Last year during a brief sojourn between lockdowns I discovered a second-hand bookshop not far from where I live. It’s a perfect little place as its just stacked with books and once we are released into the still slightly controlled wild, crosses fingers for at least tier three when they let us out again, I shall be heading to Ironbridge Bookshop almost immediately as I look for more books to try out this year.
While perusing their selection, which I had to do quickly as this wasn’t a planned visit and the rest of my support bubble were outside waiting to move on, I spotted a book with a familiar author. I’m fairly certain that I read a James Oswald book last year, but I can’t remember which one. I’d love to blame the pandemic for my memory loss, but I think it may have been that I simply didn’t have to write a review of it so its faded into memory along with the other books I borrowed from the library. I do know that I enjoyed enough to buy this one and after finishing it rapidly, I’m keen to go back to the beginning and start the series again.
James Oswald is the latest Scottish crime author I’ve added to my reading lists. I’ve read Val McDermid and Ian Rankin for years and recently added Stuart MacBride to the shelves. Since I can only recall holidaying in Scotland once as a child, I have to assume it’s the writing that’s drawing me in since I have no idea where the locations mentioned are.
Bury Them Deep was slow to draw me in, partly because I hadn’t given myself over to the book properly, and partly because the beginning of a book like this (tenth in a series) doesn’t need to give you the back story on the character, and nor do I want it to as that just adds words I don’t need to read. The flip side to that is that it can take a bit longer to get pulled in. Once I sat down and read this though I couldn’t put it down, almost ignoring meals to get through it. Friends and family are probably impressed enough by that statement to go our and read the book. Suffice to say that I do not look like someone who misses many meals. I even stood in the kitchen next to the oven to finish the last fifty pages while simultaneously making sure I didn’t burn my dinner.
The book opens with an extract from another about the mythical character Sawney Bean. As best I can tell this is scary story told to Scottish kids to scare them into doing as they’re told. Oswald then weaves this fairytale into a story involving dogging, billionaires returning home, and fraud with a slight whiff of CIA involvement. What’s not to love? Throw in characters called Grumpy Bob and the mysterious Mrs. McCutcheon’s cat, and woman who makes artwork about mass graves and genocide and it covers almost all the bases. If that sounds a bit bitchy, it’s not meant to. It shouldn’t all go together and yet James Oswald pulls you in so well that you can’t help but want to know what happens next.
This is the fifth review I’ve written, and I’ve tried to follow the advice from MsWas in the FAW section, but I haven’t as yet provided a quote. This time though I have one, “making a sound that was enough to put a blind man off his pudding” I amongst the horrors described, this made me laugh out loud and convinced me that reading the rest of the series is the right thing to do