is no love loss for Catholic priests by many, this seems to be slight overkill. They push to learn more, as a second victim turns up, also mutilated and with a similar string left at the scene. Someone is hunting Catholic priests with a murky past!

All the while, a man lurks in the shadows, having captured these priests when they least expect it. He speaks to them about their heinous actors and tries to get them to confess, hoping that their absolution will help lull them into a false sense of relief. Referring to himself as the Grey Mullet Man, there’s something he seeks but he is not completely forthcoming with his victims. Still, he is on a mission and will stop at nothing for answers.

While DS Macguire tries to solve this latest case, she is pulled in other directions by a new man in her life. Not a local, this man has high hopes of getting Macguire to accompany him back to America, where she will be able to reinvent herself. However, the killer out there has kept Macguire from making many of the needed decisions and she is now facing a new crossroads where her future is concerned. Masterton does a stellar job keeping readers enthused by this piece.

I thoroughly enjoyed a previous series of Graham Masterton’s, spurring me on to try this one. After devouring the series debut, I could not wait to get my hands on this book. In a novel that tackles a number of personal issues, Masterton touches on all of them effectively, while providing her reader with a chilling set of murders that weave their way into the mix. Captivating, disheartening, and suspenseful all at once, Masterton has the perfect recipe for a police procedural that is sure to garner a great deal of attention for those who take the time to read his books. I cannot wait to se how things progress from here.

Masterton has a way with his writing that makes the reader want to learn more through his storytelling. He develops a narrative flow that provides a smooth reading experience, while offering some ghastly events throughout, sure to shock the attentive reader. There are strong characters that fill the pages of the novel, permitting the reader to live thought them at various stages of the story. DS Katie Macguire receives more character development throughout, essential for the protagonist, keeping the reader connected to all that she has going on in her life. There were again some well-developed plot twists in the book, as well as the underlying discussion of abuse by priests in the Catholic Church, but Masterton offers his own perspective, which ended up being highly unique. I devoured this book and am again eager to see what happens with everyone in County Cork, especially some of the happenings with DS Macguire.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for another series I will be spending the summer enjoying!

White Bones (Katie Macguire #1), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Eager to get started on this series by Graham Masterton, I was not entirely sure what to expect. My past experience with the author included some well-paced novels steeped in horrific murders high left the authorities scrambling for answers. In this series debut, the police procedural angle remains, but the settling and protagonist proved highly unique. Masterton has done well to lay the groundwork for a stunning series, with DS Katie Macguire uncovering a chilling case that will shake her to the core in rural Ireland.

In County Cork, bones belonging to a number of individuals are uncovered. Forensic analysis turns up the skeletal remains of at lease eleven, with the thigh bones pierced and small dolls hanging from them. This looks to be the act of a serial killer, with many eyes turning to the landowners. However, in a baffling turn of events, the bones are soon identified as having been at least eight decades old.

Enter Detective Superintendent Katie Macguire, who has risen through the ranks due to her attention to detail. Following in the steps of her father, DS Macguire is keen to show that she has what it takes to make a difference in the Garda. As the case gains some momentum, a pagan angle is bandied about, having to do with sacrificing young women to receive great powers. While DS Macguire wants nothing other than to solve this old case, she is steered away by her superiors.

Meanwhile, someone is targeting young women once again, capturing them and putting the victims through excruciating agony. The justification is that it is all part of a larger ritual that cannot be ignored. As a missing woman gains some local notoriety, DS Macguire tries to work that case, while keeping the old one active in her mind. A suspect emerges and it seems the case is closed, until another woman goes missing and the eyewitness statements make it seem as though it could be the same abductor.

While DS Macguire is juggling all this at work, her personal life takes a significant turn for the worse. Trying to put the pieces back together will take more than a passing interest, though there is so much going on that DS Macguire cannot spare a moment. Will her home life prove to be a distraction or a needed buffer from a killer who appears to be trying to finish the pagan ritual from eighty years previously? All will be revealed in this captivating series debut by accomplished author Graham Masterton.

