Member Reviews

The Blood Tide by Neil Lancaster

Yet another great book in the DS Max Craigie series , and as the first one , a brilliant story.

DS Max Craigie along with his colleagues DI Ross Fraser and DC Jainism Calder head up the new team that was set up by the chief of police Scotland to which the small team report directly to with the sole purpose of investigating and catching corrupt police officers.
The plotline keeps you interested with a few unexpected turns in the story. Great characters including DI Fraser and Janism Calder who all make for a great team.
Looking forward to the next one and it would also make a brilliant tv series .

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A fast paced, engaging and heart in the mouth book. Lots of different strands. There's the good guys, the bad guys, the bad good guys and... well you know what I mean

Loved it, couldn't put it down.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher I read a free advance review copy of the book. This review is voluntary, honest and my own opinion.

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I enjoyed this fast-paced, twisty thriller, and it was good to meet again the characters from Neil Lancaster's earlier book. My only criticism is that Max and his colleagues are all a bit too god to be true, but that didn't stop me spending a whole day reading this book - more please!

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Wow!! A must for any avid crime/thriller fan!

This is the 2nd book in the DS Max Craigie Series, the first being Dead Man’s Grave which was an excellent book so I was really delighted to be picked to get a first read of the second instalment!

DS Max Craigie along with his colleagues DI Ross Fraser and DC Jainism Calder head up the new team that was set up by the chief of police Scotland to which the small team report directly to with the sole purpose of investigating and catching corrupt police officers.

When a lone fisherman disappears in a remote part of Scotland then a member of the PIRC apparently takes his own life it doesn’t take long for max and the team to start connecting the dots, and it comes apparent that a drugs gang from Liverpool are trying to move in on the territory left behind by Tam Hardie and his family after the, getting incarcerated in the last book. When a spring of murders start to happen it’s up to max and the team to get to the bottom of it all and find the corrupt officers who are feeding the vital information to these criminals but a shock is in store for Max when a face from his past creeps up yet again!

I really enjoyed this book from start to finish, it was easy to keep up with the story, and everything was well explained such as the policing terminology, the attention to detail regarding the surveillance, code words used etc is so well explained that it doesn’t ever get confusing - you feel like you are right there in the moment with the characters! The introduction of Norma to the team was a great addition, she is a data analyst of sorts and has been drafted from another team to help out on the case being someone Max had worked with previous their relationship works well together in the book and it was interesting to learn more about her as the story went on! This book is very well written, but at the same time it doesn’t overload you with too much information or a confusing plot line so i found it really easy to read, and every chapter just left you wanting more! There also the personalities of each character that come through more as time goes on such as the DI and his wife troubles!

Overall excellent Neil, fantastic book I can’t wait for the next one. I would highly recommend this book!

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DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder return following the exploits of Dead Man's Grave, book 1 in the Max Craigie series. Along with their boss, DI Ross Fraser, they are a small, self-contained anti-corruption task force with wide ranging scope. With Tam Hardie safely behind bars following the exploits of the first book in the series there appears to be a vacuum in the drug supply trade in Scotland. An organised crime group from Liverpool are ready to fill the void created but people with police intelligence seem determined to make the drug market their own. It's up to Max and Janie to figure who they are and where the source of the information is.

Having recently read the first book in this series the events leading up to this story were still fresh in my mind. This added to my enjoyment but this could easily be read as a standalone novel. The introduction sets a very eerie tone giving a sense of foreboding. The first of a number of scenes where your heart is in your mouth.

As the story moves from murder, to suicide and back to murder Max's senses are constantly tingling, every branch of law enforcement is suspect apart from his own trusted little team. There is more of the intelligence gathering and analysing aspect to this story compared to the action and violence of the first book. The addition of Norma, an analyst, to the team is a great addition. Another no nonsense female who tells it like it is.

A twist about half way through really does spur you on to figure out what is happening and one or two loose ends are tied up in an extremely fitting way, however the author manages to have your stomach churning and your nerves on edge repeatedly. I really look forward to the next installment in the series.

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Thanks to Neil and NetGalley for allowing me to read The Blood Tide in advance of the publication date.
The Policing Standards Reassurance Team is a small unit staffed by DI Ross Fraser, DS Max Craigie and DC Janie Calder. Their remit is to investigate corrupt officers.

