EXCERPT: ‘Hey, look.’ Bainsey shone the light across the floor, catching a maggot-ridden goat’s head perched on a red velvet chaise longue; from it ran a trickle of dried liquid, two bright goblets on either side. Two daggers, their blades dull and stained, were arranged in between. There was a black figurine, goat-headed, winged and fork-tailed as a centrepiece and, as the beam of light dropped, he saw the inverted cross and the charred book. Even he could guess, from its feather-thin pages, that it was a bible.
He started saying something that Scotto couldn’t make out, then his eyes closed, opened again, and he smiled before moving the light down, giggling a little, jerking the phone, causing the beam to drop suddenly where it caught the ghostly white face staring at the ceiling with nacreous clouded eyes. Unable to stop himself, he looked along. Another face. Then another. Five of them in a row, cheek to cheek.
ABOUT ‘THE DEVIL STONE’: In the small Highland village of Cronchie, a wealthy family are found brutally murdered in a satanic ritual and their heirloom, ‘the devil stone’, is the only thing stolen. The key suspects are known satanists – case closed? But when the investigating officer disappears after leaving the crime scene, DCI Christine Caplan is pulled in to investigate from Glasgow in a case that could restore her reputation.
Caplan knows she is being punished for a minor misdemeanour when she is seconded to the Highlands, but ever the professional, she’s confident she can quickly solve the murders, and return home to her fractious family. But experience soon tells her that this is no open and shut case.
She suspects the murder scene was staged, and with the heir to the family estate missing, there is something more at play than a mythical devil stone. As she closes in on the truth, it is suddenly her life, not her reputation that is danger! Will Caplan’s first Highland murder case be her last?
MY THOUGHTS: The Devil Stone is the first crime thriller in a new series featuring the recently demoted DI Christine Caplan. She’s very good at her job – no one is arguing about that – but the result of her being distracted from the job by her fractious family has resulted in her demotion. A demotion that no one is easily going to let her forget. The mistake she has taken responsibility for is the source of much good and not-so-good natured ribbing.
The problems with her husband Aklen are treated like some sort of mystery with little bits of information dribbled out throughout the book. Personally, I found this really annoying. I was waiting for this big reveal, something shocking, traumatic. It wasn’t and I would rather have had this information from the start. She also has problems with teenage son, Kenny. Daughter Emma is intelligent, kind and focused.
Christine’s team on this case are a mixed bag. Kinsella, an inexperienced DCI – Christine’s old rank, is pleasant and seems to have a good human touch. But while he is struggling under the weight of his new responsibilities, he seems to be wary of trusting Christine and including her in the investigation. He has teamed her with Craigo, who seems to be a truly unremarkable man. He is the butt of the jokes of the team, and they constantly play pranks on him, for which he falls every time. But in reality, he is bright and hard working, quiet and thoughtful. He has good instincts, but is disinclined to share them. Gourlay is ambitious, and not too choosy about the methods he uses to get to where he wants to be.
There are some incredible characters in this book that I hope we will be seeing more of as the series progresses.
There are multiple threads to this story including police corruption and drug trafficking. There were times during the read that I felt a little confused, but everything is tied up neatly at the end.
I: : #caroramsay @severnhouseimprint
T: @CaroRamsayBooks @severnhouse
#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #familydrama #murdermystery #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Caro Ramsay was born and brought up in Glasgow, and now lives in a village on the west coast of Scotland. She is an osteopath, acupuncturist and former marathon runner, who devotes much of her time to the complementary treatment of injured wildlife at a local rescue centre. (Amazon)
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Severn House via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Silent Conversation by Caro Ramsay for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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