Cover Image: The Blood Tide

The Blood Tide

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Member Reviews

This was a fast paced action read and although it was the 2nd in the series it read as a stand alone. It reminded me of Line of Duty which I love . This was a brilliant book and I would happily read more in the future. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.
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Night on a beach on the Northwest coast of Scotland.   A small boat with an outboard drives onto the sand close to a truck, and the man on board removes a large package of cocaine.  He is met by two men, neither being Macca, the one he expects to meet.  Loading the package onto the truck at their request, he sees Macca’s body.  Neither is ever found.  The two men, Davie and Cal, are on a mission to steal the drugs and destroy the business of Scally, Liverpool based runner of a large county lines operation which he is extending into Scotland now that Tam Hardie, the previous kingpin, is now in Saughton Prison, courtesy of DS Max Craigie.  Max, who is part of a small covert team investigating police corruption, enters this tale when he is contacted by PC Hamish Beattie, a friend and colleague, who has just failed to talk down a suicide and is concerned by the man’s final remarks, which implied he had been driven to it by police officers.  When Craigie finds Hamish dead, and his notes on the dead man’s final words missing, he and his team begin an investigation which exposes a network stretching from Colombia to the highest level within Police Scotland, and leaves a string of deaths in its wake.
Although this is clearly a sequel and references events from the previous book (Dead Man’s Grave), it works perfectly well as a standalone.  The plot is intricate, switching direction deftly as it moves along, ensuring that the reader always has that ‘what next’ feeling.  It moves at a fast pace but not at the expense of detail, including extensive technical detail, – we are always clear about what is proceeding, even when it comes as a surprise.  I have a slight quibble with the range of highly specialist external support to which Craigie has access – levels of expertise which are beyond any available to the force – because it would have been much harder to solve the case if this had not been available.  The dénouements, there are more than one, are all logical and well-constructed – especially the last one.
I would like to thank NetGalley, the publishers and the author for providing me with a draft proof copy for the purpose of this review.
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Another fantastic novel featuring Max Craigie and his police investigation colleagues.  Following on from Dead Man's Grave, Tam Hardie is now in prison but still able to reach those on the outside.  Men are going missing and there are some suspicious suicides which look set to disturb Max's new home tranquility with his wife and dog.  There is corruption at the heart of the police system but where...? Lancaster's characters are alive on the page and his sense of drama and suspense is superb. The plot twists and turns most unexpectedly.
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Thank you to the author, HQ Digital and NetGalley, for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This is the second in a series, but the first one I've read. This fast-paced, atmospheric and dark police procedural is gripping. Unusual in that we get an insider's view into the criminal's side of things and not just the police - and the bodies pile up. The tight-knit connections between the small group of police investigating corruption within the ranks were very well done, each of the distinct personalities came across well and their functioning as a unit too. Although I found it hard to get into at first, due to the many characters introduced within a short space of time, once I got going I found it impossible to put down.
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Another fantastic instalment of the Max Craigie series. Really enjoyed revisiting the full gang again and getting to find out more about their story. Can’t wait for the next!
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From Good Reads:
This is very much a continuation of the first and, like the first, is a bit of a tartan Line of Duty.
A real action packed, edge of the seat page turner - hugely entertaining and full of twists and turns.
Max Craigie is a fantastic lead character and his developing team adds to the package.
More please.
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I am still not sure if I really enjoyed this book after finishing it?

It starts well with an evening meeting of dodgy types at a remote, dark part of the Scottish coast: Someone has a package in his small boat, intent of dropping it off but has to remove the bundle into a vehicle with a dead body in it!

In an apparent, unconnected event an experienced cop is directed to a suicidal man on a city bridge. 

This is a police procedural book with elements of a possible police conspiracy and gangsters.

Whilst the end of the book is excellent, I struggled in the middle of it.

Thanks to HQ Digital for the chance to read and review..
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"The room fell silent. Corrupt law-enforcement agents committing multiples murders and intercepting drug importation into a Scottish sea loch. 'Whoever this is, they've access to intelligence at the highest level. They not only know who's bringing in the drugs, they know where it's coming in. They knew when and where, and they were there to intercept it. That' s intelligence coming in from covert and secure channels, which is tightly controlled and not widely disseminated. Someone at a senior level is at the centre of this,' said Max. 

