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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • Clever and gripping police procedural

    This is book 5 in the Clare MacKay series, I haven't read any of the previous books but as a police procedural novel it worked well as a stand-alone and any back story was given as required. EDIT: I have now read the previous four books. DI Clare Mackay is at her ex-boyfriend's wedding with her latest squeeze, DCI Alastair Gibson, when she is alerted to the murder of a Glaswegian restauranteur at a small country house outside St Andrews called Lamond Lodge which had been hired for the weekend to celebrate the victim's fortieth birthday. The victim, Russell Fox was celebrating with his sister, the daytime TV presenter Gaby Fox and her husband Luke Gasparini, who owns a TV production company, and three of his childhood friends from primary school: Eamon Ferry; Doug Gerrard; and Steve Christie. Russell was shot, just about dawn on the Saturday morning, coincidentally while Gaby and Luke were at the same wedding as Clare and Al. The murder weapon and the shot point to a professional, or at least premeditated, hit. But none of the guests appear to have heard or seen anything. The property had a night-time security guard and CCTV cameras, none of which picked up the murder, although the cameras did pick up some unexpected visitors. As a reader I was pulled this way and that by the evidence which pointed first one way, then the other. However I wouldn't say they were red herrings, more just unravelling the truth as one person after another is discovered to have lied to the police. I really enjoyed this, I liked the way the police went over the evidence at the daily briefings and pursued leads, for want of a better word it felt genuine, lots of hard slog and running round in circles and testing alibis. I will certainly read more of these books (in fact I have just bought the first one in the series), it was engaging, relatable and kept me guessing right to the end. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

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    8 person found this review helpful

    8 people found this review helpful

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Murder & mayhem but not too gritty🙂

    🔍Another great read with DI Clare Mackay on a sniper's trail🚨 I am hooked on this series; each new book is a pageturner and none more so than Next in Line. The motive for the killing is murky, with plenty of suspects ranging from the victim's closest social circle, to shady business owners, grudge-bearing ex-cons and hard to pin down hired assassin candidates. The victim is the beloved brother of a famous television personality and, public scrutiny notwithstanding, DI Clare and her crew pull out all the stops to get the family justice. Some of the story's strongest elements for me: Clare herself, driven to solve the case but a good pal and mentor to her team. Author Marion Todd gives her just enough of a personal life, with nothing too angstful or unsettled on the home front. She's an ordinary woman, with a man friend after a few failed relationships, a dog that needs walkies and a cozy cottage, with a challenging profession. The investigation techniques. They never get too bogged down in technical descriptions although they rely on intuition and science. I find that the pages speed by no matter how painstaking and thorough the interviews, technical checks and background follow-ups. And, yes there's violence and death but the descriptions are never too gritty. The writing. The prose is easy to follow and, even as the number of characters add up, somehow each is readily identifiable when the action returns to him/her. And just enough twists, surprises and urgent chases to keep it exciting. The setting. What a lovely region of Eastern Scotland mostly heavily associated with St. Andrews golf course and University. This is an unequivocal recommend for British crime readers. Thanks to Canelo and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion.

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    7 person found this review helpful

    7 people found this review helpful

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • A brilliant read

    DI Clare Mackay may have been thinking about finding a good reason to leave her ex boyfriends wedding, but she didn’t wish for this. Sometimes duty calls and in this case, it called her straight out of that awkward situation and into the high profile case of celebrity Gabrielle Fox’s brothers Murder. Now the community of St Andrews eyes are all on Clare and the team to solve the case. The fifth instalment in this fabulous series, Next in Line is another stellar read from Marion Todd. An atmospheric crime thriller with a touch of romance featuring one of my favourite fictional police detectives, I was immediately embroiled in this latest investigation. I once again found myself transported into the pages where I worked alongside the team trying to solve the puzzle and find the missing pieces. There are plenty of potential suspects and along the way, obstacles, red herrings and twists making for a suspenseful read in the lead up to its thrilling conclusion. As I say in every review I have done for the other books in this series, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Throughly researched to deliver the reader an authentic story and real characters that are all brought to life with impeccable writing, Marion Todd is at the top of her game and I can’t wait to read what she comes up with for us next.

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Next in Line

    Detective Clare Mackay crime novels are always very good, as is the quality of the writing.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • An engrossing and atmospheric Scottish mystery

    Despite not yet having read the preceding instalments in Marion Todd's D.I. Clare Mackay series, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Next in Line. It's a well-conceived police procedural, set in and around the picturesque Scottish city of St. Andrews. The book opens with the protagonist, D.I. Clare Mackay, bemusedly attending the wedding of her ex-partner. Fortunately, Clare's given an early excuse to leave, when she's called to an unusual crime scene - a shooting death - at a plush country house outside St. Andrews. Discretion is required, as the murdered man is the brother of television personality Gaby Fox, who Clare briefly met as a fellow guest at the wedding. Clare and her team begin sifting through the clues, interviewing the friends of the victim, Russell Fox, to discern a motive for his murder and following up leads about the presence of a suspicious van seen in the area the previous night. Feathers are ruffled by the arrival of D.C.I. Tony McAvettie, renowned for his sexual shenanigans with junior officers and tendency to take credit for others' work, to oversee the investigation. As the investigation proceeds, the team uncover possible financial motives for Russell's murder and identify a prison sentence he served some years ago as a possible contributor to current events. Can Clare unravel all the tangled threads and identify the killer before they claim another victim? I appreciated that, as well as a strong and complex plotline surrounding the investigation, Next in Line also featured a compelling intertwined narrative focussing on Clare's private life, in particular her developing relationship with D.C.I. Alastair Gibson. Characters were well-developed and believable and the dialogue snappy, with a sprinkling of Scots vernacular. Next in Line was a compelling and entertaining read. I'll certainly be seeking out earlier books in the series for my future reading pleasure. I'd recommend the book to any reader who enjoys well-characterised police procedurals, in the line of Ann Cleeves' Vera Stanhope series and Caroline Graham's D.C.I Barnaby series. Like both those series, I believe this would translate well to television adaptation in the future.

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    2 person found this review helpful

    2 people found this review helpful

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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