I knew that I would have to get into this series after rushing through some other work by Graham Masterton. I was not disappointed and felt myself enveloped in the action from the opening pages. Masterton does well to keep the reader enthralled as he builds a spine-tingling case and develops strong characters. While the series is long, I am up for the challenge and will be sure to dive into the next novel as soon as I can.

There’s definitely something about Graham Masterton that has me wanting to grab as many of his novels as I can. Not only are they on point, but they pull the reader in with ease and keep the momentum going until all comes together. A narrative that flows well keeps the reader with a clear understanding of what’s going on and provides a roadmap for a successful journey. Strong characters populate the story, allowing the reader to live through them with ease. Of particular note, DS Katie Macguire receives a great deal of backstory and development throughout, keeping the reader guessing what else there is to know, while also feeling the impact of much that is revealed in this piece. Some stellar plot twists and historic events keep the reader from knowing too much from the outset, but proves addictive and leaves the story with an eerie sense throughout. I am eager to see what happens with DS Macguire and how she will grow as a police officer, as well as a woman living in Cork. Graham Masterton has done it again!

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for beginning things in such a strong way and leaving me wanting more. I am eager to see what is next and how the series will develop.

The Shadow People (CD Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel #3), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Graham Masterton’s newest police procedural series has me eager to delve deeper into the dark world he creates. Tapping into some unique cases with perspectives I have not encountered before, Masterton grips the reader and presents something that will keep them up well into the night. When a number of homeless people around Tooting go missing, the authorities take notice, baffled as to where they might have gone. After discovering a large pile of bones, stripped and scorched, people begin to wonder if there is a group who have used the homeless in experiments, or at least feasted upon them. After DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel are called in, it appears that it is a sadistic cult with ties to an ancient deity. Pardoe and Patel will have to work with their colleagues to uncover it all before more bodies disappear. Masterton proves yet again that he is a master of the genre!

A handful of homeless across Tooting go missing, which soon reaches the radar of the local authorities. Where could they have gone, and what could make them depart? While working an unrelated case, some of the local police come upon a collection of bones, scorched and stripped down. While it is not entirely clear immediately, they are soon attributed to the homeless. Indications are that it could be tied to a religious cult, as there are markings close to the bones that are not easily identified.

When the case takes a significant turn, DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel are called in to assist, having worked on some of Tooting’s past complicated cases. While following some of the leads, Pardoe and Patel learn that there are potential ties to an ancient cult with roots in Pakistan, a place Patel knows much about from her family connections. Pardoe follows her lead, but is keen to carve his own niche into the case.

After a few others disappear, Pardoe and Patel speak to some of the locals and discover a young boy who has spent time with the group. He is unable to speak clearly, but rather grunts and appears unable to push out basic words. Is there a drug the group is administering to its captives or could this be a new language the group uses to communicate, protecting itself from others? Pardoe and Patel will have to work every angle to ensure they can locate the group and apprehend them. Trouble is, the ruthlessness of the leaders could lead to significant bloodshed. Masterton dazzles in a dark and sadistic fashion!

Graham Masterton keeps tapping into deeper and more complex ideas related to procedurals, layering history and ethnic references within an already strong narrative. I found myself drawn to the stories from the opening pages of the first novel and have not been able to stop as the series has progressed. There are well-developed characters throughout, shedding light on a number of intriguing perspectives, which educates and entertains the reader in equal measure. Masterton invests a great deal of time and effort to keep the stories unique, tied to historical goings-on, that permit the reader to explore more on the subject, should they wish to do so.

DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel remains constant protoganists with much to prove. They work well together while still providing their own backstories with regular moments of development throughout. Moments of personal growth finds its way into the narrative, including moments of personal connection between the protagonists, but this does not distract from the larger story. Both bring unique skills to the investigation, which offers perspectives that aid in solving the case at hand. The array of characters permits the reader to feel the depth Masterton surely hopes to convey.

Graham Masterton does have some dark and highly graphic ideas that make their way into each of his novels. However, it is not simply for the fear factor, but rather to help add to the impact to the case at hand. The narrative flows with ease, although there are surely moments when the detailed goings-on of the cannibal group forces a slow and meandering description. The characters have been created to pass along a message and Masterton is highly effective in this throughout. Plot twists fuel an already strong story and keep the reader flipping pages well into the night. Masterton offers historical references and social commentary for all to enjoy, forcing a moment to think and synthesise, rather than numbly reading.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for this unique reading experience. I am eager to see if you have more to offer for this series. I will have to wait for a time, I suppose.

