Cover Image: The Blood Tide

The Blood Tide

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Member Reviews

Neil Lancaster lands another engaging tale of murder, corruption and the eternal fight between criminals and the forces of law and order. As with his previous novel, most of the action takes place across Scotland and we renew our acquaintances with old friends from the earlier investigation. 

The body count steadily mounts in this tale of smuggling, drug dealing and police corruption at the highest level, whilst Lancaster’s ability to ratchet up the tension as the narrative reaches its tidy denouement is once again in evidence. For sure, there is a need to suspend disbelief here and there, with - once again - the author’s resort to our hero’s mysterious ex-special forces friend having a distinctly ‘deus ex machina’ feel about it.

None of this, however, stands in the way of this being a thoroughly satisfying yarn that would not let me turn off the light once I’d passed the 50% mark.
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The Blood Tide by Neil Lancaster is the second book in the DS Max Craigie Scottish Crime Thriller Series and follow up to the excellent Dead Mans Grave,. What an excellent book this was again. I was hooked from the beginning till the very end. This book was full of great twists and turns throughout and I love the DS Max Craigie character. 

I am looking forward to the next book in this series and I highly recommend this series.

Big Thank you to Netgalley and HQ for an ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review
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A pacy thriller set in the West of Scotland. I hadn’t realised this was the second book in a series when I requested it but the fact I haven’t read the first one didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this one.
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Thousands of miles of unprotected coastline have made Scotland very attractive to drug smugglers in Neil Lancaster’s new crime novel The Blood Tide. The follow up to the excellent Dead Man’s Grave once again sees DS Max Craigie and DC Janey Calder trying to root out corrupt officers at the very highest level in Scottish law enforcement agencies.  
The disappearance of a fisherman from the shores of Loch Torridon, and the suicide of an NCA officer who feels his only course of action is to jump from the Erskine Bridge seem, initially, to have nothing to connect them. When an old friend and colleague of Max’s is found dead in ambiguous circumstances, and also happened to be the officer who tried to prevent the suicide on the bridge, Max’s suspicions are aroused.
Once again, we get to travel around Scotland, and view the glorious scenery, as Max and his team investigate how the criminals always seem to be one step ahead. Neil Lancaster was formerly an officer in the Met, but his love of his adopted home country shines through. His former experience also lends an authentic feel to the details of the crime scenes and how the investigations are carried out.
The characters are well written and convincing, the action is fast paced and gripping, and the humorous banter helps to take the edge off the horrific violence they encounter on a daily basis. Although you could read The Blood Tide as a standalone, it would make more sense to read Dead Man’s Grave first or you will have more questions than answers. Thanks to HarperCollins and NetGalley for a digital copy to review. I have already ordered the paperback, and am looking forward to the third book in the series, The Night Watch, due to be published later in the year.
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This is the second in the series and delivers another sharply written crime story, Spot on.  More please.
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The Blood Tide is a pacy and tense detective thriller. The characters are very well developed with distinct personalities and I found them to be believable. The storyline held my attention to the end with twists and turns along the way. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good detective thriller.

My thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for a complimentary copy to read and review.
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Dead Man's Grave was a great debut for a new Tartan Noir series and this second instalment is even better.
A gripping, adrenaline-fuelled, and well written story that kept me turning pages.
A complex plot, a well developed cast of characters, excellent storytelling.
Can't wait to read the next one.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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If you missed out on Dead Man’s Grave last year then the good news is that it recently released in paperback and is available in all your favourite book-buying places. The other good news is that Dead Man’s Grave is the first book in what I am calling “an unmissable new series” so you should grab a copy as soon as possible and catch up on the exploits of DS Max Cragie.

The Blood Tide, which is why we are here today, is the second Cragie book. It picks up after the events of Dead Man’s Grave and Craigie is about to get drawn into another tension packed adventure. While The Blood Tide can be read as a stand-alone title there are recurring characters across the two stories where knowing their background will help you understand why they undertake certain actions in the second book.

