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.