What Will Burn by James Oswald – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

The eleventh book in the Sunday Times-bestselling Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers.

The charred remains of an elderly woman are discovered in a burned-out game-keepers cottage, hidden away in woodland to the west of Edinburgh. Clearly no accidental fire, Detective Inspector Tony McLean suspects that neither is this simply a grim arson attack. There is far more to the victim than her humble surroundings might suggest, and something ritualistic to her horrific murder.

Nor will it be the only case of death by fire that Tony and his team will be faced with. This is only the beginning, and with such evil clouding the air, Tony begins to wonder what else will burn . . . 

My Review

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. What Will Burn is the latest book in the Inspector McLean series set in Edinburgh and one I was looking forward to reading. It is a series where I have an interest in all of the characters, not just the lead and the crimes are always a little sinister. In this book the crime appears to be connected to witchcraft.

I have been fascinated by witchcraft and the trials for years, since hearing about the local Pendle Hill legends when I was at school. The interludes that form part of the backstory in this book made me think of those straightaway. The cruelty and superstition in those interludes were just enough for the reader to see and understand the manipulation of some of the characters in the modern day murders.

Most of the novel concerns McLean but Janie Harrison also has a prominent role. Recently promoted by the new Chief Superintendent, Gail Elmwood, she is a great sidekick to the newly demoted McLean. While he is lucky to keep his job and has Gail to thank for it she is very demanding of his time and attention. To the extent that she is just as intimidating as Tommy Fleming, the obnoxious lawyer who features heavily in this book. I struggled to decide who I disliked most. 

There are some graphic and unusual deaths and unsurprisingly the team are baffled even though they do have outside help. But this also added to the intrigue with hints of what could come in the future. And not just from people but also one of the animals which had quite a prominent presence.

This series is very different to others that I read. Not only are the police team recurring characters but there are a few others too, Madame Rose, Dalgleish and also a character that featured in the author’s other series. This was Izzy, a character I loved and would like to see developed more. With the ending of this novel I can definitely see that happening.

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