The Devil Stone
by Caro Ramsay
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Pub Date 06 Dec 2022 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2022
A macabre massacre of a wealthy family brings DCI Christine Caplan to the Highlands in her first thriller in a new series!
"Ramsay debuts a new series with this dark, suspenseful, and atmospheric thriller starring a charismatic heroine" - Booklist Starred Review
In the small Highland village of Cronchie, a wealthy family are found brutally murdered in a satanic ritual and their heirloom, 'the devil stone', is the only thing stolen. The key suspects are known satanists - case closed? But when the investigating officer disappears after leaving the crime scene, DCI Christine Caplan is pulled in to investigate from Glasgow in a case that could restore her reputation.
Caplan knows she is being punished for a minor misdemeanour when she is seconded to the Highlands, but ever the professional, she's confident she can quickly solve the murders, and return home to her fractious family. But experience soon tells her that this is no open and shut case.
She suspects the murder scene was staged, and with the heir to the family estate missing, there is something more at play than a mythical devil stone. As she closes in on the truth, it is suddenly her life, not her reputation that is danger! Will Caplan's first Highland murder case be her last?
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 24 members
A Plethora Of Suspects…
A brutal, gruesome family massacre is at the heart of the latest outing from DCI Christine Caplan. The small Highland village will never be the same. The only thing that seems to have been been stolen from this well off family is an heirloom known as the ‘Devil Stone’. Are known satanists the culprits or is this an inside job and the crime scene staged? Caplan may well have to put her job and her life on line before the end. With a well crafted cast of characters, an engaging protagonist and an immersive, compelling plot peppered with suspense, a plethora of suspects and misdirection, this is an excellent entry to the series.
Thank you NetGalley and Severn House for the eARC.
DCI Christine Caplan, recently demoted, is on her way to lead a case of a terrible family massacre in the small Highland village of Chronchie. The 5 dead are laid out in a careful Satanist tableaux, suspiciously perfect. Could the 2 young men who stumbled on the scene be the perpetrators? Christine doesn't believe it. Leaving behind a difficult household in Glasgow, she walks into a messy and stressful police investigation with a missing SIO.
It's a hornet's nest, with corruption rife and there are definite signs there are forces intent on getting rid of Christine.
This is the first in the series, and a promising one. Christine is an appealing character and the ending is breathtaking, impossible to put the book down!
I look forward to meeting Christine and her family again, as well as a couple of the police (loved Mackie!). Highly recommended.
DCI Christine Caplan has recently been demoted to DI. Her personal life is a mess. Someone appears to be setting her up even a simple mugging on a night out turns deadly! This first outing for Christine sent to the Highlands as a punishment comes with a family murdered with the Occult in the frame. The suspicious characters come thick and fast. As a newcomer Christine does not know who to trust. Can the danger come from very close to home? DCI Caplan is a well rounded character who has to cope with the politics of police hierarchy. This is a new character who you will be very happy to follow into a new series.
Thank you NetGalley and (Severn House) for sending this book for review consideration. All opinions are my own.
The first novel in a new series introduces DCI Christine Caplan, a troubled Glasgow detective. Issues on a past case sees her demoted to DI and seconded to a remote Highland village. Leaving her family, who have issues of their own, she heads north.
The case Caplan has been pulled into is a very strange one. An entire family has been murdered - the local landowners left in a setting staged to look satanic, found by two local neds who just happened to break in.
Caplan investigates, working with a strange cast of local detectives, and finding many obstacles in her way. She wonders whether this is incompetence or something more sinister, unsure who to trust. But it appears there is something even more sinister than a mass murder going on in the sleepy village.
DCI Caplan is an intriguing character, a detective with morals but hints of past behaviours yet to be explained. The plot of the novel is complex and clever, with motivations of several characters unclear until the conclusion. A very good novel that is engaging and not at all straightforward.
Thanks to Caro and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book before the publication date.
An internal enquiry has found DCI Caplan guilty of mishandling evidence and demotes her to DI with a reduced salary.
As the sole breadwinner for her household, Christine is already struggling to hold down a responsible job and attend to the daily demands of her family.
In the Highlands, 5 members of a wealthy family have been found murdered in their home. A 6th member of the family is missing.
After working 48 hours without a break, the SIO leaves the property in the early hours of the morning but never arrives home. The second in command is an inexperienced DI with an expensive lifestyle and aspirations of promotion, possibly beyond his capabilities.
Christine is instructed to join the team and provide her experience as a DCI (on a DI salary).
The jungle drums have been working overtime and by the time she arrives, everyone knows her history.
The team are a strange mix of officers and Christine is wary about who can be trusted.