The Children God Forgot (DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel #2), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

Having recently discovered the writing of Graham Masterton, I eagerly continued this dark and twisted series. He uses a chilling horror genre and mixes in the perfect dose of police procedural to keep me reading well into the night as I wonder what lurks in the coming pages. A member of a sewage inspection team goes missing underground, only to reappear without legs or eyes. His colleagues are sure they saw something, but cannot put it into words. Meanwhile, multiple women are turning up with odd foetuses inside them, claiming not to have been pregnant. What begins as a mystery, soon has DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel working new angles to discover what freaking phenomena might be taking place. Masterton does it again, pulling me in as he offers up some of the darkest writing I have read in years!

When called to the scene of a sewer issue, the maintenance team decides to investigate. While they find what they expect, a build-up of fat suppositories, there is something else, almost eerie, that awaits them. When one of the team goes missing underground, the others can only listen to the freakishly loud screams he makes, but cannot locate him. This will mean calling in the authorities, who are just as baffled.

Meanwhile, women around Tooting are developing awful abdominal pains and end up at the hospital. Even more confusing is the fact that ultrasounds show that they are pregnant, while none of them can understand why. Some vow chastity of late, while others purport to have terminated pregnancies in the recent past. What makes it even more baffling is the horrific state of these foetuses on the scans; malformed and looking more horrific than can be put into words. When they are analysed, these foetuses begin taking on a life of their own, attacking others and killing them for no apparent reason. Those who witness the attacks speak of smelling lemon and smoke, as well as seeing some hooded woman who appears as an apparition and speaks of ‘nestlings’.

Brought back together after their unique investigation the yer before, DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel try to make sense out of it all, only to be more baffled than anything. The sewage maintenance worker is found, legless and without eyes, speaking of some demon he saw before being attacked. More women have these odd foetuses within them and there does not seem to be a logical answer.

It is only when piecing together some of the odd ramblings that the police discover a few old maps that could speak some truth to what has been going on. Could these foetuses be symbolic of something larger? DC Pardoe and DS Patel will have to find some answers or Tooting could again be overrun by some spirits that take no prisoners, leaving only death and destruction.

Graham Masterton proves himself to be more than your average horror writer, tapping into deeper and more complex ideas, while leaving the reader transfixed in a state of something not easily put into words. There is an obvious horror theme that offered needed chills, alongside a well-developed police procedural to keep the reader entertained and seeking answers. The narrative flows with such ease that some of the supernatural aspects are less sci-fi than part of the larger, gory, underlying theme needed to keep the story from getting too sing-song. Great characters provide glimpses into the various aspects of intended message, some dark and others highly relatable to the reader. Masterton does not hold back at all, providing the reader with just what they need in a story that offers subtle and oft direct messages about societal values and ethnic sentiments.

The protagonist roles are again filled by DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel. While they work well together, both have their own backstories and development that will likely appeal to the reader. There are moments of personal growth and connection between them, but it is their police work that takes centre stage throughout. Working the case in their own ways, both bring unique skills to the table and use those to crack the case wide open. The reader will likely want to pay attention to some of the underlying comments made throughout, as it helps see the connection these two have, even if they are not usually working alongside one another. Others who grace the pages of the book offer great contrast and will likely be useful for the reader who wants a well-rounded read.

Graham Masterton does not seek to use gore for the sake of reaction, but weaves it into the middle of the story to develop an effective plot that pushes forward. The narrative clips along with ease, though nothing is as smooth as one might expect, especially with such disturbing aspects that appear in almost every chapter. The characters play their roles well, offering the reader insight into the depth of depravity needed to impact the story effectively. There are spine-chilling moments, but also much to be learned from those who play their role well. Plot twists occur regularly and keep the reader from being able to predict too much, though there are times when things get a little over the top, even for me. I often found myself wondering how well this book would translate into a movie of the horror genre, though there are times I worry it might get a little too over the top. Masterton offers some decent historical references and social commentary for the reader to consider, something I will not reveal here, as it is part and parcel of the overall reading experience. I cannot wait to get started on the latest novel, which I can only hope will be as exciting as these last two.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for this unique reading experience. You never cease to amaze me and I hope your fan base counties to grow!

