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I originally came across <i>Natural Causes</i>, the first Inspector McLean novel, by sheer chance. I often check out the top 100 free kindle books to see what I can read for minimum cost. The majority of these titles are self published but every so often a traditionally published author will offer the first book in the series for free in order to increase exposure of their series,

Now, I downloaded this book a few months before I actually read it, I believe I downloaded it whilst it was still self-published but I can’t be certain. The series has since been picked up by publisher Penguin and the series is going from strength to strength. The first two books were shortlisted for the Crime Debut Dagger Award and have received many complimentary reviews on Amazon.

The third book The Hangman is due out February 2014 and Oswald has confirmed a further three books to be published by Penguin over the following eighteen months after that. I am debating preordering The Hangman book as I will be paying full price at £7.99*, something I haven’t done since I discovered amazon.co.uk with the exception of the final installment of Harry Potter although I think Waterstones or Asda discounted the RRP. Because I read so much I find it difficult to justify spending £8 on a book, £4 however is perfectly acceptable but I would prefer them to be free kindle downloads. Writers have bills to pay too I guess.

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So with that out of the way, I should really tell you what the books are about.

The Inspector McLean series is an easy to read crime series set in Edinburgh. The protagonist is a single man who does what he thinks is right, regardless of if he incurs the wrath of his superiors. As with most series, he has his own problems which seep into his every day life of solving crimes. You get to piece together his history and demons throughout the first book but it is the second book where you get to find out the details.

Both books have a twist of the supernatural behind them lending a fresh perspective on the crime genre. It does not stick to the generic whodunnit formula either. As a reader you aren’t constantly trying to figure out who the bad guy is. The main focus is on the characters within the plot and not the plot itself. The only guessing the reader needs to worry about is if there will be a supernatural or natural explanation to the crimes committed.

This series comes highly recommended for people who enjoy crime fiction and I would suggest people who don’t to give it a try as it is does a bad job of sticking to the rules of its genre.

 

*Price correct at time of publication

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I read all three books in such a short amount of time I decided I needed to do something other than reading. There is no way I could have read so much without literally doing nothing else. I even to a break to read another book entirely between the second and third book.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo introduces the characters of Blomkvist and Salander and their inquisitive nature to uncover the truth. The book opens with Blomkvist’s indictment for libel concerning a financial empire he has written a condemning article about. A sabbatical he hopes will provide an answer to his struggling magazine takes him on an intriguing journey to solve a murder that happened many years ago.

The first book is a story on its own whereas the second two books are one story split into two. All of the action being in The Girl who Played with Fire and the tedious investigation taking up about 80% of The girl who kicked the hornets nest. If you can’t tell I struggled with the last book but I still had to find out how it all ended up.

The journalism aspect of the trilogy is extremely relevant today with the controversy surrounding the tabloids. Blomkvist and his reporters dig up information using questionable and perhaps illegal means. And the reporters aren’t the only spies. The government agencies and some law enforcers also have the means to acquire illegitimate information. However Larsson leads the reader to sympathise with the causes, these people need to be exposed. The public has a right to know.

And essentially the reporters decided we had a right to know the most intimate details of a “celebrity’s” life. I use the term loosely as not all targets were particularly famous, just the by product of a reality tv show ten seasons past its sell by date.

Here I think is where the reporters went wrong. There was no public interest in the stories they published about who slept with who, just mild curiosity. Now if they had uncovered a conspiracy or a terrorist plot they would have been hailed as heroes. But, unfortunately, sex sells better than mystery. Greed got the better of their shady morals and now they are being punished for it.

Perhaps in future they will print celeb focused drivel and write something interesting about the world.

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