RogerBW's Blog

The Damage Done, James Oswald 17 April 2016

2016 supernatural mystery, sixth in Oswald's Inspector McLean series. A police raid following a tip-off about a brothel goes wrong: there's sex being had, but it all seems to have been consenting swingers, except for one registered sex offender. Then people start dying.

Another good series entry, but the overall development between books has slowed down. One would think that, by now, McLean would be ready to accept that there's magical nastiness about, even though he obviously wouldn't be talking about it to his colleagues; instead, he keeps on blundering on until he has his nose rubbed once more in what's really happening.

Duguid laughed, a sound so unusual it took McLean a moment to realise the superintendent wasn't having a seizure.

Indeed, it's clear early on just how an old case from McLean's early days on the force is connected to the present day, and McLean himself should probably realise it rather before he does. The pace is pretty slow for much of the book, only really getting moving in the last third or so, and the ending is disappointingly abrupt, with many concerns left unresolved, particularly what seems to be a fairly central conspiracy with tentacles in some very high places. This has been part of Oswald's style before, of course, but I certainly hope the next volume wraps up some of the loose ends.

While the supernatural element is mostly lightly handled, the serious crime fan who wants a non-magical mystery will certainly be disappointed; the explanations and resolutions only make sense on a supernatural level. More important, though, is the development of McLean himself: some old friends reappear unexpectedly, and the process of old enemies seeming not so terrible as they were painted continues from the previous book. (As usual with Oswald, one could start here, but I felt I got more by having met these people before and seeing how things had shifted from book to book.) There are plenty of new enemies to replace them, mind.

The intensity is perhaps slightly lower than in previous books, but this is still highly enjoyable, and getting away from the conventional deluded killer opens several possibilities for the future of the series.

[Buy this at Amazon] and help support the blog. ["As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases."]

Previous in series: Prayer for the Dead | Series: Inspector McLean | Next in series: Written in Bones

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime crystal cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics en garde espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 essen 2023 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2021 hugo 2022 hugo 2023 hugo 2024 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust scala science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1