On the shores of western Scotland a small boat is coming ashore with a significant supply of class A drugs on board. There is a sole occupant in the boat but he knows he is meeting a friend when he reaches land and he will be well paid for the risks he is taking. What he had not anticipated was encountering two strangers on the shore and he was even more unprepared for what happens next. Perhaps the payment wasn’t quite enough or he underestimated the level of risk he was taking?

Next we head south to the Erskine Bridge. A cop on his way home at the end of a long shift spots a man on the edge of the bridge ready to jump. He stops and tries to talk down this desperate stranger but the man is terrified and after telling the cop there is nothing he nor anyone else can say or do to protect his family from the powerful, dangerous people he steps off the bridge.

The event leaves the cop badly shaken but he writes up the incident and realises the terrified man had implied there were police involved in the threat against his family. He calls his friend Max Craigie to tell him about the incident and Max agrees to meet him to discuss this further. But before the meeting can take place there is another death and Craigie believes there is a dangerous connection.

I really don’t want to get too much deeper into the events of The Blood Tide as I want to avoid too many spoiler possibilites. Suffice to say Lancaster’s recognisable patterns of tension, explosive drama and putting his lead characters through peril and trauma are very much present. It is exactly what you want from a crime thriller, think “one more chapter” and you’re there.

Drugs and corruption are powerful motivators and people will do anthing to protect their interests when both are involved. Craigie and his colleagues, Janie and Ross, will have their work cut out to identify where the risks lie and their lives will be in danger – even if they don’t know it. When you investigate the colleagues around you it is impossible to know who you can trust.

There are more than a few shocks and twists waiting within the pages of The Blood Tide. I had been in a bit of a reading slump before I picked this book up and it blew away those cobwebs. High stakes, fast paced and wonderfully realised characters, do not miss out on this series.
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This is the first book I have read featuring DS Max Craigie, there is a previous book but not having read it did not affect the enjoyment of this book.
This book is fast paced and easy to get into, a real page turner.. The characters are well described and believable.. 
It begins with  a suicide and a missing fisherman but develops far beyond those two events.

Thanks to NetGalley & HQ for a advanced copy to review
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This is the second book in the DS Max Craigie series and I think this one was even better than the first!

This book is so well written, its fast paced and full of some brilliant banter from some great characters.

I honestly could not put this book down! Can't wait for the next installment!!!
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Wow this is the first book I have read featuring DS Max Craigie and loved the story and the characters. Fast moving and keeps you wanting more and find out why a man's suicide and a fisherman who goes missing is linked and to whom.
A real page turner and can't wait for the next one.
Thanks to NetGalley & HQ publishers for a advanced copy.
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My thanks to NetGalley and publisher HQ for the electronic copy.

Wow! - well-written, fast-moving, full of action and full of interesting characters.  This is really good - a real page-turner.  Set around the west coast of Scotland, it's a story of police corruption, drug smuggling and murder which involves DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder: this small team led by DI Ross Fraser  - the Police Standards Reassurance Unit - they work in the shadows but have access to any and all resources they need.  For this particular "episode", tech-wizard Norma is seconded to the team - and she certainly earns her keep!

Fisherman Jimmy McLeish from Torridon, a small village on the coast, needs money;  he's smuggling drugs into a deserted Loch but, after encountering two strangers - he disappeared.

PC Hamish Beatty encounters a potential suicide on the Erskine Bridge.  Murdo Smith, an analyst with the NCA, desperately tells Hamish why he has to jump - including the murder of a man at Torridon.  Not least, Murdo implicates the Police, NCA and Customs - hence he couldn't trust anyone to help him. Hamish tells Max about that conversation and Max gets on the case.  
Meanwhile, Max's nemesis Tam Hardie, in HMP Edinburgh, gets visit from two strangers - Davie and Calum - who want to use Hardie's drug network for themselves, and in the process disrupt his rival Scally's supply routes.  They had access to information to allow that to happen.

As Max tries to link the missing fisherman case with that of Murdo Smith he and his team begin to realise there is something bigger going on, especially when the bodies start to pile up.  But Max is anything but conventional and he throws everything into the mix to root out the corruption.

