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Inspector McLean Books In Order

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Publication Order of Inspector McLean Books

Natural Causes (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Book of Souls (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Hangman's Song (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Dead Men's Bones (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Prayer for the Dead (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Damage Done (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Written in Bones (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Gathering Dark (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Cold as the Grave (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
Bury Them Deep (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
What Will Burn (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
All That Lives (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
For Our Sins (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

Originally a Scottish farmer, James Oswald has now become the latest big name in the world of crime fiction as he’s been making waves with his unique brand of the mystery suspense genre. With their low-key and subtle quality, he’s made a name for himself garnering both commercial and critical acclaim, mainly with the success he’s been receiving surrounding his release of the Inspector McLean series. Featuring the eponymous Inspector of the title, there are for mystery novels so far, each focusing on different cases of his. James Oswald has also written a fantasy series, but it’s his mystery novels for which he’s most famous, as they’re beginning to pick up a lot of momentum. This along with his time running a farm which gives him the space to formulate his ideas, as his environment has helped spawn the seeds for this unique character.

Inspector McLean himself is an Edinburgh based detective who’s run-ins with evil are far too many, as he immerses himself within the shadowy underworld of the city. With grisly murders and bloodthirsty killers, he’s seen his fair share of monsters in his time. As the series continues, it charts his time analyzing these gruesome cases and is a franchise with plenty of room to carry on expanding into the future.

Natural Causes

First published on the 9th of February, 2012, this was to be the novel that brought Inspector McLean onto literary scene, as both his character and his world are established. Setting up Edinburgh as the backdrop to the action, it goes about creating the overall tone and arc of the series that was to follow in the subsequent novels. Establishing the supporting cast too, it provides with his first case which he is to crack, thus providing the framework for him to maneuver within.

With a strong intuition, Inspector McLean is able to sense when there’s evil afoot, which there usually is when looking into the dark and seedy underbelly of Edinburgh. A smart and savvy detective, he relies on his wits to keep his head above water, whilst struggling to deal with being witness to the monstrous deeds that occur throughout the city. His character established then, he is then given his first case; a grisly murder of the most gruesome and horrific kind. One of the elders of the city has been murdered, but it seems like an open and shut case once the supposed killer is quickly discovered within twenty-four hours, leaving him to kill himself before he can go to trial. This would be done with, but a mere few day later something very similar happens when another apparent murderer is discovered fast before killing himself too. With the circumstances surrounding the murders very similar it seems highly suspect, there is something evil afoot in the city, as McLean currently has his own investigation after discovering the body of a girl that was walled up sixty years prior after some form of ritualistic killing. Shortly after that, his grandmother who raised him for so many years dies in a coma leaving him on edge, which is further exacerbated by a cat burglar stealing from the homes of those that have just died. Soon though it appears that there may be a connection between this series of circumstances linking them altogether, as a new form of evil is apparently stalking the darkened streets of Edinburgh. Something so horrible it could be McLean’s greatest challenge yet.

Will they find out who is causing all this and locate the true source of evil that is enveloping the city and its inhabitants? What is truth linking all these gruesome murders and their subsequent killers suicides? Can Inspector McLean stay alive long enough to find out what’s really going on, as learns the real mystery behind all the seemingly natural causes?

The Book of Souls

Number two in the now well regarded Inspector McLean mystery series of novels, this book sets about taking his character even further than what came previously. First published in 2012 on the 22nd of June, it quickly followed up the events of the previous book with its now firmly grounded character and environment. Building on the tone, arc and overall atmosphere, it retains its hardened darkness and grim edges that brought the audience in previously, whilst allowing many new readers easy access with its entirely new mystery and case for McLean to solve.

This time it’s the case of a bloodied series of murders that used to occur every Christmas, as a killer known as the ‘Christmas Killer’ was known to strike leaving a naked young woman to be found with her throat slit in Edinburgh. The murderer then made one fatal mistake though and that was killing McLean’s then fiancee, leaving him to put an end to it once for all. Until now that is, twelve years later. Opening old wounds again, it appears the original Christmas Killer has been killed in his cell, as a new one has started a killing spree in a similar fashion to what came before every Christmas. Finding that there may have been more to the case than originally met the eye, McLean must journey back to a painful part of his life to uncover the truth of what really happened.

Will the killer reveal themselves this time allowing justice to finally be done, or will they evade capture? Can McLean overcome the terrible trauma after what happened before and cope with the case set out before him? What will become of them all as they learn the truth behind the Book of Souls?

The Inspector McLean Series

There has been a lot attention focused on these novels lately with a number of features in the mainstream press charting the rise of James Oswald as an author going up. Examining his career, his appeal has widened and this is something that’s expected to only increase with every new novel that subsequently released. With their dark and foreboding atmosphere, they create a darker world than ever before, with their threatening and claustrophobic atmosphere that explores the seedier side of life. This is something that looks set to continue as Oswald shows no signs of stopping any time soon with more titles expected on the horizon.

Book Series In Order » Characters » Inspector McLean

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