Looking forward to 4 days off, PC Hamish Beattie is returning to Clydebank Police Station via the Erskine Bridge to sign off at the end of a busy nightshift. Noticing a figure on the bridge, he requests backup and approaches the man who is standing on the far side of the railings.
The terrified man tells Hamish that he is being forced to kill himself in order to protect his wife and son from an unnamed monster, one who is untouchable by the police and has killed a man in Torridon.
Before Hamish can reach him, he has leaned forward into thin air.
The investigation is taken over by the PIRC as an officer was present during the incident.

Concerned about what he was told, Hamish calls his friend, DS Max Craigie, who agrees to take a poke about in the files, which show that the man was Murdo Smith, an Intelligence Officer with the NCA.
When Max confirms that Jimmy McLeish, a fisherman, has been reported missing in Torridon, Max heads north to interview Leah McLeish about her missing husband, who had been seen earlier in the company of a flash Liverpudlian.

Unable to contact Hamish, Max and Janie head to Hamish’s home where they find him hanging by a rope tied to the bannister. The SIO in charge of the investigation decides that this is a suicide, triggered by a combination of personal circumstances and the trauma of the jumper on the bridge. Max is not convinced.

Max briefs the team and they start to quietly look deeper into the circumstances of what connects Murdo Smith to the missing fisherman.

This is a rollercoaster of a story which gains momentum with each chapter. Having established the main characters in Dead Man’s Grave, Neil has carried them through into this book.

The use of technology throughout the book must have taken a lot of research. Many of the methods used were legal, some appeared a tad questionable, and the rest, well I don’t think we want to know.

Neil’s description of the talking heads at the multi-agency meeting is superb. It sounds like they had all attended the course on how to never use 1 word when you can use 10.

To summarise, a great second book in the series. I look forward to more stories based on Max, not forgetting Nutmeg, the cockapoo.

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Thanks to Harper Collins through Net Galley for granting me this wonderful advance reader copy.
The book will be available in 2022, so don't miss it. Start with book 1 now.

I had already enjoyed the first book of this series this summer and felt certain I would like more of DS Max Craigie. The characters are alive with admirable or loathesome characteristics, the setting is Scotland with artful descriptions of landscape, sea, and uncomfortable police station war rooms where the work gets done, and the crimes are brutal in the battle over drug running/domination.
The police work is driven and intense as the team Craigie is a member of struggle to discover who within their own ranks is assisting the drug runners with tipoffs.

A very good Scottish "crime thriller," a term I normally avoid, but that is how the publisher is describing this fine book. It is action packed and impossible to put down.

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Such an excellent read. I cannot praise it highly enough.very difficult to put down although I did not want to get to the end. I feel quite bereft now i have finished it..So many layers to peel back in the storyline. Very well written with som excellent descriptions, you could have almost been there. Great to see the old team back together, although this could also be a ‘standalone’ for anyone who has not read the previous two books.. looking forward to the next one already.

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Brilliant from start to finish!!!!! One of only a handful of five star books I've read this year!!
The characters are engaging, the plot fast paced and twisted and the Scottish humour is perfect.
I can't wait for the next instalment!

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What a ride! This book was a surprise to me as I've not read any by Neil Lancaster before but this was a great introduction. The subject matter isn't what I usually gravitate to but I liked the characters and the beautiful setting which was described so well in this book. Setting is important to me and this author delivered on describing the beautiful, hazardous landscape of Scotland that played a huge role in this story. The pace was good, lagged a bit in the last third but the ending was a twist and NOT expected! Thanks to NetGalley and HQ for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review. Recommend!

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Good book! this book was really good! The storyline was very interesting! It had suspense, intrigue some really bad guys and some great police work! There were plenty of heart pounding moments and lots of twists and turns! I definitely recommend reading this book! Its well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!

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I would like to thank Netgalley and HQ for an advance copy of The Blood Tide, the second novel to feature DS Max Craigie of Police Scotland’s Policing Standards Reassurance Team.