I absolutely love the interactions of Max and his team - lots of "choice" language, banter and humour; they are all great characters.  There's lots of twists and surprises - quite a bit of violence, but I think that's expected.  Even Max's Auntie Elspeth makes a contribution to a satisfying conclusion.

A very enjoyable and un-put-downable read.
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The second book featuring DS Max Craigie. A fisherman goes missing without a trace and a terrified young man jumps off a bridge to his death; both events seem connected and Craigie is determined to find out how. This a wonderful police procedural set in Scotland. The banter between Craigie and his team is well done. I will definitely go back and read the first book.  Thanks to HQ Stories and NetGalley for  a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book!  I was very excited to read it, especially after I had read and enjoyed the first book in the series last year.  The book is a police procedural set in Scotland, and the main team consists of Max, Janie and Ross, who are superb together.  I love Max and Ross is hilarious.  Norma also comes in as a new addition to the team.  Max' family members also make an appearance; they are Katie, Elspeth and Nutmeg the dog.  The story follows on from the story in the first book, and it is just as thrilling and exciting.  It has a lot of action, corruption, murder and fast paced adventures, which kept me engrossed.  Highly recommended!

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the 2nd book in the Max Craigie Scottish Crime series. Max Craigie, Janie Calder and Ross Fraser are the main police characters back again. It's best to start with Book 1 to get the background on these characters. Tom Hardie was arrested and was sent to prison in book 1. He is plotting and planning to get back at Max. Tom is also heavy into dealing his drugs from his prison cell. A fisherman goes missing, a young man jumps from a bridge and commits suicide and a Police Constable is murdered. Are these events related?  When Tom escapes from prison is Max's life in jeopardy? Is there a traitor in the police department? The plot is gripping and twists and turns kept the pages turning. The author's descriptions of Scottish scenery make you feel like you are actually there. The dialogue between characters felt very real to me. I will definitely continue with this series in the future. If you like mystery thrillers set in Scotland then I'm sure you will enjoy this one. I would like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins HQ for allowing me to read this for an honest review.
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Having read the first book, Dead Man's Grave, I had high expectations for the second book in the series and I was not disappointed. Whilst it is a follow on from the first book, it can still be read if you haven't read the first one.

A fisherman disappears from a remote loch, never to be seen again. A young man jumps from a bridge in Glasgow, terrified for his life and telling the policeman who tries to stop him it is the only way to escape. Hamish, the policeman, suspects there is more to this than meets the eye and gets in touch with Max Craigie alerting him to his suspicions. Before Max can investigate Hamish is found dead. Is there police corruption at the highest level? Are the drug barons moving in on open territory? Max and his team need to find out.

The Blood Tide is a riveting thriller that will keep you reading to find out the ending. The characters are full and the team work well together through out the police procedure. Definitely one to read
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A young man jumps to his death from a high bridge in Glasgow, a fisherman disappears from a Highland sea-loch.    DI Max Craigie, now working in a small anti-corruption unit, finds a link between the cases.  A gang boss who Max put away escapes from prison and all of a sudden its all coming back to threaten Max and his loved ones.Fast paced and at times very violent, this is a proper thriller.
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You get away with murder.
In a remote sea loch on the west coast of Scotland, a fisherman vanishes without trace. His remains are never found.
You make people disappear.
A young man jumps from a bridge in Glasgow and falls to his death in the water below. DS Max Craigie uncovers evidence that links both victims. But if he can’t find out what cost them their lives, it won’t be long before more bodies turn up at the morgue…
You come back for revenge.
Soon cracks start to appear in the investigation, and Max’s past hurtles back to haunt him. When his loved ones are threatened, he faces a terrifying choice: let the only man he ever feared walk free, or watch his closest friend die…

This is a wonderful addition to this thrilling series!
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and action with wonderful world building  that adds so much to the story.
Such a thrilling read that I couldn't put it down.
Can't wait to read more of these.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary
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EXCERPT: 'We need to get in there,' Janie said.

Max rattled the door, his stomach beginning to tighten.

Janie went to the decking. She picked up a length of plastic packing strap that had been securing the decking slats together. Within a few seconds she had fashioned a flexible hook. She reached through the cat-flap and passed the loop over the bunch of keys and tugged sharply. The keys fell to the floor.

