Review: Sticks and Stones (DCI Harry McNeil #1) by John Carson


Print Length: 248 pages
Publisher: Black Owl Books (August 31, 2019)

From Fifteen years ago, a man brutally murdered his wife, before taking his own life.

Now, DCI Harry McNeil is heading up a Major Investigation Team and he is called to a small town in the Scottish Highlands. A bride has gone missing from the hotel on her wedding night, and despite a search, there is no sign of her.

McNeil and his team are there to back-up a local MIT along with a team from Glasgow. The bride and groom are from very powerful families from the east and west coasts, and the police need to be seen to be doing something.

While hunting for the bride, somebody turns up dead, murdered in a similar way to the woman from fifteen years ago.

McNeil and the others are pressured into getting a quick result, but how do you catch a killer who is one step ahead and watching your every move? It is going to take all they have to bring him to justice.

Until then, he's going to keep on killing...


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

This book was not only very disjointed in areas, but considering how bumbling the entire police force was portrayed, it was a miracle they were able to find the bodies, much less solve the crime. 

Seriously, it seems like they spent more time bantering with each other (or being borderline insulting to their partners) , drinking in the hotel bar, and asking where a specific person was (both potential suspects and fellow officers) instead of doing solid police work and tracking the person down themselves. Even when evidence seems to point to a killer, they do next to nothing to actually track the person down. And when two civilians actually do find something, they are hauled off to the police station and questioned? In what world does that make sense? 

Even when the "twist" is revealed and potential case breaking information comes to them, it is through no police work of their own. Oh no, somehow despite this information being publicly available, every single officer assigned to the case does no research, searches for any kind of motive except the one handed to them. Instead they have to wait until one of the locals clues them into the tragic past of the area (and coincidentally the location of an old building that could have changed the entire story). 

Sadly, even the aforementioned  plot twist did not make up for the rest of this seemingly rushed story. In fact, it made even less sense than anything else. I'm all for a good revenge plot, when it is well executed, and sadly this was not. However, because this was the first book in a new series, and the others are also available on KU, I will give this author one more chance to impress me before I give them up for good.

                                                    Sticks and Stones is available from
                                   (for free if your subscribe to Kindle Unlimited)

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