Sunday, September 30, 2018

The thirteenth coffin by Nigel McCrery

The thirteenth coffin is the fourth book in the DCI Mark Lapslie series so this review contains ***SPOILERS*** if you have not read the other books in the series.  While you can read them on their own you will enjoy the series more if you read them in order.

When DCI Lapslie is called to a possible crime scene on his weekend off his is understandably annoyed, especially because it is a 'possible' crime scene.  The possible victim is a homeless man who dies in a room that was apparently sealed and impossible to enter, but the man is definitely dead and a search of the crime scene reveals a shocking surprise - carefully crafted coffins with carefully crafted dolls.  Some of the dolls are inside the coffins and show signs of violence and death, but there are also dolls that seem to be in perfect condition.

While they are trying to figure out the puzzle of the dolls outside the coffins a young bride is shot on her wedding day, and when Lapslie and his team return to the original crime scene they find the bride doll has been moved to a coffin and bears signs of having been shot - including a rather incriminating blood stain right where the bride was shot.  Lapslie is convinced that the dolls have a more sinister meaning than just representing gruesome deaths, and when his team uncover another murder that seems to be related to the dolls it seems as though his hunch is paying off - but Superintendent Rouse  is not convinced.  

When another victim is found the pressure builds as the team races to find the final victim before the killer can strike again.  When a thirteenth coffin is found at the original crime scene DCI Lapslie has a terrible sense of foreboding that the coffin is meant for him.  As the team begins to uncover more deaths that might be connected to the killer they have no idea just how determined the killer is to complete their mission, and the lengths they will go to to get what they want.  

This is a fantastic series, and although it may seem a little far fetched in places it is well written and keeps you hooked from the first page to the last.  There is great character development from story to story, and the characters have their faults and their flaws which makes them more relateable and realistic.  You can tell that Nigel McCrery has a television background, and there is a strong feel of the police procedural drama here, but that is what makes this such a great series.  

This series is really hard to review because the little twists and turns are what make it so great, racing against the book to try and solve the mystery before the big reveal and close at the end of the novel.  I have been really challenged at times to solve the mystery before the end, in this case I figured it out but there were enough twists that I was wondering if I really had until the end.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

Monday, September 3, 2018

Scream by Nigel McCrery

Scream is the sequel to Still waters and Tooth and claw and while you can read the books separately you will enjoy the series more if you read the books in order.

DCI Mark Lapslie has struggled with his synaesthesia in the past few years, and after a rather public collapse there have been concerns about his ability to do his job - especially from some of his fellow officers.  It has been a struggle, but thanks to cognitive therapy and a new drug regime the negative symptoms of his synaesthesia have become more bearable.  The timing couldn't be more perfect because while he is overseas preparing to deliver a presentation at a conference he receives a sound file - a woman screaming in absolute pain and terror.  Sending the file off for analysis, Lapslie jumps on the first available flight so he can follow the case - expecting to get in trouble for abandoning his presentation, but not really caring.

Back home DS Emma Bradbury has picked up a murder case, taking the lead in the absence of more senior staff.  It is a chance for her to prove what she can do, especially in a quiet little town where they don't see murder victims who appear to have been tortured very often.  The victim is a woman who appears to have suffered for some time before her death, and once they identify the victim she realises that the case is more complex than she first thought.  When it becomes clear that there is a link between the sound recording Lapslie received and the case Bradbury is working it results in an uncomfortable shift of power between DS and DCI as they both want to solve the case in their own way - and because there might be victims out there who are still alive if they can solve the case in time.

I have been thoroughly enjoying this series, more so than I would have expected because McCrery has quite a punchy writing style that at times almost seems a little abrupt, but that keeps the story moving along at a brisk pace.  This series is really tricky to review because there are little twists and turns that make the story thoroughly enthralling - but they are the twists and turns that you want other readers to discover rather than have you talk about them!  I highly recommend reading this series in order, and I am currently waiting with anticipation for the next book in the series to arrive so I can read it!  

This is a great series and with each book we learn more about both Lapslie and Bradbury which makes them even more engaging/endearing as characters, and makes you care about what happens to them just that little bit more (and in contract makes you glare balefully at some of the people who seem to delight in trying to mess things up for them!).

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla