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713 Reviews
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
I tend to buy books by authors I know and trust to deliver a good read. I knew absolutely nothing about this author, but the book was free, the genre one I enjoy so what did I have to lose?
I'm very glad I did. The style owes much to Stuart Macbride whose quirky humour is always fun to read. It was always going to be difficult to write a detective novel on Rebus...
Published 24 months ago by Mrs Jacqueline M Dubery

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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate opening chapter
I see that all the one star reviews are complaining about the opening chapter. I must admit that I initially decided not to get this book after reading the opening in the "Look Inside" feature.

Still, as it was free, and had a number of positive reviews, I decided to take a chance. In fact the opening chapter feels completely out of step with the rest of the...
Published on 1 Aug 2012 by EGR


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128 of 134 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unfortunate opening chapter, 1 Aug 2012
By 
EGR "EGR" (Kefalonia, Greece) - See all my reviews
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I see that all the one star reviews are complaining about the opening chapter. I must admit that I initially decided not to get this book after reading the opening in the "Look Inside" feature.

Still, as it was free, and had a number of positive reviews, I decided to take a chance. In fact the opening chapter feels completely out of step with the rest of the book, which is a fairly decent detective novel. Some reviewers have complained of supernatural elements in the story, but they are written subtly enough that you can choose to treat them as real or imaginary, as suits. (John Locke does a similar thing in some of his excellent Donovan Creed and Emmett Love stories - although that's not to imply that James Oswald is in a class with John Locke!).

So, a decent read, which would have been better with a less graphic opening. Good enough that I'm going to take a chance and pay for the second book in the series.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good read, 10 Sep 2012
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Mrs Jacqueline M Dubery "Jay" (Leicester, Leics United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I tend to buy books by authors I know and trust to deliver a good read. I knew absolutely nothing about this author, but the book was free, the genre one I enjoy so what did I have to lose?
I'm very glad I did. The style owes much to Stuart Macbride whose quirky humour is always fun to read. It was always going to be difficult to write a detective novel on Rebus patch, but James Oswald has managed to bring a different view of Edinburgh to the reader through his Inspector Mclean creation. The main character is beautifully crafted. In fact characterisation throughout is excellent, and the many stranded plot is skillfully weaved together to a climax that delivers the goods. I did not find the opening gory, a little graphic perhaps but it did the job of pulling the reader in, and tied in perfectly with the plot climax.
Overall the book was thoroughly enjoyable, and of a standard that sent me looking for more from this author. I was therefore very surprised to discover that James Oswald was unpublished. I'm glad he had the faith in his writing to publish himself, and did not lose heart. I enjoyed this enough to look for other novels by this author, and be prepared to pay for them. This was a very good read. I look forward to the next Inspector Mclean story.
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140 of 149 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and well written, 15 Mar 2012
Natural causes starts off with a shocking scene which grabs your attention. The story then develops into a most enjoyable crime novel, with a hint of horror/fantasy. The characters are interesting and the main character likeable. The story is set in Edinburgh with lots of wee references to the city. I for one am very much looking forward to the next in this series. I would certainly recommend this book - I was gripped from the beginning and couldn't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ian Rankin has absolutely nothing to worry about, 30 Aug 2013
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Natural Causes: Inspector McLean Novel 1 (Inspector Mclean Mystery 1) (Paperback)
As some other less than impressed readers have noted in their Amazon reviews, 'Natural Causes' is not a police procedural novel and should not be judged as such. To label Oswald as "the new Ian Rankin" is plain wrong - and more than a little misleading as, apart from location (Edinburgh), the content and style of the two men are poles apart.

Quite what 'Natural Causes' is, is a mystery. Part detective story, part gothic horror, it combines elements of James Herbert and John Connolly, yet is vastly inferior to both, and that's saying something when talking about the writing of James Herbert.

What starts off in a fairly gripping way rapidly degenerates into a large slice of gothic hokum, and you can see the ending coming from a good way off. If the plot doesn't impress that much, the writing style and dialogue too leaves much to be desired, as Oswald sketches out his characters and provides enough back story and mysteries to be clearly planning a long series of the McLean novels. As others have commented, the dialogue is clunky, and more than a little juvenile at times. For a character supposedly in his early forties (well, that's my reading from some of the clues provided in his back story), McLean comes over as a very shallow character for someone living with the scars of his childhood.

