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exiledA young girl goes missing in Edinburgh, presumed abducted. No one sees her go, but in the station toilets not far from where she had stood with her mother, a black swan is found, severely mutilated and in a pool of blood.

And the black swan’s wings are missing.

The number of missing girls gets higher, each disappearance accompanied by a broken bird, and no one can fathom how they were taken.

What follows is a police procedural following brothers John (a cop) and Alan (an investigative reporter) as they investigate the missing girls.

So far, so “Stuart McBride.”

But you wouldn’t expect a straight detective story from a writer with a strong back catalogue in well written horror and, as usual, Meikle delivers.

Thanks to Alan, the Granger brothers find a sandwich-board nutter who seems to know a lot about what may have happened to the girls and it’s at this point that the story begins it’s shift into fantasy and horror as we are taken to the land of the fae where an evil is building, intent on tearing down the barrier between worlds.

The book has a real feel for Scottish myth and folklore yet the author manages to make the transitions between worlds believable and natural. The horror is well described and gory without being gratuitous and the book marries the Scotland of a dark Brigadoon with the Edinburgh of Rankine to create an interesting tale of evil ambitions, myth and 21st century detective work.

Being a Scot, I appreciated the setting. I read a lot of horror and it was refreshing for the setting to be somewhere other than America.

A good, satisfying book which leaves the reader with the hope that the sequel the author sets up isn’t long in coming.

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