Ghost Virus (DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel #1), by Graham Masterton

Eight stars

New to the world of Graham Masterton, I was eager to accept a recommendation to see if it were for me. I love a dark thriller, especially when mixed with a police procedural, as they usually have me thinking well into the night while I cannot sleep. I was not disappointed with this series debut and am eager to read the next. It all begins with a young woman who took a bottle of acid and poured it over her head. DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel commence their investigation, curious to discover that it might have something to do with a jacket that she had purchased from a charity shop. Then, more odd murders occur, seemingly tied to items of clothing, leaving the detectives baffled. Is there something going on that could relate to these items or clothing, or is it something a little more mystical? Pardoe and Patel will have to carefully work their way through the evidence to find a plausible solution. Masterton pens a great thriller that leaves the reader thirsting for more.

A young woman is apprehensive about her upcoming arranged marriage, but is making the most of it. While gazing into the mirror, Samira pours a bottle of acid over her head, ruining her beautiful face and eventually killing her from the shock. What could have made her do this? DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel of Tooting Police are given the task to investigate the apparent crime, wondering if it might be an honour killing. However, what they discover is something entirely odd and out of sorts.

After a pathological investigation, there are odd fibres found on Samira’s back, ones that resemble a jacket found in the house. The detectives trace the item back to a charity shop, but nothing comes of it. When other odd events occur, including: a wife killing her husbad, a school teacher killing students, and a man who dismembers his significant other before eating her, Pardoe and Patel begin to wonder if there is some supernatural aspect to the crimes, all tied to various articles of clothing. Nothing else makes sense, even if it means they will be laughed out of the station. What does arise in each case is that the perpetrator denies being themselves, but rather another person entirely. Is this a case of dual identity? If so, things just got a lot more complicated.

With more crimes taking place, brutal and without explanation, DC Pardoe and DS Patel begin to work outside the box to get to the heart of the matter. The connection seems to be articles of clothing from charity shops, but that does not make sense. Could it be that the items of clothing are responsible? While Totting Police are baffled, answers may rest with a ruthless gang leader on the other side of town. Masterton weaves a dark tale that will have readers hooked until the final revelation, which only makes things more confusing.

Book recommendations can be a perfect way to expand one’s knowledge of what is out there for all to enjoy. I have had a great deal of success, as well as some epic failures, when I let others push books in a certain direction. Discovering Graham Masterton was definitely a great addition to my reading pile, mixing his love for detailed and dark stories with a strong police procedural. Masterton balances both genres well and has the reader on the trail of a killer, or at least a reason for this horrific crimes. I’m hooked and cannot wait to get to the next book, in hopes of being just as impressed

Sharing the protagonist role is DC Jerry Pardoe and DS Jamila Patel. While the novel focuses less on backstory than development, Masterton offers a great deal about each of them to develop strong leadership roles. There are issues of race, culture, and modern relations within one of England’s cities. Both Pardoe and Patel grow closer to one another in their own ways, working the case as best they can to find answers, even if none of it makes sense. There is a lot to digest her and other characters who emerge throughout the novel enhance the story in numerous ways.

While horror novels are a dime a dozen, developing something that has the reader squirm but feels is not simply graphic is much harder. Graham Masterton does well to provide a chilling horror theme with a strong police procedural to keep the reader entertained and curious throughout. There is a great deal here to keep the reader engaged, particularly since the narrative flows with such ease. Well-developed characters provide glimpses into the various aspects of the crime, some darker than others, and keep the reader wanting to know more. Plot lines weave together as the story gains momentum, forcing the reader to wonder how things will come together before the climactic ending. I love something that is dark, yet has some reason for being somewhat graphic, as it reminds me that not all crimes are simplistic, as well as cut and dry. I cannot wait to see what DC Pardoe and DS Patel have waiting them in the next novel.

Kudos, Mr. Masterton, for this unique take on a crime thriller. I will be recommending this book to many, hoping that the series will receive the same praise.