All that Lives by James Oswald

Many of us were lucky enough to meet James Oswald, the first of our spring series of library speakers, and learn how he began his writing career and how he combines his long hours as a north-east Fife livestock farmer with his life as a best-selling author. All that Lives marks the 12th in his Inspector Tony McLean series, and I couldn’t put it down. Oswald deftly spins out the various strands of the plot and one can clearly visualise the settings – be it the deserted farm near Straiton, the archaeological dig in a South Leith parish churchyard or an ordinary bungalow, home of a victim’s parents. Tony McLean, tenacious, greatly respected by his team and likeable, is deeply suspicious of the charitable Dee Foundation that seems to lurk in the background of various crimes, and he won’t rest easy until he has literally unearthed its involvement. The problem is that his boss, Chief Superintendent Gail Elmwood, seems to be in the pocket of the Foundation’s philanthropic founder. It was a very late night when I finally put out the light!

Although all his books are standalone, if you’re a new reader to James Oswald, I suggest you begin with the first in the series, Natural CausesFor our Sins, published in February, is his 13th DI McLean crime thriller; his fans were relieved to learn from the author that his 14th should be published next spring.