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.