As an outsider, will she be allowed to unravel the truth?
There are lots of twists, turns and red herrings along the way.
I enjoyed the story but did feel that some of the characters were a bit too stereotyped.
The Devil Stone opens up with a prologue filled with intrigue and a hook that grabs you by the throat and pulls you right in. We are then taken back just over a week in time to watch this darkly twisted story unfold.
In the Highlands a wealthy family have been brutally murdered in what appears to be a satanic ritual, while back down in Glasgow DCI Christine Caplan has been demoted to DC following accusations of mishandling evidence. On a night out with her daughter, she becomes caught up in a mugging and the repercussions of this event leave Christine feeling like someone is out to get her. She is sent up to assist with the Highland investigation and while she sees this as a punishment, she almost welcomes the idea of escaping from what appears to be a chaotic and tension filled family life.
It can be strange starting a new series from a favourite author, it’s a bit like starting up a new relationship and I find myself wondering if we will click. Well, of course I needn’t have worried at all. From the very outset of this book, I was immediately caught up in Caplan’s life. Caro Ramsay, once again has created a protagonist that comes alive and steps off the page and into your life. Caplan certainly doesn’t have it easy in life at the moment, there are lots of hints about an unsettled family life which are sure to be explored further as the series develops. She is a fascinating woman, on one hand she appears to be a confident professional woman, yet we also catch a glimpse of the woman who is sometimes left feeling invisible and undervalued. I found it impossible not to warm to her.
Once again, Caro Ramsay has also created a cast of captivating characters to support her main character, Caplan and as we watch her join the Highland investigation, it quickly becomes clear that her fellow detectives are perhaps not always as lily white as they would like her to think they are. She quickly realises, not only has she got to earn her place in this small Highland village, where the gossip about her demotion is rife, but she is also left with a distinct feeling of unease that not everyone has her back. Suspicion and tension seep out of the pages, leaving a very real sense of unease and anxiety.
The sense of place is simply outstanding, a small sleepy Highland village is not only breathtakingly beautiful but at the same time it is sinister and dark. Vivid imagery brings the scenes to life and the tension increases dramatically as Caplan begins to realise that her life might be in danger. There are some brutal and raw scenes in the book, never gratuitous and always driving the story forward. The story line has it all, it is a perfect mix of mystery and police procedural. It is an exploration of relationships, both personal and professional; it is toxic, twisted and deliciously dark.
As the events in Glasgow and the Highlands collide and the pieces all drop into place, you will be left with your jaw dropping and desperate for the next instalment in this series. Caro Ramsay could never be accused of writing fluff and there is one thing you can be sure of when you pick up a book by Caro Ramsay and that is that you are going to going to find yourself embroiled in an intelligent and complex storyline which will leave you feeling as though you have stepped straight into the pages and become part of the investigation yourself.
Outstanding and I can’t wait for the next in the series!
Thank you Severn House for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. 5 stars for DNF as I cannot comment on the overall quality of the book. This is a tough one because the writing is objectively good. Caro Ramsay certainly knows how to write. The premise itself was very interesting and engrossing. However, it was too long winded for my tastes. In the first 20℅ we are run through the crime scene TWICE from multiple povs in excruciating details. There are spot of filler scenes (once again, well written) that allow down the pace of thus book. Also this is one of the rare times where I felt I needed to read the orchids books in the series to have a thorough understanding of all the characters and dynamics at play.
If you're a fan of Lisa Raegen, Josie Quinn, Helen Field and the likes of other slow burn crime writers, I am confident you will enjoy this. Unfortunately me and my ADHD require a bit more pace than offered. Again, this is well written, just not for me.
I love Caro Ramsay and the Anderson and Costello series, so couldn’t wait to read this new series featuring DCI Christine Caplan. In a small Highland Village, a wealthy family are murdered, and the only thing stolen is “The Devil Stone”. Known satanists are the chief suspects, but when the investigating officer goes missing, DI Caplan recently demoted is called in from Glasgow. She is hoping to solve the case quickly and return home to her chaotic home life. If only it was that simple! I enjoyed this book and can’t wait to find out more about Christine Caplan. Such a good way to spend a rainy afternoon it kept me in suspense and on the edge of my seat! Hopefully another instalment is on the way!!
A really enjoyable police procedural. Well written and rounded characters who I enjoyed getting to know and an interesting and twisty plot. My only niggle is that by the climax of the story there were so many names being thrown around I was getting really confused as to who was involved. A good read!
