The Sea Detective - Mark Douglas-Home

In an effort to address the tower of books taking over the spare room, I recently decided that every 5th read would be a random pick from the pile. Here goes.


Cal McGill is an oceanography PhD student living in a half finished condo building in Edinburgh. He currently has a few things on his plate: tracking the alarming number of severed feet that are popping up in waters around Scotland's coast, solving the mystery surrounding his grandfather's death & ticking off local coppers.


Another story line introduces us to Basanti, a young Indian woman who ends up in the hands of human traffickers. Her ordeal is brutal & terrifying as we follow her journey to Scotland


Chapters alternate between the 2 MC's until their paths cross. The result is a book full of action, intrigue & poignant stories that makes for a quick, mostly satisfying read. I particularly enjoyed the tale of Cal's grandfather & his role in WWll. 


The book's only weakness is the portrayal of members of Edinburgh's police service. The main DI comes across as a one dimensional bully more interested in bedding his female coworkers than solving crime (his success rate is this novel's real mystery). And they don't fare much better. Apparently Scottish policewomen spend all their time discussing who they should sleep with while making catty comments about each others' appearance. Seriously? It's literally part of every conversation between them.


So naturally the only one actually doing police work is repeatedly described as overweight & unattractive. Makes sense...she has a lot more free time seeing as no one would possibly see her as shaggable. This is reinforced by several scenes where she gets stuck in chairs, apparently due to her being a "massive" size 16. Um....what? Where the hell do the men sit? Going out on a limb here but I'm guessing Police Scotland has a few more pressing requirements for applicants than how they fill out a uniform.


Luckily, Cal & Basanti's characters make up for it. They're well defined & part of compelling mysteries that will keep you reading. And the oceanography angle is an interesting & original twist that adds to the story. Because of them I'll try another book in the series but fair the first sign of a female cop fretting about her thighs at a murder scene, I'm done.