A fisherman disappears in the North of Scotland and a man jumps to his death from a bridge south of Glasgow. Max finds links between the two events, but proving it is dangerous, especially as a figure from his past is intent on revenge.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Blood Tide, which is another engrossing and exciting read, full of twists and unexpected events. I did not find the subject matter in the novel as interesting as the previous novel, Dead Man’s Grave, but that’s a matter of personal taste rather than any issue with the writing, hence four rather than five stars.

I like the author’s way of writing. His style is accessible and easy to read and his plotting immaculate. The novel starts with a pair of seemingly unrelated events and Max makes a connection. It’s all rather nebulous at first, but it’s not long before the team are making more connections and the author widens his scope considerably. It’s slick and draws the reader in, despite, in hindsight, being rather fantastical, with a high body count and some major scheming. It’s great fun with humour, tension and miraculous escapes.

The characterisation is strong too. The team are smart with a can do attitude and strong camaraderie. There is humour and in jokes, but also danger and physical damage.

The Blood Tide is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.

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This is the second book in the DS Max Craigie Scottish Crime Thriller series and it is just as good as the first one. It is one of the best police procedurals I have read, it is fast paced and has a great story line, I feel as though you go on the journey with the police and I was trying to work out what had happened. Two victims but are they connected, DS Max Craigie has to find out before it is too late. I love the character of DS Max Craigie, I feel as though he is perfect for the job and handsome too. I didn't want to put it down what with the twists that come up too. I am really looking forward to book three in the series. If you haven't read book one, what are you waiting for? These books are going to be super popular.

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This is the follow up to the wonderful Dead Man's Grave by ex-police officer Neil Lancaster featuring the PTSD suffering ex-military DS Max Craigie set in Scotland. Max continues to be haunted by the past and his role in the imprisonment of powerful and ruthless gangster, Tam Hardie. In a prison cell, a bitter Hardie has not forgotten Craigie, he is determined to do whatever it takes to take revenge on him and those close to him. Witnessing and unable to prevent a suicide on Erskine Bridge, PC Hamish Beatie is disturbed and upset that the despairing and fearful man felt he had no choice but to die if he wanted to protect his family as he tells of a murder in a remote part of the West Scottish coast. Beatie writes up his report, and makes the decision to phone his friend Max to ask him to look into what the victim had said to him. There is a missing fisherman's wife that Craigie interviews that sets off alarm bells in his head.

Max is now part of a three person team with DC Janie Calder and DI Ross Fraser, Police Standards Reassurance, a special unit set up by the Chief Constable, Chris Macdonald, in his efforts to root out police corruption. The team is strengthened considerably when an old friend of Max's, a NCA intelligence analyst, Norma Kirk, joins them, becoming an invaluable member of the investigative team almost immediatedly, not to mention seeing to it that office problems get addressed more effectively. As it becomes clear that ruthless and powerful operators are prepared to do whatever it takes to move in on the drugs trade, and key surveillance evidence documents murders that have been covered up, Max and his team find themselves on a dangerous inquiry in which Max finds himself facing the terrible quandry of either letting a deadly foe walk or saving the life of someone close.

Lancaster certainly knows how to write a gripping thriller, with all the requisite ingredients that has the reader glued to the pages, with surprising twists and turns, and packed with high levels of suspense and tension. Add to that the hard working supportive police team that have each others back, with a strong team spirit and ongoing banter, the author has created a great bunch of terrific characters that you cannot help but warm to, and the addition of Norma to the unit is a great move by the author. This is shaping up to be a great series, atmospheric, entertaining and engaging, action packed and with heart, whilst making great use of the stunning Scottish landscape. Can't wait for the next in the series! Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

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A fisherman who has disappeared into thin air. A young man who jumps off a bridge to his death. Neither of these incidents seem like the sort of thing that would fall into the lap of DS Max Craigie and his team, but when more bodies start appearing, it transpires that there may be a link between them - one which will very much challenge Max and be potentially deadly for him and his loved ones.

This is an absolutely rip-roaring book - I read the first novel so when I saw that the sequel was available I jumped at the chance! It is a continuation of what happened in the first book, so I would recommend that you read that first. The story speeds along and there are a few moments where you're very surprised which way it ends up going! An easy 5*.

