I wasn’t looking for another Tartan Noir series but I wanted something ‘fun’ and absorbing to listen to (I read this as an audiobook) and Natural Causes definitely fitted the bill. Or maybe just stick a grim stone building under stormy skies on the cover with a big, distinctive, bold font and I’m anybody’s girl.
I say ‘fun’ for Natural Causes, it wasn’t really that really, what it was was pretty gruesome but, as with a lot of Tartan Noir, I liked the camaraderie between the police officers and the descriptions of a part of the UK I really don’t know at all but would like to know.
What made Natural Causes particularly stand out was the fact that it has a very definite supernatural element, which I hadn’t been expecting. It’s like Natural Causes is the bastard child of Stuart MacBride’s McRae series (‘straight forward’ Scottish police procedural) and Paul Cornell’s London Falling series (an out and out supernatural police series), except Natural Causes has inherited more of McRae’s characteristics than London Falling’s, with the supernatural element being much more subtle. There are other slightly cliched similarities between Natural Causes and the McRae series too; the loved one in a coma, the grumpy boss, the incompetent superior who hates the hero’s guts, past alluded to tragedy, the older lazy slightly comical lower ranked colleague, the romance between the police and the scene of crime officers etc etc, but hey it works.
Natural Causes is the first in a series and I will definitely be reading more. I thought the book set things up really well for further books in the series, with supernatural question marks over the hero’s family.