I have been bingeing on Denzil Meyrick’s DCI Jim Daley series and today I’m sharing my review of “The Rat Stone Serenade”.
Here’s what the official blurb says:
It’s December, and the Shannon family are returning home to their clifftop mansion near Kinloch for their annual AGM. Shannon International is one of the world’s biggest private companies, with tendrils reaching around the globe in computing, banking and mineral resourcing, and it has brought untold wealth and privilege to the family. However, a century ago Archibald Shannon stole the land upon which he built their home – and his descendants have been cursed ever since.
When heavy snow cuts off Kintyre, DCI Jim Daley and DS Brian Scott are assigned to protect their illustrious visitors. As an ancient society emerges from the blizzards, and its creation, the Rat Stone, reveals grisly secrets, ghosts of the past come to haunt the Shannons. As the curse decrees, death is coming – but for whom and from what?
The 4th in the D.C.I. Daley series starts off 100 years ago as the Shannon family attempt an eviction of The Stuart’s, their tenants resulting in a curse being laid at the door of The Shannon’s to land on them every 50 years. Has the curse come back to haunt them?
There is a touch of The Wickerman about this book and that supernatural element combined with an atmospheric sense of place made this a much more spooky read than the others. A high body count and ghostly goings out mean you will be asked to suspend your disbelief to enjoy this novel to the fullest – but you know what, it’s fiction right! So do yourself a favour and get that disbelief hung high and settle down and enjoy a damn good story because Denzil Meyrick excels in his storytelling skills! Location is a key element in this series and once again the author takes you smack bang into the middle of it all, this time it’s in the middle of winter and the remoteness of the area is portrayed exceedingly well and will have you wrapping a blanket around yourself as you read.
Chief Superintendent Symington has replaced John Donald and it is clear that there is something in her past that haunts her. And while on the subject of haunting well DS Brian Scott has been tasked with persuading Jim to withdraw his resignation but soon finds himself caught up in another investigation in the not so sleepy little town of Kinloch.
Brian is one of those characters that you cannot fail to engage with, there is a real authenticity about him, from his dialogue to his very real experience of PTSD and how he deals with it through the bottom of a whisky bottle. I really find myself getting right inside of his head. Haunted by hallucinations he is unsure if this is the withdrawal from alcohol causing this or something more sinister.
In this book DCI Jim Daley is feeling conflicted, does he want to go through with his resignation and is his heart really with Liz or is he pining for DS Mary Dunn. I could almost feel his anguish in this book. I love his relationship with Brian Scott, it is perfect as the two men bounce off each other and their dark sense of humour and fearless approach to policing means that they are a perfect combination!
We are talking feuding families with dark and deep-rooted secrets combined with an almost supernatural historical edge to it, cults, ghosts and death there is guilt, dysfunction and double dealings all deliciously wrapped up with fast paced twists and turns. So many deaths and little clues dropped like breadcrumbs leading you down a twisted path until you reach the dramatic conclusion!
Littered with that classic dark humour that the author does so well and packed to the brim with intricate plotting and a host of unreliable narrators, The Rat Stone Serenade will keep you on your toes throughout. This police procedural is a thriller and perfect for those armchair detectives who like to exercise the old gray matter!
The Rat Stone Serenade is available to purchase from: