James Oswald

Cold As The Grave

"The McLean series is going from strength to strength... "


Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh's Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean's team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end street ... and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl's final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth is far more chilling than a simple cold case...

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The Tony McLean series is unique that is mixes crime fiction with a hint of the supernatural. The ninth book in the best-selling series is the darkest yet and one that ramps up the involvement of something other-worldly. James Oswald is in a league of his own as a thriller writer. He has a wonderful turn of phrase and his style of writing is reminiscent of Ian Rankin and the late Reginald Hill. His prose is tight and expertly written; a true wordsmith. 'Cold As The Grave' is a timely novel as it focuses on Syrian refugees, illegal immigrants and how they are exploited when they arrive in a first world country. The treatment they receive is sad but is very real in a seemingly selfish society. It is this angle Oswald has used that makes this book a standout. Fiction is always best when there is an element of truth to it. The crimes are incredibly dark as two forgotten children are found brutally murdered. Oswald doesn't shy away from their suffering and what is difficult to read is sensitively portrayed by an intelligent writer. Tony McLean, newly promoted to DCI, is adjusting to his new status, and not enjoying the paperwork side of his role. He takes the case to heart which almost costs him greatly. We see a softened McLean in this novel. He's sympathetic and caring. The McLean series is going from strength to strength and the supporting characters are just as welcome as the protagonist. He needs Emma, Madame Rose, Dexter, Harrison and Dalgliesh to bounce off and give the stories a sense of reality to them. I hope there are many more McLean novels to come. It is definitely a superior crime series.

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