Cover Image: The Blood Tide

The Blood Tide

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Member Reviews

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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This is a fantastic crime detective story offering everything you could wish for: pace, intriguing plot and authentic characters – some to love and some to loathe. The novel reads as a police procedural, a genre that shows the inner working and development of a case during an investigation conducted by the police, but this rather boring sounding term really doesn’t capture the excitement of this book. Think ‘Line of Duty’ and you have got it in a nutshell.

Our main hero Max Craigie, a seasoned investigator and experienced DS, works in a police department that investigates irregularities and corruption within the Force. He gets contacted by his old pal Hamish, who witnessed a suicide that was committed not out of desperation but out of sheer fear and horror. Hamish was left with the feeling that there was something really wrong and shared it with Max – this is where the story unfolds and gathers an ever grater pace, page after page.

The Blood Tide comes across as a really authentic peace of writing. Set in Glasgow and the Scottish Highlands, which is also the author’s chosen place of living, it deals with police corruption, drug trafficking and murder – crimes which Lancaster himself investigated first-hand when he served for over 25 years as a detective in the Metropolitan Police. He conveys his own experience of the intense stress of working in such a pressured environment and its effects on family life.

Another thing that really endeared this book to me is its unmistakably strong loathing of incompetent, dispassionate and self-serving management: ‘ So much bullshit spouted from the very senior officers who liked to call themselves leaders … faceless politicians, all completely uninterested in anything that did not advance their careers’. As much as there is a sense of detest for their ‘ability to spout vacuous shite’, there is also an enormous admiration for the men and women who get the actual job done. So, it comes as no surprise that Lancaster acknowledges his ‘brothers and sisters wearing the blue serge’ and reflects: ‘I’m six years away from policing, but my admiration for you knows no bounds’.

Since I enjoyed this book so much the I will now go and dig out the previous ones from the Max Craigie series. I am grateful to NetGalley and HarperCollins for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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A complex case for the Policing Standards Reassurance Team.

The Policing Standards Reassurance Team consists of DI Ross Fraser, DS Max Craigie, and DC Janie Calder. They have a tiny office in the HG building in Kincardine, Scotland. Max Craigie has taken a few days off after their last case. PC Hamish Beattie had failed to prevent Murdo Smith from jumping into the Clyde River. He told Beattie that he was an Intelligence Officer with the NCA. He said that the only way he could save his family was to commit suicide. Beattie and Craigie are friends from their days working at the Met and as Beattie knows which division Craigie is now attached to, feels that he needs to share the news of this suicide rather than wait until both he and Craigie are back on duty at similar times.

This is the last conversation that Max Craigie has with his friend Hamish Beattie. The next time Craigie sees him is when he and his partner, Janie Calder discover his body – after committing suicide himself. Craigie tells his boss, Fraser that Beattie was murdered because he was a sailor and would have used sailor knots not common knots to hang himself. Now, he’s got to prove his theory and discover who in the police killed Beattie, destroyed his notebook, and is also linked to the suicide of Murdo Smith.

Neil Lancaster has written a genuinely exciting novel that had me racing through it to see if Fraser, Craigie, and Calder would find the head of this vast criminal network that had eyes and ears on every area of policing and drug gangs. I want to read the previous books and look forward to the next book in the series.


Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.

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This is an exciting, fast paced thriller where the police are chasing corrupt officers. It gets off to a great start and kept my attention throughout. The main characters are likeable and I loved the Scottish settings.

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This is the second installment of the crime series featuring DS Max Craigie, DS Janie Calder and DI Ross Fraser. Yet another action packed police procedural once again from Neil Lancaster. I read this in one day as I just couldn’t put it down. There is not one page which doesn’t grab you and want you longing for more action and to discover the ‘inside man’.

Once again, set in the Scottish Highlands the story starts with PC Hamish Beattie witnessing a suicide. Then the action really gets going with another suicide, or was it? Max doesn’t believe it and also thinks the two deaths are linked somehow, but how and why?

A gang of Liverpool drug dealers, corrupt senior officers, a well connected inmate and a corrupt prison guard certainly keep the pages turning, not to mention the escalating body count!

Written in chapters from the point of view of several main characters, really flows well and you can tell Neil has an excellent understanding of police procedural as it is so well written.

Although this could be read as a stand-alone novel I would highly recommend you read Dead Man’s Grave first, you won’t regret it and you will then be more familiar with some of the characters in this book.

This is a massive five star read for me and I hope there is more to come featuring Max, Janie and Ross.

Many thanks to netgalley, the publishers and the author for an arc.

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This is a well plotted police procedural set in Scotland, with a team of three detectives on the trail of drug traffickers and corrupt police officers. The faked suicide of a police officer who witnessed a suicide of a frightened man on a bridge in Glasgow sets off a train of events which lead to an incarcerated drug lord who is a sworn enemy of the hero DS Max Craigie. The team of police officers have a good rapport and are believable and the plot is tightly crafted. A great Scottish setting reminiscent of the Rebus novels.

With thanks to NetGalley, the author and publisher for an advance copy to review.

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Hard to top Ian Rankin's blurb 'Think Jack Reacher fronting Line of Duty' which perfectly sums up the premise of this, the hugely enjoyable second in the Max Craigie series.
Thanks to Netgalley and HQ for ARC, which I was excited to get stuck right into.
Two seemingly unconnected crimes at opposite sides of Scotland come to DS Craigie's attention and he is firmly steered away from investigating in a way that sets his antennae quivering. So of course he persuades his boss and his colleague to investigate on the quiet, in a romp that takes us across the length and breadth of the country,
It is pretty violent in places and the body count escalates alarmingly, but this is a cracking read from someone who knows policing and knows how to write.

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A page turner and a half. Who can you trust? Max Christie working as part of an elite Police Standards Reassurance unit with his partners in busting crime Janie and Ross uncover an operation in drug smuggling which has his arch enemy Hardie at its core. This has it all with corruption at various levels abounding..
Bring on more tales from this team

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Gangs and police corruption in Glasgow. Tightly-written and tense. Full of action and humour amid the darkness of Glasgow's seedy side. Strong characters, a twisty plot and a very satisfying ending (with a touch of Robbie Burns) make for a good read, though there's an awful lot of bodies. For fans of Rebus and Jack Reacher.

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Oustanding book yet again.

The realism in the plot really stands out. The high tension and drama keep you flying through. Once I started I did not want to put it down.

I absolutely love these main characters. I laughed out loud at Ross a couple of times.

Loved it and cannot wait for book 3.

I can't recommend this series highly enough.

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This is a well done and very atmospheric Scottish procedural with- know in advance- a pretty high body count. DS Max Craigie, DI Ross Fraser and DC Janie find themselves looking at a series of seemingly unrelated events but then realize that this is all about control of narcotics importation and distribution in Scotland. It's hard to describe but fans of this genre know that there are good guys, bad guys, and some twists. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's the second in a series and I missed the first but it was fine as a standalone.

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The second in my new favourite crime series did not disappoint. Had me gripped and I can’t wait for more.

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Another cracker from Neil Lancaster. I really enjoyed his 1st book and this one didn't disappoint either. This book can be read as part of the series but always works as a stand alone.
Another complex police investigation with DS Max Craigie, DC Janie Calder and DI Ross Fraser. With their newly expanding team of quirky and interesting characters, this was a great read. I loved returning to Scotland and the descriptive nature of the place. Slow build up that continues on a faster pace and great build up to an unexpected ending which I loved. Can't wait for the next book.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers HQ for an Arc in exchange for an honest opinion

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