New Book – Taken For Dead by Graham Masterton (Chapters 1 – 11)


First published: 2014

This is the fourth book featuring Katie Maguire, and I am still hooked.

Katie Maguire is the Chief Inspector of the Gardai, and from the previous books we know that her husband Paul died, but theirs was not a happy marriage. Katie also had a baby, but he also died. In the first book Katie met John, who had inherited the farm where a body was found, and they started a relationship. Yet, in the last book I read, John decided to return to America where he used to work and end the relationship.

This new book starts with a wedding reception. The bride and groom are about to cut the cake, but they feel unable to do so as there is something hard in the sponge. When the groom’s father decides to  cut deeper, he realises that what the cake hides is a human nose, and at once he calls the police.

Katie is in court as Michael Gerrety, who in the previous book was leading a prostitute ring, but to Katie’s chagrin he is acquitted as the witnesses are too scared to testify or they suddenly can’t remember a thing. This is a blow to Katie professionally and personally as she had invested so much in the case. Yet, there is nothing she can do. As she leaves the court, she gets the call from her colleagues, informing her of the head that had been found in the cake.

Katie drives to the place straightaway and talks to the officers there. She is told that the cake was delivered by a white unmarked van and the guy driving it had a distinctive accent. Apart from that, she also learns that the cake came from Micky Crouran’s bakery. Driving to the place, Katie discovers that the bakery is closed and there is nobody in the home of the Crourans. When the forensic team finish analysing the cake and the head, Katie is told that the head belongs to Micky Crouran and with all probably he has been done for about six or seven days.

When Katie and another detective Ni Nuallan talk to Mrs Crouran, the woman tells them that about a week ago her husband was kidnapped, and his kidnappers demanded two hundred thousand euros and forbid her from contacting the police. The woman managed to gather eighty thousand euros and left the money where she was told, but then she didn’t hear a thing about her husband’s abductors. Katie realises that the man was already dead when the kidnappers contacted Mrs Crouran and demanded a ransom.

A few days later a woman, Shelagh Hagerty, talk to Katie at the station. She says that her husband went missing a couple of days ago, and someone left a jar with the man’s teeth on her doorstep. The kidnappers have contacted her and demanded more or less the same money as with Micky Crouran. Katie thinks that the two cases are connected. Even though Shelagh Hagerty was also threatened if she tried to contact the police, the woman didn’t know what else to do.

Katie sets an operation, and when the kidnappers call the woman again, telling her where to leave the money, Katie sets things into motion. The day in question Shelagh puts the money in the boot of her car and leaves the car in the car park of a shopping centre. Katie and her colleagues watch the scene, and then a man wrapped in some kind of scarf walks to the car, changes the bag he was carrying for the one with the money, and gets into the car. As he drives away, one of the officers Brenda McCracken follows him. Yet, something strange happens. The man stops the car in the exit ramp, and suddenly, there is an explosion. The man set off a bomb, destroying the car, and Brenda, who was following him, got caught in the explosion. When Katy and the other officers run to the scene, the man is nowhere to be seen and there are no human remains in the car, and Brenda is seriously injured, and Katie tells the others that she has not much longer to live or so the paramedics think. These kidnappings are baffling Katie, and she thinks that these men are really clever, and she has the hunch that they will act again. We also know that unlike Micky Crouran, Derek Hagerty is alive and was found by a pair of friends in the middle of a road. The man didn’t want them to call an ambulance or the police as his kidnappers threatened to kill him or his family, so he simply asks them to drive him away from the place. I imagine that sooner or later Katie will learn that the man is alive as I imagine he will go to his wife.

Apart from Katie’s case, there are a few novelties in his life. At work she has a new boss Acting Chief Superintendent Bryan Molloy, and he and Katie don’t see eye to eye. He is the kind of man who thinks that a woman has no business in the police. Katie is hard when she talks to him, and she thinks or knows that Molloy accepts bribes from crooks to turn a blind eye to some things. Katie has no problem in telling him what she knows and threaten him to make that public. My, Katie really has spunk, but I don’t know if her attitude is sensible.

Also, Katie has new neighbours David and Sorcha Kane. He is a vet and seems quite friendly. Then at night Katie hears a terrible fight next door, and she even thinks that the man has hit his wife. When she sees David next, she hints something about dealing with domestic violence, and David realises that she is trying to tell him something. So Katie mentions the fight, and David explains that his wife is bipolar and what she heard the night before is common in his life. He shows her the scratches on his torso from the fits that Sorcha has. Katie is sympathetic, but at the same time she doesn’t trust this man. When on another occasion she and David talk, he kind of propositions to her, reasoning that he would like to feel normal with a normal woman. He then says he would like to take her out to dinner and have some drinks as well. I don’t like David, and it is pretentious and kind of bizarre of him to think that Katie would accept to have some kind of relationship with him, knowing that he is married. Katie has refused, thankfully, and she has no intention to change her mind, but David has also promised to keep insisting. What a pest of a man!!!


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