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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 8 July 2014
I read the first of this series featuring DI Tony McLean a couple of years ago when I was new to Kindle. It was self published, I was impressed by the quality of his writing and have followed his stories with keen interest since. I'm delighted to note that this one, fourth in the series, and his earlier books have been picked up for publication by Penguin and James Oswald may rightly be considered an established author. His is a difficult genre and comparisons with Rankin and McBride are inevitable, but unnecessary. Each have their place, appeal, similarities and differences. Oswald's Edinburgh series is a police procedural, crime thriller with a twist of the unexplained. It works for me. McLean's developed as an individual, as have his colleagues. The politics of policing a reorganised structure where former boundaries, job titles and expectations have changed is captured well. Allegiances are a thing of the past.

McLean is tasked with wrapping up a family murder/suicide. He's ordered to reach the required outcome. But he's the spanner thrown knowingly into the works. He's caught in power games played by senior colleagues. Corruption at senior level is rife, games are played right down the line. Add the mysterious death of a naked male, tattooed from head to foot ( but in the last couple of weeks), spooks, SAS, wealthy business people and a beguiling female with unusual strengths and you have all the ingredients for a first class tale.

The pace is great and I enjoyed the strong sense of place. Edinburgh and environs are well described and although Oswald doesn't go down the route of dialect, the dialogue is definitely local. People 'blether' and 'guddle' and I found their voices very Scottish. Quietly so, in the main. The hint of the supernatural or unexplained is there but remains plausible.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I'm convinced this is a series with legs. It just gets better and better.
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on 21 July 2014
Couldn't wait to read this new book as I'd read the previous books and enjoyed them and could see that with each book the author was growing better and better. The characters are becoming more rounded as they progress through each book and you begin to feel more and more that they are real people.The locations in and around Edinburgh are well described and as a "local" I can definitely say that althought the names may be changed slightly it's easy to work out where they are because of the accurate description of the areas.I love the continuity of his writing,referring to people,places or events from previous books means the reader can recall things they have read in earlier books and keep that link though the whole series so far,I'm also very happy that the cat has become a regular in each,being someone who has had cats for many years his descriptions of the behavior of this animal is just spot on! Hope the next book comes along very soon.
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on 23 July 2014
Read this book with your lights on.
In a huge fan of James Oswald and I was so excited to start the next book in the Inspector MacLean series. Dead Man's Bones is the fourth book and this one also has a touch of the paranormal lurking between the pages.
DI Tony MacLean is recovering from his near fatal hanging and shattered leg sustained in Hangman's Song and after returning to work he is asked to investigate the apparent murder suicide by a very influential politician. Tony is asked to close the investigation early on until he receives photos and information from a suspected Secret Service agent who prompts him to dig deeper. At the centre of it all is the very alluring Mrs Saifre who seems to be in all the wrong places at the right times. Mysteriously, after the case is closed, everyone even remotely connected to the Weatherly case seemed to fall fatally ill and Tony is left to fight for his life and the life of his team members.
This book is absolutely gripping and definitely keeps you on your toes. DI MacLean is such a likeable character and his compassion for everyone else coupled with his sense of justice leaves you wanting more. The danger around Mrs Saifre has been expertly woven in the story line and each mention of her leaves you with a sense of dread and foreboding. I can not wait for the next book.
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In many ways this is a cracking crime thriller. It has largely credible and engaging police figures, not least DI Tony McLean, a good sense of place and a carefully constructed plot. The tension and suspense are ratcheted up until the dramatic conclusion. It is here, largely, that I feel the book falls down.

