The Damage Done by James Oswald #bookreview

On my blog today I’m sharing my thoughts on the 6th book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald, The Damage Done.


No good deed goes unpunished…

When a police raid in Edinburgh goes horribly wrong, the only silver lining for Inspector Tony McLean is a discovery that could lead to a long-lost girl from his early days on the beat.

Haunted by the mystery of what happened to her, McLean begins to dig into a case he thought long buried.

But the shadows of the past are soon eclipsed by crimes in the present as a series of strange and gruesome deaths shock the city.

As McLean’s investigation draws him ever deeper into the upper echelons of Edinburgh society, it will not only be his career on the line – but his life as well…


I have shamefully fallen behind on this series, so with the tenth book coming out this month, I thought it was high time I caught up. When I picked up the previous book, Prayer for the Dead, it felt as though I had hardly been away at all from these characters. Inspector McLean is one of my favourite detectives in crime fiction. There’s something about his calm demeanour when dealing with a crisis, or even with a particularly difficult person at work which makes him really likeable. This is why many other people in these books seem to go to him with their problems. He is a person who will not easily say no to you and is always willing to lend a helping hand.

I did feel that The Damage Done was slightly slower-paced than previous books in this series, but it is still very immersive, and it took me only a couple of days to finish it. McLean has now been transferred to the sexual crimes unit. At the beginning of the book, a task force is sent to a house in Edinburgh suspected of being used as a brothel. McLean is at the centre of the investigation, and when they discover a man there, who is on the sexual register, but who hasn’t reported himself to the local police that he has moved to the area, more questions are raised. Tony McLean always seems to be a magnet for strange cases, usually with a supernatural element, and this one is no different. But the enquiry soon comes crashing down when it appears that the police may have been misled about the brothel in the first place.

Although McLean is under pressure to wrap the case up and find out what went so horribly wrong, he is immediately drawn into other elements which crop up in the investigation. He is also reminded of an old case he was involved in years ago, when he was still only a junior and haunting memories come back to him, reminding him of a face he shouldn’t have forgotten. It seems that whatever McLean does he can’t help but get on the wrong side of his colleagues, Brookes and Duguid who see him as a menace, always keen to poke his nose in somewhere it isn’t necessary. And this is why I really dislike them. But McLean isn’t doing this just to ruffle a few feathers, he genuinely cares about the people at the heart of an investigation, and he wants to see results.

There are lots of elements to this book, cold cases, McLean’s involvement in the sexual crime unit and another investigation is thrown into the mix, but James Oswald doesn’t over complicate the plot. The story moves along at a steady pace, but all the time, I was kept intrigued.

I was drawn into this book right from the first page. What makes this series so enjoyable is James Oswald’s writing which makes these books so easy to read. And for followers of this series, there is a bombshell moment at the end of this book which made me download and pick up the next book in the series straight away. A really good read.

Publisher: Penguin

Publication date: 14th July 2016

Print length: 464 pages

The Damage Done is available to buy: 

Amazon UK  Kobo  Waterstones 


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