This is the first book by Caro Ramsay that I've read, but it won't be the last. The Devil Stone is what I hope is the start of a new series, DCI Christine Caplan has been "asked" to step down to DI in the wake of an irregularity with some evidence (I wonder if we'll learn more about that backstory at some point) when she's sent to cover a murder investigation that has misplaced its DCI. Everyone seems to be trying to get her to back off, from the DI who tries to freeze her out of the investigation to the ACC who says she's got Christine's back. Fast-paced and full of twists and turns, I recommend this police procedural.
Thanks to Severn House for access to a digital ARC via NetGalley.
The talented Caro Ramsay begins a new Scottish crime series, featuring the complicated Glasgow DCI Christine Caplan, facing dangerous, powerful and deadly forces intent on besmirching her reputation, and endangering her career and her life. An issue over evidence in a case and a mugging gone wrong has her demoted to DI, and sent to the Highland village of Cronchie to join the local police team where soon to be retired DCI Bob Oswald has strangely gone missing. He was in charge of a high profile macabre case in which 5 members of the wealthy and privileged McGregor family, the elderly Lady Charlotte, parents Stan and Barbara, and their children, Catriona and Gordon are discovered strangled, and posed next to each other, with a polaroid photograph stuffed down their throats.
The crime scene at Otterburn House was discovered by 2 teenage housebreakers, the massacre is carefully staged to appear as part of a satanic ritual, with a goat's head and inverse cross, and despite the presence of jewels and exclusive products, the only thing taken is the precious family heirloom, the devil stone, steeped in folklore and history. The police team is led by the inexperienced but ambitious DI Garry Kinsella, supported by DS Iain Gourlay on a fast track career path. Caplan is made to feel like an unwanted outsider, sidelined, kept out of the loop and is assigned local DC Finnan Craigo with the express purpose of hampering her ability to make any progress. Caplan is weighed down by worries over the family she has left behind in Glasgow, husband Aklen and the serious issues he is afflicted by, son Kenny fast disappearing into a virtual world and not attending university, although daughter Emma is more like her, highly organised and efficient.
Caplan finds herself under huge pressure to solve a case with multiple threads, including police corruption and the drug trade, as she races against time to find the true perpetrators of the most heinous of crimes. Ramsay does a terrific job of establishing Christine as the central protagonist and a fascinating and disparate cast of supporting characters, this includes her best friend Lizzie, her family, DC Toni Mackie and DC Craigo. This is the most gripping and twisted of Scottish crime reads, with a wonderful sense of location, I found myself completely immersed in the storylines and could not stop reading until I had reached the end with the thrilling finale. The author has come up with what promises to be a superb new Scottish crime series, and I cannot wait for the follow up. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.
* 4.5 stars*
Although I’d heard of author Caro Ramsay, I’d never read any of her books, but this being the first of a new series made it the perfect time to get acquainted with her.
The massacre of a wealthy family in the Scottish Highlands appears to have a satanic connection to it, and it brings DCI Christine Caplan to the small village of Cronchie from her usual patch of Glasgow. She’s hoping that this case will restore her reputation, which appears to be in tatters right now. Added to that her family is in a complete mess too.
The wealthy McGregor family are found dead at their home, having been posed alongside each other with a Polaroid photo stuffed down their throats. Only one member of the family is missing, the youngest member Adam, although he no longer lived at home. Could Adam have murdered his whole family in order to inherit the vast wealth they’d accumulated, after all, he is the black sheep of the family, and hated everything they stood for? Or is that too simple an explanation, has it been staged to make him look guilty!
Two local teenagers (known satanists) found the bodies whilst breaking and entering, but the only thing that appears to be missing is The Devil Stone. The murder scene has been arranged to appear as if satanists were responsible, but is that exactly what it is, just staging, expert use of smoke and mirrors?
Caplan finds herself working with an odd cast of characters, local detectives who resent outsiders coming in thinking that they know better, and it appears to be their job to present obstacles at every turn. Caplan isn’t that easily dissuaded though, but she has no idea what she’s up against - with various threads to this case, she will face some very dangerous characters whilst trying to get to the truth.
An excellent start to this new series, with some interesting ( though not always likeable) characters. There is a gathering of momentum as the tale progresses making the reader turn the pages at an increasing (and impatient) rate. With the addition of a terrific protagonist in Caplan, who had me rooting for her from the outset, this is a terrific read!
I would like to thank Netgalley and Severn House Publishers for an advance copy of The Devil Stone, the first novel to feature DCI Christine Caplan of Police Scotland.
A family of five is murdered in their home in the Highland village of Cronchie and the only thing missing is a family heirloom, the mystical Devil Stone. When the investigating officer, DCI Oswald, goes missing after visiting the scene Caplan is sent north from Glasgow to assist the investigation.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Devil Stone, which has a plot full of twists and turns and a likeable protagonist. I have been reading the author’s novels for years as I like her style of writing and the way her mind works and this novel is no different. It’s easy to follow, despite a lot of murkiness about who did what, it has great characters and a lovely sense of place.