The newly created Policing and Standards Reassurance Team (ha!) have a wide-ranging remit, to root out and remove corruption within Police Scotland that others can't. Boss DI Ross Fraser, DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder work well as a team, with a nose for corruption. The suicide of a National Crime Agent, shortly followed by murder of the police officer on scene (a friend of Max's), made to look like suicide, attract the team's attention. When a familiar enemy rears his ugly head, the team become determined to weed out more rogues in Police Scotland.

The second DI Craigie and DS Calder, Scottish police procedural picks up where rhe first book, Dead Man's Grave, left off, with their newly created anti-corruption team. The premise is explained, so can be read alone, but I think you'll get more from it if you read the first one before this. Max and Janie are likeable, flawed but real and engaging, Ross less so (suspect he's not meant to be!) and the criminal characters are also well fleshed out. Pacy and tense with twists and turns, the plot moves fast and there is plenty of action. I can see the Line of Duty comparisons, but actually prefer Max and Janie to Steve and Kate. Well worth a read, it's excellent.
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A rip riding rollercoaster of a story, that covers almost every area north of Liverpool.

Drug runners from Colombia, importing coccaine via some of the quieter lochs on the Scottish Coast. Needless to say, following two ‘dissapearances’ the interest of the Police are peaked.

Two apparent suicides, and an internal investigation. Leads the plot.

I can thoroughly recommend this as a crime thriller, and I devoured it in about 4/5 hours. Not wanting to give anything away, I really was not expecting how this climaxed.

Status: Completed.

Rating: 4.6/5.0
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This book surprised me!

It starts with a clandestine meeting of shady types at a remote part of the Scottish coast: someone’s dropping something off, someone’s picking it up, & someone’s missing. The next scene is a tense stand-off between a lone cop and a suicidal man on a city bridge. 

What follows is a very solid police procedural; in trying to discover how the above 2 events are connected, we delve into the world of gangsters and a possible conspiracy in the ranks of the Scottish police. Whilst the 1st half of the book reads smoothly, it feels a bit dry – we’re told about emotions rather than shown them, and it lacks what I love in a mystery/thriller: a mood. It’s a plot-driven book, but as such, it’s fast-paced and reads quickly. 

Later in the novel, when I started realising it’s also a story of an obsession and revenge, my interest was piqued! The suspense keeps getting ramped up, the stakes get higher and higher, the action scenes are lively and gripping, and the book turns into a page turner! I didn’t see some of the twists coming at all, either.

I also love how well researched it was, in terms of the procedures; it felt realistic and only after finishing did I discover the author is an ex-policeman. What did need a bit of a suspension of disbelief were the very technologically advanced intel-gathering possibilities, but I might not be up-to-date. The one thing I found annoying is that out of the several police/NCA members lending their skills and acumen to the investigation, each is presented as the absolute best in their field, which in such a limited location seemed a bit of a stretch
All in all, The Blood Tide was a tense and captivating ride, with a fantastic final twist and a satisfying ending.
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I got quite into this. The plot was good if a wee bit predictable, but I liked the patter and the suspicions I had over this character and that one. Easy to read, easy to follow, entertaining.
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Neil Lancaster writes a brilliant police procedural. The Blood Tide picks up where Dead Man's Grave finished but it is easily read as a standalone. Police officers, Max, Janey and Ross are back investigating a suicide, a disappearance and a possible link to the murky underworlds of the drug trade and police corruption. 

There is great dialogue and banter between the characters in this fast paced thriller with action all the way. It is really well plotted and full of insider knowledge which makes it feel really authentic. I really enjoyed it.

Many thanks to NetGalley and HQ Stories for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Absolutely gripping! A welcome return of some great characters to investigate the link between drug related deaths and the apparent suicides  of police officers. Full of twists and turns and an investigation into corruption from within law enforcement.

