The McIlvanney Prize is Bloody Scotland’s annual prize awarded to the best Scottish Crime book of the year. It provides Scottish crime writing with recognition and aims to raise the profile and prestige of the genre as a whole. Scottish roots are a must for competition applications: authors must either be born in Scotland, live there or set their books there. Crime fiction, non-fiction and anthologies of short crime stories are all eligible. The prize was renamed in memory of William McIlvanney, often described as the Godfather of Tartan Noir, in 2016.
For the second year in a row, I was honoured to be a reader for the prestigious McIlvanney Prize for #BloodyScotland.
This involves readers being sent 5 random books to read and score out of 10. The scores are all sent back to the team at Bloody Scotland and the long list is created from the top scorers. It is all done in secret and while some readers know other readers involved we agree not to discuss any of the books that we have read with each other, or with anyone else.
In the run up to #BloodyScotland I’ll be giving #pintsized reviews of the books I was allocated to read for this year’s long list.
Fifth on my list was Written in Bones from James Oswald
What the blurb says:
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…
My pint-sized review:
An intelligent and complex plot that fired my imagination from the very beginning. It had tension, corruption and well-rounded and engaging characters. Although I hadn’t read any of the previous books in this series, I didn’t feel at a loss, it was easy to pick up the pace and the back stories and simply served to pique my interest in the rest of the series. Reading this plunged me into the depths of a twisted hell in the streets of a wintry Edinburgh, it kept me guessing right up until the very end!
James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. Set in an Edinburgh not so different to the one we all know, Detective Inspector Tony McLean is the unlucky policeman who can see beneath the surface of ordinary criminal life to the dark, menacing evil that lurks beneath.
As J D Oswald, James has also written a classic fantasy series, The Ballad of Sir Benfro. Inspired by the language and folklore of Wales, it follows the adventures of a young dragon, Sir Benfro, in a land where his kind have been hunted near to extinction by men. The whole series is now available in print, e-book and audio formats.
James has pursued a varied career – from Wine Merchant to International Carriage Driving Course Builder via Call Centre Operative and professional Sheep Shit Sampler (true). He currently lives in a large caravan inside a Dutch Barn in Fife, with three dogs and two cats. He farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day writes disturbing fiction by night.
You can buy the book by clicking the link below: