James Oswald

The Damage Done

"The intricate plot is gripping and fraught with tension.."


When an Edinburgh Police Vice Squad raid goes embarrassingly awry, Inspector Tony McLean is confronted by something he had thought long buried.

Haunted by the echoes of an old case, the memories won't fade as McLean struggles to piece together the elusive connections between a series of strange and gruesome deaths shocking the city. The investigation draws him ever deeper into the upper echelons of Edinburgh society: powerful people who do not take kindly to being asked questions.

McLean never was one to toe the line, and his stubborn refusal to do so bring into play shadowy forces that put not only his career, but his life in grave danger. In chasing the monsters of the present, McLean must confront shadows of the past - but at what cost? Is it too late to undo the damage that has been done...?

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This is my 100th book to review for Crimesquad.com. Coincidently, my first book was James' debut, 'The Book of Souls'. I've been a fan of Oswald's writing since then. It has been interesting watching his meteoric rise to become a Sunday Times bestseller. 'Natural Causes' was an original and taut debut. His sixth in the DI McLean series is just as original. Oswald has created a cleverly woven plot with exciting characterisation that grips you from cover to cover. DI Tony McLean is a wonderful protagonist. He cares about his cases and he fights for what he believes in. When a case of a seemingly tragic death occurs it is McLean and his sense of something not-quite-right, that causes him to dig deeper for the truth. With his beloved Emma still off on her travels it is lovely to see best friend Phil and his wife Rachel to return from abroad. I like the relationship between McLean and Phil. They're good friends and McLean certainly needs a rock to lean on (Mrs McCutcheon's cat aside). The intricate plot is gripping and fraught with tension and the energy continues throughout. I'm not sure what Oswald's trick is but he always manages to draw you in from the first page and not release you until you reach the end. That is the power of his writing. It is a curse for all Scottish crime writers to be compared to Ian Rankin. However, in James Oswald's case it is a worthy comparison. Even after only six novels, in my opinion DI Tony McLean is right up there with John Rebus. I expect a long and successful future for the McLean series and great things from James Oswald. He's a superb writer of immense talent. Now, is it too much for me to ask when can we expect book seven...?=

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