Read it, you won’t be disappointed.
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Another great book from Neil Lancaster. 
Max and Janie start investigating a suspicious death and it soon turns into a complex case. 
There’s so many elements to the investigation but they are determined to find the corrupt people in the Police who are helping with drug smuggling and making evidence disappear. 
Hardie is still very much on Max’s mind and as there are links to him on this case, Max is determined to catch up with him. 
This is a gripping crime thriller and I really enjoyed the dynamic between Max, Janie and Ross once again. 
A great read. 
Thanks to HQ and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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I never repeat the blurb BUT I cannot recommend this book highly enough - fast paced, authentic and well crafted, I was a superb read.  In fact I have sourced its predecessor and that's next on my reading list.  Absolutely brilliant.
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Loch Torridon is the back of beyond: there's not even any light pollution which is why it was the perfect place to land illegal deliveries of drugs. Jimmy McLeish thought that he was onto a nice little earner, only to find that Macca, the man he thought he was working with, is dead. His remains would never be found. The delivery is hijacked by Davie and Callum. As the story progresses we'll get to know them quite well.

Back in Glasgow, PC Hamish Beattie is just about at the end of his shift when he spots a man preparing to jump off Erskine Bridge. He's not the first and it certainly won't be the last but Murdo Smith has a bit of a story to tell before he jumps. It's a tale of corruption at the highest levels in law enforcement. Hamish tells his story to Lenny Farquharson, the lead Police Investigations Review Commission investigator. Hamish has 28 years' experience under his belt and assumes that the statement he's made will cause some ripples. When it doesn't he calls his old pall, DS Max Craigie.

Craigie works with DI Ross Fraser and DC Janie Calder: their job is to track down corruption in the police force and there's no way that they're going to be able to resist these leads. It's not long before Craigie ties the two cases together - and realises that it all comes back to his arch-nemesis, Tam Hardie. Hardie might be doing life in Saughton Jail but he's still pulling a lot of strings and running a business that's worth millions from his cell.

A warning won't go amiss here: you'd be better reading the first book in the series before The Blood Tide. You might not find out exactly who did what but you're going to know where some of the main players end up. Having said that, you could read The Blood Tide and enjoy it for the great story that it is. And it is a rollicking read: from the moment you start reading the pace never lets up: you'll have to remind yourself to breathe.

The characterisation is good. It helps that Neil Lancaster has been in the business: when he talks about the law enforcers and the criminals (occasionally, they're the same thing...) what he says feels authentic - and rather frightening. The plot has a ring of truth about it too. The ending is a cracker - and I can't wait to see what DS Craigie gets up to next. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.
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Blood Tide is the second book in a series featuring the same central characters.  I’ve read the first, Dead Man’s Grave ( an absolute cracker) and this follow up can be read as a stand-alone, but there’s character development and nuances which won’t be clear if read out of sequence.  I’d recommend you get stuck in for a non stop ride and read them back to back!

The author’s background as a Met police officer really shows.  His experiences make the crime aspects authentic and he writes with conviction.  This is partly a murder mystery and po,ice procedural, but it’s more.  The locations, Glasgow and the Highlands actually take the reader to the area and give real depth to the story and people.  The plotting is superb in that the pace is relentless and having thrown you into the story, you’re grabbed, held and spun around until you’re at the end.  Inevitably they’ll be comparison with other notable crime authors, but for me, they’re all a bit different.  Lancaster has achieved a fine balance of not too gruesome, plausible plot and a central investigating team who work well and bounce off each other.  This is a book which has everything I want from the genre; pulse racing and convincing with some humour and a story I didn’t want to end.  Just outstanding storytelling. 

My thanks to the publisher for a review copy via Netgalley.
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Grabbed me from the get go and didn't let go until the last page. 

Full disclosure, I was already a fan of DS Max Craigie having devoured book 1 - Dead Man's Grave - I then had the usual 'will the second book be as good' concerns and taint how I feel about the first. I needn't have worried, The Blood Tide is an absolute cracker of a tale. Once again, the author doesn't mess about lulling you in to the tale gently, you're hit with the full force of the story from the opening scenes.

Difficult to review with spoilers, but save as to say I will have DS Max Craigie's next outing on pre-order the minute it lands.

