Taken for Dead – Graham Masterton

Title: Taken for Dead
Author: Graham Masterton
Published by: Head of Zeus
Publication date: Feb 1st, 2014
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 435
Format: Paperback
Source: Bury Library

Buy the book – Amazon


Katie Maguire is one of Ireland’s best detectives.
So why can’t she catch these killers?
In a secluded cove just outside the reaches of the city of Cork, a woman wakes up into a nightmare. She is buried in the sand, unable to escape. The gulls wheel silently overhead. Nobody could imagine the cruelty of her fate…
Katie Maguire of the Cork Garda is soon on the trail of a terrifying gang of torturers calling themselves the High Kings of Erin. She’ll do anything to stop them before they can claim their next victim – but somehow they are always one step ahead.
Is Detective Katie Maguire losing her touch? Or is somebody close to her less trustworthy than they seem?


As we all know, I’ve stated many times now, I am a fan of Mastertons books. I always feel a little rush of excitement when I managed to find one of his books that I’ve not read before. I admit, I am usually in with him for the horror aspect of his writing, but I am slowly beginning to think that he is really starting to shine when it comes to his thriller series. What I have found with his horror novels is that they’re becoming somewhat predictable – maybe more on account of the fact that I have read so many of them than anything else – this is certainly not the case when it comes to his Katie Maguire series!

Taken for Dead is the 4th book in the Katie Maguire series which sets the scene in typically gory fashion. A wedding is in full swing when the bride and groom go to cut the cake only to find they struggle to cut through the decapitated head that has been baked within! It’s a scene that certainly sticks in the readers mind and doesn’t let go easily – such is the mastery of Mastertons writing. Needless to say, his thriller series, much like his horror, aren’t for the faint hearted.

The theme of this story follows The High Kings of Erin extorting money via the kidnapping of near bankrupt businessmen, which in itself seems like an odd concept, but trust me it’s one of the key things that keeps the reader guessing throughout the story – it’s a plot hook that I’ve not come across before and kept me turning the pages.

Naturally one aspect of where the novel shines in it’s rather wonderfully graphic descriptions of various horrible acts; I think Mastertons experience as a horror writer lends itself well to this genre. A particular talent of Mastertons is that he can write a gruesome scene without having to make the words too flowery and overly complicated! It makes it easier for the scene to be injected straight into the mind without confusing the reader with too many big words – but I might have said I enjoy this aspect to his writing before in previous reviews of his novels.

The tale itself is rather intriguing and keeps the reader guessing. The ending, yes the story does have its conclusion, but it’s open ended enough to leave the reader wanting to know the outcome that will result in further novels in the series. Another enjoyable aspect of the book is the fact that there are links back to previous offerings in the series which add a sense of realism to the lengthy nature of detective work.

It’s not quite all good however, there are a few irritating points to the writing, like the constant use of everyones title every time they are mentioned. It just gets a little irksome after a few chapters.

And I do still have a question, even after finishing the novel. Who baked the cake?

Overall, it’s a damned fine read and it kept me turning the pages. I recommend the series for anyone who enjoys a good thriller and doesn’t shy away from those gory details!

3 responses to “Taken for Dead – Graham Masterton”

    • Masterton is one of my absolute favourite authors. I recommend him to anyone asking for new authors to look out for, even though some of his books can be a bit ‘hit and miss’
      I adore horror stories and Masterton does them so well.
      Tengu wasn’t his best offering, if I recall the book correctly, so I can honestly say try something else of his. Personally I like the ‘Night Warriors’ series and White Bones (The first Katie Maguire thriller) is really good too – and I think free/cheap on Kindle

      Liked by 1 person

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