The overwhelming publicity surrounding the book says much for the hype of self-publishing and social media. Someone at Penguin must be a little red-faced to have made such an investment in what is little more than beach reading labelled as something altogether grander. "The new Ian Rankin" - not even close.
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53 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars gruesome but compulsive reading, 8 April 2012
I was concerned at the first chapter that I would not be able to stay the course, it was somewhat disturbing to say the least. I am happy to have stuck with it and really enjoyed the development of the characters and the turns in the story. The body count is very high, the descriptions graphic but it kept me fully engrossed - a real page clicker!!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want more!!!, 18 May 2012
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K. Langley "Bookwormkathy" (Suffolk, UK) - See all my reviews
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I want more! The charaters are very believeable and the writing had me hooked from page 1. A very gory start to the story but it takes off very quickly with plenty of twists and turns. Set in Edinburgh, which is a city i have yet to visit, James Oswald describes the city in a way that i could almost say i knew where he was. I hope that this is the start of a long series of books. More please Mr Oswald!
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38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good if slightly different from what I expected., 15 Mar 2012
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Yes it is a crime novel and to a large extent it follows the formula ,and cleverness, of a Rebus novels but it certainly is darker and the opening chapter is clearly designed to shock. It has the dry wit and nice observations of a lot of other Scottish based authors kicking around currently, the book is very pleasing to read and is definitely a page turner. The unexpected aspect brings the novel into something you would expect from Neil Gaiman, and it works. In fact, it would be nice to have seen this aspect brought further into the book. It is clearly a "first in a series" novel and consequently time is taken introducing the characters with many aspects of the main characters previous life mentioned and then not taken anywhere. I'll be interested to see where the second novel goes and I personally will look forward to it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A plodding chore, 5 Feb 2014
By 
Giles Tuck (London) - See all my reviews
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[**Mild Spoilers**] Considering the huge number of bodies littering the streets of Edinburgh, you'd think the local press would take an interest in the bloody serial killer in their midst, or that Edinburgh's first multi-millionaire detective could bring an exciting twist to this well-worn genre. But no, it's a formulaic trudge through this gloomy book. The protagonist bumbles along, randomly getting cross or sad, he muses about completing overtime paperwork and makes so many trips to the city morgue that he'd have been better off moving his desk there. None of this is very exciting, and it's hard work getting to the end of this predictable book, even more so if you're familiar with the 1998 Denzel Washington film 'Fallen'.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More please, 26 May 2012
By 
M. King (Preston, England) - See all my reviews
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I can understand the author selling this for free to get his name out there but still can't overcome the nagging feeling that I've cheated somebody out of some well earned wages in getting this great book for nothing.

Basically its a very good Edinburgh based crime story with some very overt supernatural strings in the background.

The chief protagonist Inspector McLean is a well drawn and likeable character who feels like a real person and does pretty much what you'd expect a real person to do in his circumstances. No stupid or illogical acts here just to drive the plot along.

There are hints to a significant back-story of which I'm sure we'll hear more in future books -- and James can charge for those if they are anywhere near as good as this one.

The nearest thing I can compare this to tonally, at a stretch , is the John Connolly "Charlie Parker" stories , so I'm safe in saying that, if you like those stories you'll like this.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnatural effects, 27 Jan 2014
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This is the first of the Inspector McLean novels from an author who formerly produced fantasy and sci-fi. There is an element of the fantasy in this, too. Set in Edinburgh at the height of a sweltering summer (there’s no particular plot reason for the sweltering heat, so I’m not sure why it is so prevalent) a gruesome murder from the 40s is uncovered when builders begin to renovate a house which has been in the Farquhar family (rich bankers) for years. Farquhar is now dead, but he is immediately implicated in the ritual killing. This is just the first of many in the body count. Soon a Jamaican goes into a public place and slits his throat. The blood he is covered in is not just his own. More rich men are murdered with the apparent murderer promptly doing himself in in a public and gruesome gesture. McLean is linked to several of the victims through his grandmother (in a coma, dies part way through). McLean has to be kept off the case and it is left to the deeply unpleasant and useless Dagwood to investigate.

McLean soon discovers that the original murder has a demonic element – symbols on the floor, body parts displayed. The contemporary murders have similarities. Most of the victims have bits of themselves shoved in their mouths. But since the perpetrator promptly kills himself, how can they be linked? Is there a copycat about?

Does all this sound far-fetched? Well it is, and too much remains unexplained. Several of the murderers, for example, have life threatening illnesses that nobody seemed to know about. They were also driven by some demonic power – so how does that work? And as for what happens to the villain, well .....

A few teasers remain at the end. for example, there’s something of a mystery about who McLean’s parents actually are, but perhaps we get the truth of that next time round. Maybe so, but I won’t be discovering it.
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Natural Causes: Inspector McLean Novel 1 (Inspector Mclean Mystery 1)
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