Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Written in Bones: James Oswald review

Written in Bones

By: James Oswald
Rating: 3 Star

Written in Bones opens dramatically with the gruesome murder of Bill Chalmers, an ex-policeman turned drug kingpin who is found dead high up in a tree in the Meadows, Edinburgh.

Detective Inspector McLean is called in to investigate the murder and the more immediate question of how the body ended up being dropped from the sky.




This is the 7th book in the McLean series and after I enjoyed Natural Causes and The Book of Souls so much I was really looking forward to the latest instalment.

I somehow missed a few of the series though and if you have missed any books before Written in Bones then I'd really recommend catching up with them first because the book is full of flashback references and characters referring obliquely back to 'that incident' or 'the fire' (which I knew nothing about).

Regardless, I carried on with the story and largely enjoyed it, although the final section with the reveal of the main plot (and the bond-esque super villain) did stretch the grounds of plausibility a little too far for me.

The character of McLean also seemed to be lapsing into your typical grizzled detective persona in this story, whereas my recollection of the earlier books was that he was quite a refreshing change from the norm.

After seven outings it is now easy to play detective character trait bingo with McLean and/or compare him with other famous fictional detectives:

  1. Often goes against management orders when investigating crimes
  2. Drives unusual/noteworthy car
  3. Carries lots of emotional baggage
  4. Finds it difficult to sleep, constantly thinking of case
  5. Lots of musing with Whisky/other alcoholic drink in darkened rooms
This was an enjoyable crime thriller with a satisfying end. I will be sure to read the McLean novels in order going forward.


I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.