ARC Book Review: Written in Bones by James Oswald

Written in BonesTitle: Written in Bones
Author: James Oswald
Genre: Crime / Mystery 
23rd February 2017
Publisher: Michael Joseph
Pages: 670
Started: 25th February 2017
Completed: 28th February 2017
Rating: 4.5/5
Summary: When a body is found in a tree in The Meadows, Edinburgh’s scenic parkland, the forensics suggest the corpse has fallen from a great height. Detective Inspector Tony McLean wonders whether it was an accident, or a murder designed to send a chilling message? The dead man had led quite a life: a disgraced ex-cop turned criminal kingpin who reinvented himself as a celebrated philanthropist. As McLean traces the victim’s journey, it takes him back to Edinburgh’s past, and through its underworld – crossing paths with some of its most dangerous and most vulnerable people. And waiting at the end of it all, is the truth behind a crime that cuts to the very heart of the city…

I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, James Oswald, and the publisher, Michael Joseph, for this opportunity.

Written in Bones is the 7th book in the Inspector McLean series by James Oswald. Oswald has also written a fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro, which currently has four book in it.

You can find out more about the author from his own website:

Firstly, I’d like to make a recommendation. You should probably read the first six books in the series before reading this one. I didn’t and I found myself confused by references to the other books. There aren’t any major spoilers for the other books in Written in Bones so I’m really excited about going back and reading them but some little bits of info included in this book would make more sense if you read the other books first.

I really enjoyed the writing style in this book. I loved the use of Scottish phrases and pronunciation because it really adds to the sense of place and atmosphere. The phonetic spelling used isn’t off putting to people from other countries because it isn’t unreadable. I have encountered phonetics before, especially for my own Yorkshire accent, where they’d genuinely be unreadable to people from other countries, or even other counties. That isn’t the case with this book because the use of phonetic spelling enhances the reader experience.

The plot is fantastic too. James Oswald really knows how to weave a mystery and it kept me guessing until the end. The mystery continues to unravel right until the end of the book. I’m not including any spoilers in this review but it’s a thrilling plot and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Finally, I thought that the characters were really well written. Inspector McLean was obviously my favourite character because he’s intelligent, resourceful, but also not a cliché. I did like the side characters too including Deputy Chief Constable Steve ‘Call-me-Stevie’ Robinson, Grumpy Bob, and PC Harrison. Every character is well-rounded and believable.

I’d thoroughly recommend this book. It’s a fantastic read which will keep you gripped until the end.

I plan on reading the first six books before buying this one for myself.


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