I must admit that when I started reading I did not imagine that 5 dead MacGregors and hints of satanism would lead to where it did. It’s not exactly misdirection on the author’s part, more a jumping off point for even more serious crime. I loved it and was glued to the pages from start to finish. So, there’s a murder investigation, but Caplan doesn’t see eye to eye over it with the detective she was sent to help, DI Kinsella, as he’s looking at the lazy answer and she knows it doesn’t fit. They both end up doing their own thing with the friction adding a little something to proceedings. The resolution to the case is gobsmacking in its verve and action. It’s all highly unlikely but it’s exciting and seems fitting for all that’s gone before.
I like Christine Caplan. She doesn’t have her troubles to seek, either personally or professionally, and finding herself fitted up for more would break a lesser woman, but she can soldier on quietly, calmly and professionally.
The Devil Stone is a good read that I have no hesitation in recommending.
A storyline like no other.
DCI Christine Caplan had recently been demoted to Detective Inspector after some evidence had gone missing on her last case. She’s had to accept the demotion as her husband is ill and her teenage son is out of control.
In the new position of Detective Inspector, Christine is sent to help with a case in Cronchie, a small town on the coast of Scotland. Christine is only supposed to be there for a few days until the missing Detective Chief Inspector hopefully, re-appears.
A decomposed family is discovered when two young boys break into the manor house, Otterburn. The family had not been missed as they were all supposed to be away on holiday. The only member who has escaped being murdered is the youngest son, Adam. However, he can’t be found.
Christine finds herself with a young Detective Inspector who shows no respect for her. He wants the case to be his big step up in the police. Other members of the team go out of their way to hinder Christine’s inquiries and the big question hanging over everything is where is DCI Oswald?
The case of discovering who murdered the family, where the missing “Devil Stone” is and whether there are corrupt police working on the case trying to scupper all inquiries, Christine finds herself completely out of her depth.
I’m a huge fan of Caro Ramsay and must admit that when I started this novel, I was a bit nervous because there were so many threads to follow. However, once I’d worked out where everyone fitted in, I needed to disappear into my “reading corner” so as not to be disturbed until I reached the climax of this remarkable novel featuring a woman who is prepared to fight for justice, regardless of the obstacles put in her path.
Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of the book to review.
A nice start to a new series. DCI Christine Caplan has not only been demoted, she's been sent from Glasgow to a Highlands village to deal with an especially ugly case. Yes a family was murdered and yes the only thing taken in the attack was the famous Devil Stone but did Satanists do it? There are some unexpected twists here - even given that there are Satanists involved- so no spoilers from me. Ramsay has created a dynamic character in Caplan, a woman who has a messy back story and a sharp mind. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. It's actually a page turner and I'm looking forward to the next outing with Caplan.
This is an amazing start to a new series by Caro Ramsay! I loved the characterisation, especially Caplan, who is under extreme pressure to solve a multiple murder of a wealthy local family, living in a small village in west Scotland. The setting is beautiful and I felt transported right to the heart of the action. Caplan soon finds herself working with a team of strange detectives, uncovering a web of police corruption and drug smuggling. The whole story, with it's clever plotting just pulled me in from the beginning and I am sure this is promising to be a new, and superbly crafted, crime series which I highly recommend. I look forward to the next in the series. Thanks to Net Galley for my ARC.
I received an E-ARC with a request for my honest review.
This crime thriller is set in Scotland and follows DI Christine Caplan who is trying to prove herself to regain her DCI status after an unfortunate incident.
When the bodies of an entire family are found murdered in Otterburn House where the Devil Stone is kept, the police must work out what could lead to such a devastating occurrence. DI Caplan is placed to assist in their case and soon starts to wonder who she can trust.
With the original lead investigator DCI Bob Oswald missing, DI Caplan starts to wonder whether there are further links to the case.
Who can DI Caplan trust? Who is responsible for the family murders?
I found the storyline interesting has it had many possible reasons for why the murders could have taken place and who could be involved. This kept the mystery throughout, as the story unfolded.
I did find there were too many characters involved for me and I found myself getting a bit lost at times. If there were to be more in this series, I think it would be easier to have less characters brought into the storyline so you could concentrate more on what was happening.
I loved Christine’s character, as she is a strong woman who is dealing with a lot of pressure not only in her job but in her personal life too. She sticks to what she feels is right and doesn’t give in which I really liked to see.
Overall, an interesting crime thriller where the police must solve the mysterious killing of a whole family.
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