On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the eleventh book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald, What Will Burn.
The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned out gamekeepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh.
What is at first assumed to be a tragic accident begins to take on a more sinister aspect as Detective Inspector Tony McLean digs deeper.
There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings suggest . . .
James Oswald’s Inspector McLean series is one of my favourites. One of my favourite things about the series is the supernatural element that is always there. In this novel, What Will Burn, Inspector Tony McLean is investigating after an elderly woman’s body is discovered in a horrific state. In the opening prologue, we see what happens to her, and the persons, who commit the awful crime, accuse her of practising witchcraft. You can really see how much they believe what they are saying to her, and this is what makes this particular scene so terrifying. Is there someone else who is behind what these people are doing?
I had to know what was really going on with these people who killed the woman at the start of the novel. There is a really creepy atmosphere to this book as McLean investigates. There is another strand to the book, featuring a man who has been denied visiting rights to his daughter, after he and his partner split up. You can see how angry and upset this has made him, despite him being the one at fault, after he was abusive to his former partner. But it is clear that he might be willing to do anything to get the rights he once had back. I wanted to know how this was going to be connected to the main plot of the book.
I love the characters in this series as well. One of my favourites would have to be Madame Rose, who always seems to be there at the right time for Tony when he needs a friend to talk to. There is always Grumpy Bob as well. Both of these characters have been there, along with Tony, right from the beginning, so it always feels like catching up with old friends again whenever they feature in the book. And of course there is always Mrs McCutcheon’s cat, who Tony took in several years earlier, but has never got round to naming.
I love the dialogue between the characters which James Oswald brings to life so well in his writing. I did like the exchanges between the new police officer in charge of the police team, Chief Superintendent Gail Elmwood – who has been drafted in from the Metropolitan Police – and Tony.
The strands of the book are woven together well, and the creepy factor this book is explored further when more women meet the same fate as the elderly woman in the prologue. This is where you do have to suspend the belief system, but it does make this such an entertaining read, especially that closing chapter which sent shivers down my spine as I read it.
What Will Burn is another thoroughly enjoyable book in this series. I really enjoyed it.
Publication date: 18th February 2021
Print length: 461 pages
What Will Burn is available to buy:
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