Review: Michael J Malone – A Taste for Malice

five_leaves_-_a_taste_for_maliceI enjoyed the first outing of Glasgow detective Ray McBain. Blood Tears combined an emotive issue (abuse inside Catholic children’s homes) with an enjoyable and well-written murder plot. The follow-up has just been published and, in my opinion, is even better than the first. A Taste of Malice has a slightly more subdued feel to it, but again addresses difficult issues involving the abuse of children, this time within the family by someone you trust.

McBain is back at Glasgow CID but has been sidelined and told to keep his nose clean. Desperate for something to do, he hones in on two old cases, where a woman has inveigled her way into a family and found ways to manipulate and torture the children. He goes on a search for the woman, reinterviewing the children involved and following a cold trail. Meanwhile, in Ayrshire, another young family gratefully accepts help from a stranger who enters their lives. However, the mother’s loss of memory is masking deeper problems within the family that are ripe for exploitation.

Michael is an expert storyteller and in A Taste for Malice, we get two distinct plot lines that only merge in the final part of the book. The first, the investigation by McBain, sees him struggling with the trauma from his previous case in the face of Departmental indifference. Only his colleague, Allesandra Rossi, is prepared to assist him as he attempts to dig deeper into the abuse cases. The story of the family struggling to cope with the wife’s memory loss is suitably creepy and it is unclear for a fair amount of the book how the two cases converge. McBain is an attractive character. His childhood scars make him both vulnerable and prickly and his sex life is suitably tempestuous.

The book was an enjoyable and disturbing read. As well as appealing to those who enjoyed Blood Tears, it will also hopefully garner some new readers for this series.

Thanks to the writer for sending me a copy of the book.

16 thoughts on “Review: Michael J Malone – A Taste for Malice

  1. There seem to be a number of series set in Glasgow about at the moment. I recently discovered Gordon ferris, who I think is superb. I shall put Malone on my list and see if I can get hold of a copy.


  2. Margot Kinberg

    Sarah – A great review as ever. I do enjoy novels where you can follow multiple plot lines but the author draws them together. That takes skills.


    1. Thanks Margot. I like multiple plot lines too. They usually come together quite quickly but here it was 2 distinct strands for most of the book which is quite unusual.


  3. I got a bit confused here – isn’t there an American author called Michael Malone? I’m pretty sure I read some of his books a few years ago, but he must be someone different from this one! Anyway, this one does sound interesting.


  4. The subject matter sounds disturbing so I am a bit put off by that. On the other hand, you have certainly have convinced me that it is good storytelling and that is always something to savor when you find it. I read your review of the first book. I will add Michael J. Malone to my “books to look for” list and try not to confuse him with the other Michael Malone, who is also on the list. (I have read one of his books, published in 1983, set in North Carolina, USA.)


  5. Pingback: The Best of June’s Reading | crimepieces

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