I have no wish to reveal the ending, but it seems to me to be out of keeping with the earlier attention to detail. If all ends with a “big bang” the climax has to grow naturally from what has come before and has to be convincing in itself. I don’t feel that either is true here. Neither perhaps is what may be alluded to as the romantic element. It seems to me that Oswald is at his best in dealing with character and setting and much less effective when engaged in the more cinematic action scenarios. Here the writing is a deal more clichéd and at its worst seems to be a cover for lack of a carefully worked out ending. I have read none of the three earlier McLean novels and rather fear that the lack of control here is not a strong incentive to take up the challenge.
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on 23 July 2014
These books are getting better and better and annoying my Husband as I have tended to wake early to continue reading. Definitely a page turner and never sure what will happen. Not quite convinced by the ending but you will have to read and make up your own mind. If there was a disappointment, it was that there was no clue to the next in the series. No brief morsel to tempt you and no mention of when to expect the next book. My main thought is how these can been turned in TV shows and if the casting and scripts will ruin or totally alter the characters. No idea if this is being planned but look forward to seeing if this does occur. Just hope is will not be like the Banks books that have not been transferred very well (in our opinion).
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on 18 July 2014
James Oswald has developed a character who feels like a friend. It is amazing how engrossed I become, not only in the plots but in the character. The McLean series is a must but whilst you can jump straight in a number 4 you'd be advised to start at the beginning. Dead Men's Bones is a work of fiction you feel you could believe in, start hunting the map to see if you can follow the search. The plots give a nice easy build, can be gory but nothing overly offensive, pulling in threads until you are just hanging on for the twist. Love them all. Love this one. Brilliant!!! I've read McBride, Rankin, Brookmyre and a host of other Scottish crime authors but Oswald is coming way out top. When's the next one due?
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on 21 July 2014
I am a huge fan of James Oswald's books. This is book 4 in the McLean series. McLean has the tenacity of a Terrier, never totally satisfied when his peers say "case closed". Mr Oswald has a style of his own, though has been likened to Ian Rankin, I disagree as I think he is better, personal opinion! The storyline is about a high flyer who takes his wife's and two young daughters lives before killing himself. McLeans canny knack of investigating takes the reader into realms which are surprising. I really can't say anymore as I wouldn't want to spoil things for other readers. I can guarantee you will enjoy this new offering by James Oswald.
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on 6 August 2014
Coming so promptly after 'The Hangman's Song', I was worried that the increasing quality of this series would plateau - but I'm very pleased to say that it was probably the best 'page-turner' of the lot so far. The wintry atmosphere, the two engaging cases and the new characters all merged together well with the Inspector McLean we have come to identify with so closely. While the linear writing style (it effectively follows McLean's progress every chapter) won't win James Oswald any critical acclaim - the flow of the narrative was very strong and you just couldn't put it down. I was pleased to see that the Duguid-McLean relationship was a touch more nuanced this time round (my only concern from Book 3 was the rather pantomime villain role he had in that story). The demonic character of Mrs Saifre was enjoyable, even if the Faustian pact overtones were clear earlier on. Still giving it a 5-star rating despite a slightly low key ending - where I expected Tony to be tested much more strongly in the hallway (let's face it, a bit of hypnosis in Book 3 had him in all sorts of trouble - so what chance against a 'devil in disguise!' with just a postcard in his pocket) Maybe Oswald may well be hinting that he has more spiritual power than we have seen so far - and I won't be surprised if this comes to the fore even more as the books continue - as characters return. It's a fine balance, story-wise - in keeping the crime and the horror genres knitted together - but Oswald is doing well so far. I hope he can continue to do so. There are enough traditional crime books coming out, and the thriller/horror genre always sell well - so if he can keep the supernatural aspects just as the icing on top of the more substantial crime investigative cake - it'll be a recipe for further success!
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Dead Men's Bones is the fourth novel in James Oswald's phenomenal Inspector Mclean series set in Edinburgh.
But it is the first one I have read. i can safely say I will now be reading book 1,2 and 3.

I didn't feel like I couldn't follow things or follow the plot by not having read the previous books, but I enjoyed this one so much I want to read the others.

The book starts off with Detective Tony Mclean at the scene where the body of a naken man has been found by a local walking his dog.
Then there is a shooting at a farm house. It turns out that A MSP has killed his 2 children, his wife and then himself.
This is where Mclean begins his investigations into what has actually happened, he's told to do what he always does- dig deeper than is really necessary and complicate things- and that is exactly what he does.
It seems though that someone somewhere is trying to cover up, some want the case closed and forgotten about. Yet others want the truth out.
Can Mclean find out exactly what happened before any more bodies turn up. Or is is this just the beginning of what can only be a long journey to the truth.
Brilliantly written and thoroughly enjoyable. I enjoyed every part of this book.

Book Description.

A family lies slaughtered in an isolated house in North East Fife . . .
Morag Weatherly and her two young daughters have been shot by husband Andrew, an influential politician, before he turned the gun on himself.
But what would cause a rich, successful man to snap so suddenly?
For Inspector Tony McLean, this apparently simple but high-profile case leads him into a world of power and privilege. And the deeper he digs, the more he realises he's being manipulated by shadowy factions.
Under pressure to wrap up the case, McLean instead seeks to uncover layers of truth - putting the lives of everyone he cares about at risk .
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on 17 July 2014
I was very fortunate to have been sent a copy of this from the author himself, but hadn't actually read book 3, The Hangman's Song, at the time. Needless to say I got straight on to it, and could hardly wait to finish it so that I could jump straight into this one. The storyline will have been told already in other reviews, so I just want to say that as with all of the previous books in this series, I have not been disappointed. The pace of this book kept me turning the pages well into the night, and although I didn't want the story to end, I so wanted to see what would happen next. Again, the writing is clever, and the mix of crime and chiller married extremely well together. I am still left with unanswered questions regarding the more sinister side to these stories, but having said that, I get the impression that with each book we are being shown a little more of what lies behind the mystical curtain. I am keen to learn more about Tony McLeans background with his parents and grandmother, as I feel this hasn't yet been revealed in all its glory, so I hope Mr Oswald takes the time to explore this in his next 2 books. I look forward to books 5 and 6, but am not looking forward to having to wait for publication, and personally, for me, that is the sign of a good story. Would, and have, recommended to others.
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