Top critical review
A promising start, spoilt by stupid spookery
on 8 January 2018
This book sets a good pace and Tony McClean is a sympathetic hero. Oswald also is a better writer than many new crime novelists, so he seems worth following. I read this book after Natural Causes, hoping that the extremely nasty nature of the murders in that book had been simply the effort of a new writer to make a dramatic effect. I was also disappointed by the occult features of Natural Causes, which are silly and sensational and just a cop out from explaining the plot rationally. The Book of Souls started off more promisingly, but lo and behold, we get a very similar type of murder and then the book of the title takes on an occult power. This is lazy stuff, and basically nonsense. If Oswald really wanted to do the whole supernatural claptrap thing, (which I wouldn't at all recommend), he should take it seriously and involve the whole business of exorcism and people who in real life actually have to deal with such phenomena. But this is a deeply unpleasant and dangerous area of interest which shouldn't be used to provide the odd frisson to give extra flavour to a detective story. Oswald can surely do better than this.