An Unfolding Trap
by Jo A. Hiestand
GENRE: British mystery
Since his infancy, Michael McLaren has been the target of his paternal grandfather’s anger. So when the patriarch sends an invitation to heal the rift, McLaren travels to Scotland, eager to meet and finally end the feud. But the welcome never happens. If Grandfather hadn’t invited him, who had? And why?
In Edinburgh, a man standing beside McLaren in a bus queue is killed in a hit-and-run accident. After an attack leaves McLaren for dead on a wintry moor, he’s convinced someone from his past is trying to murder him.
As McLaren trails the hit-and-run driver from the medieval ‘underground city’ of Edinburgh to the Boar’s Rock the MacLaren Clan’s ancestral meeting place the assaults intensify, and he’s plunged into a very personal hunt for a World War II treasure. The puzzle is fascinating; he just has to stay alive to solve it.
The upper landing was dimly lit, so as not to spoil the theatricality of the underground scene. But tiny strips of lights shone from beneath the stair treads, defining the path to the bottom. His left hand slid slowly along the metal railing, gripping more firmly as he paused to find each successive step. He felt the small torch in his jacket pocket but didn’t remove it. He needed his eyes to acclimate to the darkness.
He came to the second landing and the railing snaked back on itself, yet still angled downward. McLaren could see a small pool of light at ground level, a dozen stairs below. It seemed to come from a small door to the right. He took a deep breath, steeling his nerves, and descended.
At the bottom of the spiraled staircase he stood for moment, letting his eyes become accustomed to the near darkness. The ceiling was not much more than head high and seemed to mock his fear of confinement. Ahead he heard a voice relating the Close’s history. The voice sounded thin, bouncing off the hard walls.
He took a few steps past the bottom landing and looked around. The gloom intimidated him, threatened to suffocate him. Ahead and to his right pinpricks of weak yellowish light displaced some of the gloom and defined the areas through the maze, but murkiness filled the majority of the expanse. He moved slowly, his feet gliding over the rough ground, his hand skating over the wall. His fingers touched the bumps and small protuberances, skimming over them as though he were reading Braille.
Review: I'm a sucker for British mysteries and I read one from the McLaren Mystery series awhile back and loved it, so I was anxious to read this one. I read Shadow in the Smoke back in December. Michael McLaren is a great private investigator.
In this book there's a potential family reconciliation, but things are never what they seem and that reconciliation doesn't really happen, because his grandfather insists that he wasn't invited. That's mystery number one.
Then there's a hit and run, with a man standing beside Mike in a bus queue. Mystery 2
This is a book that will keep you turning the pages to discover who dun it.
This is book 5 in the series, but all books are stand alone novels and if the two I've read are any indictation, great reads!
Rating: 5 stars
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
A month-long trip to England during her college years introduced Jo to the joys of Things British. Since then, she has been lured back nearly a dozen times, and lived there during her professional folk singing stint. This intimate knowledge of Britain forms the backbone of both the Taylor & Graham mysteries and the McLaren cold case mystery series.
Jo’s insistence for accuracy, from police methods and location layout to the general feel of the area, has driven her innumerable times to Derbyshire for research. These explorations and conferences with police friends provide the detail filling the books.
In 1999 Jo returned to Webster University to major in English. She graduated in 2001 with a BA degree and departmental honors.
Her cat Tennyson shares her St. Louis home.
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