Review published on April 21, 2017.
This is the first title by this author that I have read and it is the seventh in his series of Inspector Tony McLean novels. I’ve heard a lot about the author James Oswald and have intended to read his books for a while, not least due to his interesting publishing journey. I read that he found it hard to get an agent or a publisher because his novels crossed genres. They are crime novels, but with a supernatural bent and that apparently confused people in the industry. So eventually he self-published Natural Causes and The Book of Souls (the first two Tony McLean novels) and, to cut a long story short, they succeeded and the traditional publishing houses came calling. It’s a great story and for an aspiring writer like myself, an inspiration.
Written in Bones finds Tony McLean having to deal with a corpse that’s fallen from a great height into a tree. How did it get there? Was it dead before it fell and became impaled on the tree, or did the fall kill him? Things are complicated by the fact that the young son of a murdered gangster was the first person to find the body. Was this pure coincidence or is someone trying to send a macabre message? Furthermore, the dead man is a former cop, imprisoned for corruption, before apparently turning over a new leaf to found a successful drug counselling charity.
As I say, this is my first taste of James Oswald’s work, but it certainly won’t be my last. While Written in Bones is number seven in the series, it can be read as a standalone. Reading the novel, it’s clear that there is back story that one is missing out on if one hasn’t read the previous volumes, but the author explains what’s necessary when needs be without overburdening the newbie reader with voluminous explanation. That said, if you like Written in Bones as much as I did you’ll be snapping up the author’s back catalogue.
One of the pleasures of being a book reviewer is discovering a new author. I’m late to the James Oswald party, but now I’m here I intend to indulge! I already have the first two volumes to read, soon I’ll be buying the rest.
James Pierson 5/5
Written in Bones by James Oswald
Michael Joseph 9780718183677 hbk Feb 2017