'Nice,' said Max.

'It's from working with you and your cockney burglar techniques.'

Within seconds Max was inside the spotless kitchen, sniffing the air once more.

It was faint, but unmistakable. Every cop knew this smell. It started off faint, a mere suggestion of something, just like Max was detecting now. His stomach tightened, his heart began to pound. Max knew. He knew right away.


ABOUT 'THE BLOOD TIDE': You get away with murder.
In a remote sea loch on the west coast of Scotland, a fisherman disappears without trace. His remains are never found.

You make people disappear.
A young man jumps from a bridge in Glasgow and falls to his death in the water below. D. S. Max Craigie uncovers evidence that links both victims. But if he can’t find out what cost them their lives, it won’t be long before more bodies turn up at the morgue…

You come back for revenge.
Soon cracks start to appear in the investigation, and Max’s past hurtles back to haunt him. When his loved ones are threatened, he faces a terrifying choice: let the only man he ever feared walk free, or watch his closest friend die…

MY THOUGHTS: I haven't yet read the first book in this series, Dead Man's Grave, but I intend to remedy that. The Blood Tide has me hooked!

Normally I shy away from books about drug running, crime barons, etc., but I kept hearing what a great read The Blood Tide is, and so I caved. And I'm glad I did. Neil Lancaster has another follower.

The plot is driven and intense, the characters a great mix of those who you will love and admire (Max and his team) and the others - variously the drug runners, the crime bosses and those at the very top of the pile in positions of trust, influence and power who are orchestrating the whole despicable operation.

Lancaster sets the scenes well. From his atmospheric descriptions of the Scottish landscape to the minutiae of the crime scenes, he gives just the right amount of detail, neither swamping the reader nor leaving them wanting more. His background in police work shines through making this crime thriller/police procedural a riveting read. The ending is spectacular - I loved it.

The Blood Tide worked well for me as a stand-alone, but I am going back to read the first book in this series because I enjoyed this one so much. I do recommend that if you intend to read The Blood Tide, read Dead Man's Grave first so that you have all the background to the relationships and because you'll probably want to go back and read it anyway, so you may as well read them in order from the start.


#TheBloodTide #NetGalley

I: @neil_lancaster_crime @hqstories

T: @neillancaster66 @HQStories

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #policeprocedural #scottishnoir #thriller

THE AUTHOR: Neil was born in Liverpool in the 1960s. He recently left the Metropolitan Police where he served for over twenty-five years, predominantly as a detective, leading and conducting investigations into some of the most serious criminals across the UK and beyond.

Neil acted as a surveillance and covert policing specialist, using all types of techniques to arrest and prosecute drug dealers, human traffickers, fraudsters, and murderers. During his career, he successfully prosecuted several wealthy and corrupt members of the legal profession who were involved in organised immigration crime. These prosecutions led to jail sentences, multi-million pound asset confiscations and disbarments.

Since retiring from the Metropolitan Police, Neil has relocated to the Scottish Highlands with his wife and son, where he mixes freelance investigations with writing.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to HQ, HQ Digital via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Blood Tide by Neil Lancaster for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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Hamish failed to stop the man on the Erskine Bridge. The jumper said death was the only way to escape the people that were after him. He tells him of the murder of a fisherman at remote Loch Torridon. There is a suspicion of police corruption. Hamish gets in touch with his friend Max Craigie. He is a member of the Scottish Policing Standards Reassurance Team but before they can properly investigate Hamish is found dead. When a police officer fails to stop a suicide, naturally it has a bad effect on them but Max is sure that his friend wouldn't have reacted by taking own life. It must be connected to the man on the bridge. Since gangland boss Tam Hardie had been imprisoned there was a gap in the market & other drug gangs are moving in. Max knows that the place to find some answers is to talk to Tam, but how helpful is he going to be when Max & his team got him put away?

This is a fast paced & quite complicated story. It really helps to have read the first book- I think it would have been tricky to keep up without knowing about it. I love the main characters & I enjoy the way the areas of Scotland feed into the narrative. I am already looking forward to the next in the series. Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for letting me read & review this book.
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