It’s my pleasure to be sharing my review of “Mark of the Devil” from Tana Collins. Thank you to Sarah over at Bloodhound and the author for inviting me to take part in the tour and for the ARC to review.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
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?
Mark of The Devil is the third in the Jim Carruthers series, but it is the first that I have read. It can easily be read as a standalone and I didn’t feel that I has missed out on anything by not reading books one and two.
What a hook to kick off the novel. The discovery of a woman’s body at the bottom of the cliffs; slabs of raw meat placed along the top. Add to the mix the theft of some extremely valuable paintings and you might be forgiven for thinking how the hell is the author going to tie all this together? But tie them together she did, right into a neatly packaged, action packed and heart racing 280 pages of brilliance! Part police procedural, part thriller “Mark of the Devil” contains it all from Brexit to people trafficking taking the reader on a journey from a not so very quiet village in Fife to Estonia. It just never let up from the start to finish!
DI Jim Carruthers is the protagonist of the series; he clearly has some baggage from his wife leaving him and his demotion from DSI. In some respects he struck me as slightly old-fashioned in his manner while at the same time there is definitely a little bit of the maverick about him! He is certainly a very observant man, noticing things like a colleagues haircut to the clothes they were wearing. I couldn’t work out if this was endearing or irritating but I certainly enjoyed getting inside of his head!
The rest of the police team, strong-willed DS Andrea Fletcher and DS Gayle Watson alongside the slightly slothlike and traditionalist DS Harris made for an interesting combination. There is obviously a bit of a back story to this trio and while I didn’t need to know it all for this book it certainly piqued my interest and made me want to find out more! Carruthers’ relationship with his superior, Bingham was also explored and it became clear that there have been some difficulties along the way with this partnership and I certainly ended up with a slightly different view of Bingham than I started with by the time I finished the book.
A fast paced, cleverly plotted novel with enough action and police work to keep the armchair detectives amongst us happy. A great sense of place, especially the references to the Viru Hotel in Tallinn in Estonia, giving no spoilers away but I was straight onto Mr Google to check for accuracy and what a fascinating story which gave the novel that added extra edge!
I’m ashamed to say that as a huge Scottish Crime Fiction fan this series has been missed off my radar but now that I’ve discovered Tana Collins I shall certainly be making sure that I follow her work!
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About the author:
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.
Author Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Tana-Collins-490774634440829