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** My thanks to Sarah at Bloodhound Books for my copy of this and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **

 

Description:

While Inspector Jim Carruthers and team are busy investigating a series of art thefts they receive an anonymous tip about the body of a young woman on a deserted beach.

The bizarre clues to her identity, and what might have happened to her, include a strange tattoo, a set of binoculars and slab of meat left on the cliffs.

The team’s investigations lead them to a local shooting estate and its wealthy owner Barry Cuthbert. However, Carruthers suspects Cuthbert is not all he seems and the DI soon starts to wonder if the cases of the missing works of art, the dead woman and the estate are connected.

Then when the body of a young gamekeeper is pulled from the sea tensions boil over. The trail of clues lead the team to the unlikely locale of Tallinn and into the sinister world of international crime and police corruption.

Needing answers Carruthers must look further afield than Fife. However, the closer he gets to discovering the truth the more danger he finds himself in.

Since everyone who crosses the vengeful killers seem to end up dead, can Carruthers solve the case with his life in tact?

 

My Thoughts & Review:

From the outset I have to admit to breaking my own rule of reading a series in order, this is the first book of the Jim Carruthers detective series that I’ve read and in all honesty, it reads pretty well as a stand alone novel.  There are enough details about past events revealed to allow readers to understand the characters and their back stories without bogging down the plot in the current novel. 

Jim Carruthers is an interesting character and one that I really took a liking to, he cared about his team (the ones that wanted to be there and actually do the job), he cared about the investigations he was working on and wasn’t afraid to push himself to the limit to get answers, even when it meant putting himself in the line of danger.
There are some truly damaged characters in this novel, some who have managed to move on from the events in their lives and exist more comfortably, but there are some who carry the scars and thoughts with them in their daily life.  The struggles make these characters more relatable and gives them a layer of reality that readers need to connect with them.

The plot is a whirlwind of action and intrigue, a dead body on a beach, binoculars and chunks of meat on a clifftop….just how do these connect?  And with artworks being stolen from their wealthy owners this makes for a case that Carruthers and his team need to solve quickly before anyone else ends up dead.
The investigation leads Carruthers to Estonia and I have to say the pace really does gallop merrily onwards from here, and I found that I was equally intrigued by the events occurring around our protagonist as I was the events from the hotel’s history.  Having an interest in the cold war, I found the links to the hotel’s past fascinating and will definitely be looking into this further.

The descriptions of the settings were really fantastic, having been to some of the wee villages around Fife, I found that I could well imagine the coastal settings and the isolated beach, the steep climb to the tattoo shop (reminded me a little of Pittenweem), giving the reader a wonderful feeling of being able to “see” things in this book.

You can buy a copy of Mark of the Devil via Amazon UK

 

About the Author:

Profile Picture 2017

Edinburgh based Tana Collins is the author of the popular Jim Carruthers detective series set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published February 2017, became a No 1 Amazon bestseller for Scottish crime fiction.  Care to Die, the follow up in the series, also became a Top 10 Amazon bestseller. Published on 1st June 2017 Care to Die was described by Peter Robinson, author of DCI Banks,  as  “A finely plotted mystery. Tana Collins racks up the suspense on this one. DI Jim Carruthers is a cop to watch.”  In September 2017 having won one of the coveted Spotlight places at Bloody Scotland Tana supported Lynda La Plante on stage.

Her third novel, Mark of the Devil, is to be published 24th April 2018. Author Leigh Russell writes of it, “A cracking read. The suspense never lets up.”

Tana is a trained Massage Therapist and Stress Management Consultant.

 

Social Media Links:

Website: tanacollins.com

Twitter: @TanaCollins7

Author Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829

 

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