Taken for Dead by Graham Masterton


When DI Katie Maguire gets asked to attend a wedding, it isn’t unfortunately as a guest…something rather gruesome has turned up in the cake, the head of the baker (a bit of a spoiler, sorry, but it’s in the blurb online so I figured even if I didn’t spill the beans, the publisher has).  When they find his wife, she tells them he’s been missing for over a week, taken by The High Kings of Erin in return for more money than she could ever hope to raise.  They are, it seems, as good as bankrupt thanks to the financial crash.

At first, it looks like this is a one-off but then another local businessman goes missing.  He, too, is close to broke and The High Kings claim responsibility.  They also take to taunting Katie, always seeming to be one step ahead of her and taking pleasure in killing anyone who gets in their way.  It doesn’t help that Katie’s boss doesn’t think she’s worth a jot – given her job because she’s a woman – and uses every slip to show her up.  Of course, he might not dislike her so much if she wasn’t investigating him as well as the kidnappings.  It’s all quite a tangled web that moves at quite a pace.

As with all good detectives, Katie eventually comes out on top but not before a fairly high body count and some pretty gruesome and gory murders. There is more gore than I like nowadays but as I am somewhat committed to the series I tended to forgive this because the style hasn’t changed since the first book, it’s my tastes that have. As Graham Masterton is also a horror writer, I think a bit of gore should probably be expected.

The threads of the plot all tie in nicely together in the end and left me feeling pretty happy with the outcomes.  The only element I didn’t like was a storyline involving Katie’s neighbour.  I understood why it was there – or think I do as it seems to be a set up for book five – but it felt tagged on and given than Katie’s supposed to be a tough cop her behaviour here didn’t seem to fit.  This did mean I didn’t enjoy the book as much as I have others or as much as I might have because it distracted me.  Leaving me liking this book but not loving it.



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