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A big WOW! The Blood Tide ticks all my boxes for a great read, and it has given me two days of absolute pleasure and intrigue. I read the first in this series (Dead Man’s Grave) and, although I thoroughly enjoyed it and gave a 5 star review, I think The Blood Tide is even better. Maybe it’s because I feel as if I know and understand the characters a little more now. Whatever, this is an excellent story written by a brilliant author, and my ‘Top two books of 2021’ has now become my ‘Top three books of 2021’ (and I’ve read a lot!). What I particularly love is that the story seems so authentic and real (it probably is!) and you can imagine everything that is happening. Your stomach churns as the tension mounts, and you honestly can’t put the book down. The portrayal of the major characters brings them to life on the pages and you can’t help but want them to succeed. What a small but amazing team! DS Max Craigie, DC Janie Calder, their boss Ross, and this time Norma the intelligence analyst. They work so well together, there’s so much trust between them, and the office banter makes you chuckle. This fast-paced book is full of twists and turns, and has everything you could possibly want in an intense thriller – murder, mystery, corruption, suspense … and Nutmeg. Absolutely first class, and I can’t wait for the next one.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this ARC in return for an honest review.

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A solid four star read. Great premise. Well written. Good characters. Page turner. Plenty of suspense to keep me guessing Would definitely read the next novel. Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the chance to review it.

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Another brilliant DS Cragie thriller!
Neil Lancaster has produced a fantastic novel full of twists and turns, I could not put it down!
He captures the Scottish scenery and culture perfectly and the characterisation is great.
I highly recommend this book, an overall great read.

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An intercepted drugs drop on Loch Torridon, a man on Erskine Bridge so terrified he prefers suicide and a missing persons inquiry starts the second novel featuring DS Max Craigie of Police Standards Reassurance, a covert group operating out of Tulliallan. When his friend PC Hamish Beatie contacts Max with some obvious concerns which he shares with the team and DI Ross Fraser gives the go ahead for an investigation. What follows goes deeper than the Mariana Trench and is just as dark.

Wow, this is a buckle up, strap yourself in read right from the start and it’s an absolute belter!! The police team are fantastic characters. Max is brave, dogged, determined with his past as a soldier in Helmand Province still affecting him deeply. DI Ross Fraser is a colourful character with the emphasis on character with the pages being far from dull when he’s on them. DC Janie Calder has a good relationship with Max and I love the banter between them. This is one fast paced thriller, full of danger and excitement revealing brutality and ruthlessness of a group prepared to stop at nothing. The deeper the investigation goes the more the whole thing stinks like a load of rotten fish and the team need all the ingenuity at their disposal to unmask the villains. There are more twists and turns in the storytelling than on a highland road with fantastic locations being used effectively as a backdrop to the gritty proceedings. Brooding over events from his prison cell at HMP Edinburgh is Tam Hardie festering on his loathing for Max which is entirely reciprocated.

This is a very well written novel, the writing is succinct, it conveys the excitement, danger and tension without being overblown and similarly fills in backstories from Book One without unnecessary repetition. It can be read as a stand-alone but the first in the series is also very good (Dead Mans Grave) and worth reading too. This is a breathtaking, gripping read and a high octane ride to a very satisfying conclusion. I can’t wait for number three!!

Ps. There’s an adorable cockapoo called Nutmeg ❤️

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HQ, HQ Digital for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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This is the next book in the DS Max Craigie series, and it’s a cracker. Max is contacted by an old friend and ex colleague who thinks that there is something suspicious with a suicide he has just dealt with. Max’s’ instincts kick in and he starts to look into the case but before he can find much out thinks take a turn for the worse.

A real roller coaster of a read, so well written, it really draws you in from the first page, like all good books do. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on what’s happening, something else happens to shake it all up again. Having loved the previous book, Dead Mans Grave, I was excited to be able to review this book. It carries on seamlessly from the previous book but is a stand alone read too. Janie and Ross, Max’s colleagues in their small unit, are back too, with more details coming out about their back stories and also their allie, their Chief Constable, This police procedural feels real, with a genuine knowledge of the stresses and problems that police officers live with daily, as the author is an ex police officer. The Scottish setting is perfect and portrays realism in the manpower and location problems all forces deal with. Loved it, a definite must read.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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