Prayer for the Dead - James  Oswald

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‘You’re going to make it complicated again, aren’t you McLean?’

In Prayer for the Dead, Tony investigates the seemingly ritualistic murder of a reporter in the historic Gilmerton Caves in Edinburgh, Scotland. With no evidence left at the scene, the investigation flounders amid several more murders possibly related to the first and Tony finds he has no choice but to reluctantly team up with a colleague of the victim, Jo Dalgleish, herself an abrasive reporter who has caused Tony problems in the past. With very few clues, Tony sets out to connect the murders and find a killer.

I’ve been an avid fan of this series since I read Natural Causes back in 2012. Tony is an enigmatic main character; each book tantalizes with just a little bit more of his history and you never quite feel like you get to know him. That accomplishes two things for me; for one, it adds an element of unpredictability that keeps you just a little off balance, you can never get ahead of Tony. The second thing, of course, is it keeps me coming back for more. Add in the colorful cast of characters that makes up Tony's "family" including Grumpy Bob, DC MacBride, DS Ritchie, Madame Rose and, of course, Mrs McCutcheon’s cat, and it's easy to be drawn into McLean's unique world where anything can happen.

The fast-paced plot blended a chameleon of a killer, possibly shifty developers and Madame Rose’s harassment into a twisty puzzle that kept me turning pages. I loved the plot twist at the end about the killer, and that moment when they went to the killer’s house? Creepy!

Overall, Prayer for the Dead is an entertaining and thrilling mystery, and readers unfamiliar with the series will find it an enjoyable police procedural. This book can be read as a standalone or as an entry into the series, but I recommend reading the series from the start, as there are some on-going plot threads that wind through the series.

3.5 stars

Thank you to Crooked Lane and Netgalley for an advance copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.