Highly recommend
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This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
It's impossible to talk about this sequel to Dead Man’s Grave without spoiling it. If you haven't read that yet, go do so instead of reading this post.

It's been a few months (if we're told specifically, I missed it) since Dead Man’s Grave, but not too long. Tam Hardie's in prison for his crimes, his wife and kids are out of the country, and his syndicate is in trouble from without and within. The Policing Standards Reassurance Team, now established, is still trying to find Hardie's remaining contact(s) in the police. On the personal side, Max Craigie's wife has moved back in with him, and things are going well.

Basically, things are in a good place. This means it's time for things to happen—a fisherman goes missing on a routine fishing trip (well, a routine something anyway), not long after that, an intelligence officer with the National Crime Agency commits suicide—and the only witness's notes go missing, too. And then there's another (apparent) suicide. There's almost no reason for anyone to see a link between them—but once Max Craigie is shown the link, he's able to convince the rest of his team and soon will get more proof.

This is where things get really dicey—and the Team is immersed in a case involving drugs, murder, corrupt officials—and at least one criminal in their own midst.

In the previous book, we got a pretty good handle on DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder. In this book, we get to know their boss, DI Ross Fraser better as he's able to take a greater leadership role (since it's not an off-the-books investigation anymore) and as we see him deal with problems in his home life.

We also get introduced to a new member of their team, and get to know her fairly well. I liked the fact that we didn't come into this book with a greatly expanded team, and only added someone after this book's action had started—it helps the readers to connect with everyone, and it's also a nice touch of realism, if the team expands too quickly, it'd be more difficult to keep it to those who can be trusted.

Max and his team operate far differently from the other fictional Scottish detective looking into Police Corruption that I'm familiar with—Malcolm Fox. There's no way that Fox in his role with Complaints and Conduct would pursue a case this way (although by the end of his time with them, that had started to change, and he might be more open to it).

The Policing Standards Reassurance Team is a band of mavericks, or at least operate as a collective maverick—going back to their inception. They seem more effective running that way—although I do wonder about realism (for those who care about such things—and it's more exciting to read about than a bunch of people being careful about paperwork.

So often reading what Max and Janie are going through, I wondered how they trust anyone in the Police service. It almost seems like luck when they have an operation go well without someone having leaked something to their target. Does that take a toll on people? I wonder if Lancaster will deal with that in the future.

It is really hard to talk about this in any kind of detail—the twists and reveals start early on and I fear I may have said a bit too much already.

I will say as someone who's been reading Lancaster from the beginning, that it's great to see his growth as an author—the writing, the characterization, the details in The Blood Tide is leagues beyond what his debut displayed. And I enjoyed his debut, and would've kept reading him if he kept producing books like it. It's just so much easier to do when they're as good as this one.

Along the same lines, there's growth to this series—as ought to be expected. Dead Man's Grave was about establishing this world, these characters, and their mission. Now we get to see them in action, we're ready to see them at work, in danger, and taking on bigger challenges.

Do I recommend The Blood Tide? You bet—a good author getting better at his craft, a handful of strong characters, and a plot that'll keep you guessing as it ratchets up the tension. Grab both of the DS Max Craigie thrillers and you'll be in for a good time. The third book is due this autumn, which is too far away for my tastes.
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The Blood Tide By Neil Lancaster - 
Publication Date 23rd Feb 2022.

This book is about Max Craigie, who a DS in the police force. His partner Janie and their boss DI Ross. This book follows on from Dead Mans Grave which was the first book I have read by this author. 

Absolutely loved this book!  As soon as I started reading it had me gripped. Fast paced and needing to know what happened next - my favourite kind of book. 

I really like the characters and I found myself worrying if one of them were a secret baddy 🤣..... I was like oh no hope it’s not them?! DI Ross was my absolute favourite. Omg he made laugh a few times - especially radiator bit!! Also reference to a road in the area I live lol. 

I was sad when the end came BUT then I discovered another book will be published in this storyline 👏🏽👏🏽 . Neil has another book series, which I’m hoping to get the chance to read. 

I received a free review copy from the publisher/Netgalley 
 in exchange for my honest feedback.

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