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on 4 August 2014
This is the seventh in Catriona King's D.C.I. Craig series and there is no let up in the quality of the writing.

The series, as a whole, flows nicely, with occassional mentions of previous events, relating to both old cases and the lives of the members of Craigs' squad. With this in mind it is helpful to have read the previous books in the series ( but not vital - it also works as a stand alone novel ).

The novel starts with Easter approaching and the squad in a bit of a lull, with not much to keep them busy since the events of two months earlier ( see The Slowest Cut - book 6 ) but that soon comes to an end when Dr. Winter, the pathologist hands Craig three files. These files are for three separate suicides, all of which would go unnoticed if not for the fact that they all had plenty to live for and all wrote exactly the same worded suicide note.

I found this to be another step up in gear for the author, the idea of murder by suicide being a particularly clever twist - each book so far has had something different to work with, no formulaic same old same old here. The storytelling is confident, as I would expect, and the threat to the squad will have you heading toward the seat edge. After one particular incident ( you'll know it when you get there ) I was so stunned by what had happenned I had to put the book down and walk away as I wasn't sure I wanted to see the fallout.

And that, for me, is the true strength of this series. Yes, the crimes are intriguing, the story lines are gripping but the true heart of this series is the lives of the squad. I've found I really care about what happens in the day-to-day of the characters, be it the little things or the life changing events.

A top quality addition to a wonderful series (and surely only a matter of time before someone picks this up for filming )
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on 18 May 2017
CATRIONA KING
The Coercion Key.
Book 7 in this fantastic series. What a read this is if action is your thing then you must read this book.
Superintendent Craig and his team are trying to find out who is behind these suicides, action from start to finish.
5* 13 May 2017.
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on 7 October 2014
Another excellent fast paced thriller from Catriona King. Twists and turns right to the last page. I'm really enjoying this novelist.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 2 December 2015
The Coercion Key is another fast paced, gripping read from Ms King. In it pathologist John Winter picks up on 3 suspicious suicides who all left the same unemotional suicide note and don't fit the profile of a suicide. Marc Craig's team frantically search for a link before there are more victims, although of what no one is sure.
This is a stand alone novel but reading the previous novels will give you a better knowledge of the team and its dynamic. As always the characters are well drawn, realistic and have great craic. I think that the plotting in this novel is weaker than before and doesn't withstand close scrutiny, especially the coercion, the basis of the story, which we are just supposed to accept as awful but we never get a hint of what it is or how the perpetrator came by it.
The Coercion Key is a good read which I finished in one sitting, gripped by what was coming next and the sheer likeability of the characters and I was only disappointed that not enough loose ends were tied up. This is probably very reflective of real life policing, but a let down in fiction.
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on 8 April 2015
It is always a pleasure to sit in my favourite armchair and read a DCI Craig book - except I am so far behind ... I can look forward to reading at least three more before I catch up. This one is more complicated than ever, with its multiple murders disguised as suicide. And yet the plot is clearly contrived; wisps of a solution waft before your mind's eye, and you have to read on just one more chapter before succumbing to the lateness of the night hour. I am always surprised by King's denouements: I suspect she has her tongue firmly in cheek with this one.
The characters of Marc Craig's team, with their friendly banter are forever solidified in my mind. And the Italian side of Marc's family is brought home to me again in slivers of conversation with his mother:
"You can have temper once in life, but never again."
So much charm and fun. Great entertainment.
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on 10 August 2014
This is another brilliant book.The stories as in all her stories of DS Marco Craig and his human and excellent working team a make these stories have so much character they are spellbinding . When you need a.good read with plenty of unique twists and great original plots.This is the writer for she is a great spinner of damm good and a story you can't put down
This is her 7th bopk with this great and human detective Marco Craig. Where does this brilliant.writer get all her original and nailbiting plots from. if you want great reads these are the series to read. You won't be disappointed .
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on 26 May 2015
I have read all nine of these books and EVERY ONE DESERVES A FIVE STAR REVIEW. I am cheating here as I haven't left a review for any of this series, and that is most remiss of me, so I am unashamedly cutting and pasting the same review. There are great characters, great plots, great atmosphere. Although these are stand alone stories I think the reader does benefit from reading them in sequence if possible. There are back references to previous stories and the characters do develop well and knowing their history does improve the readers rapport with the cast. Thoroughly recommended.
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on 15 September 2014
I have read all of the books in the D.C.I. Craig series and have enjoyed them very much.. This latest book, although I did quite like it, I thought several parts were just too far-fetched and left too many things unanswered.. [this may contain spoilers] The way Craig and his team seemed to work things out just (esp. the gender reassignment story-line) seemed implausible.. In fact, I thought that that whole part of the story line quite ridiculous.. Why was Jenna so intent on getting revenge on Craig and his team for doing their job? - again, not well explained and just too far-fetched...
How did Jenna manage to distract the John's protection officer, get into his office and later Craig's flat? Where did she get the gun from ?).
The one thing I really didn't like about this book above everything else was the fact that the 'suicides' were not explained.. Just what was on the USB sticks that made the characters kill themselves, instantly? No explanation of this was given..
By the time I got to the end of the book I no longer cared anyway.... One other thing that bugged me.. Just where do you get an "eighteen-hundred-pound touch-screen, wireless computer pad"?
Disappointing book..
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on 13 January 2015
Once again an intriguing crime story but also lovely to find out more about the main characters. Couldn't put it down 😄
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on 25 August 2014
Another triumph in the "Craig Crime Series". Gripping - well researched - compelling read.
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