Some of you who have been subscribed to Sarah Withers Blogs for a while may remember last year I started what I hoped you be a semi regular post called Spotlight On… There were so many authors, books and series I loved but had read before I started my blog, I didn’t want to go back and review everything, I wouldn’t have time! But at the same time I wanted to let people know about them, after all I loved them! However last year I only managed one post which I’m pretty sure doesn’t qualify for semi-regular status!
So time for another, and this time I’m going to be shining the spotlight on James Oswald’s Inspector McLean series.
I discovered James Oswald quite by chance in 2015, I can’t remember exactly how but I ended up with the audiobook of Dead Men’s Bones, it was free or there was some sort of offer on Audible and I was looking for something new to listen to so I downloaded it, listened to it and that was that I was hooked, I went back to the beginning and downloaded a book with each time I received a new credit, until I had caught up with the series and from then on I impatiently waited for the next story to be released and that remains the case to this day!
So what is the Inspector McLean series all about? Well as you might have guessed from the title it’s a crime fiction series set in Scotland based around the character Inspector Tony McLean, but it is so much more than your average crime fiction series. James Oswald mixes crime with the hint of fantasy and he does it so well!
Now I’m not talking high fantasy, the streets of Edinburgh are not inundated unicorns and giants, McLean isn’t about to investigate crime at Hogwarts – he’s based in Edinburgh it would be a bit off his patch. However strange things are happening in Edinburgh and Tony has a habit of finding himself smack bang in the middle of the investigations with a supernatural twist.
James Oswald always puts together an intriguing mystery with a plot that develops at a wonderful pace, I won’t spoil it by revealing too much but Tony has dealt with a woman buried in a basement following a strange ritual, a Christmas killer, a series of suicides, a very high profile murder-suicide, a body found in Gilmerton Cove – a real series of caves and underground passages in Edinburgh, a secret society and a body found in a tree!
As well as the mysterious case Tony finds himself in each book, there is also a great deal of character development as we move through the series. Tony may be the lead but he is surrounded by some equally great characters. Grumpy Bob is possibly may favourite character after Tony, how could you not like a character with a nickname like Grumpy Bob? We’re also introduced to his colleagues, from his bosses McIntyre and Duiguid, to crime scene tech Emma Baird. I’ve really enjoyed seeing the relationships between the characters develop over the course of the past seven books, and discovering the new regular characters that have been introduced along the way, along with the case specific characters introduced in each story.
For me I just love the setting for the books, I live in Fife and work in Edinburgh so the fact the books are set here just adds that little bit extra for me, James Oswald will bring Edinburgh to life for anyone who picks up one of these tales, but for me it’s so clear to picture, I’ve walked down these streets I can picture them so clearly and I love it! Even if I do end up looking upwards whenever I go for a walk on The Meadows just in case a body happens to fall out of the sky!
The Inspector McLean series is a wonderful collection of books I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who loves a good crime and mystery novel, or is perhaps looking for something a little bit different to their usual detective series!
The 8th book in the series is The Gathering Dark and is due for release next week! I am so excited for this, and lucky enough that the launch event is taking place in the Edinburgh Waterstones so I know where I’ll be heading after work next Wednesday. The book blurb tells me it’s all about a devastating crash in central Edinburgh, which becomes personal for the team when they realise the new Chief Superintendent’s son is missing and he was last seen in the area where the crash happened.
If you’re interested in finding out more about the Inspector McLean series you can find all the titles on the Goodreads series page – Written In Bones also happens to be one of the first books I reviewed on the blog last year.
The first 7 books in the series are out now, published in the UK by Penguin – Michael Joseph. Also available as audiobooks which I would highly recommend, they’re narrated brilliantly by Ian Hanmore, he really brings the stories to life.
The Gathering Dark is due for publication 25th January 2018. If you’re in the Edinburgh area Waterstones – West End is hosting a launch event this Wednesday 24th January at 6:30pm, tickets are free and are available in store or online via their website.
You can also follow James Oswald on twitter @SirBenfro
I hope you enjoyed this Spotlight On… Hopefully it won’t be so long until the next one! Were you already familiar with the Inspector McLean series? Has this post made you think about picking it up? Let me know in the comments below!