Review: Bitter Legacy by Dal Maclean

Rating: 4.5🌈

Murder mysteries are a favorite trope so discovering a new author and series of both made my day. Especially when the novel’s storylines and characters turns out to be so riveting and absolutely beautifully executed.

Dal Maclean’s Bitter Legacy, the first book in a series of the same name, is a gripping tale of multiple murders, intense law enforcement investigations, with a upcoming Detective’s emotional journey into passion, loss, grief, and love.

It’s such a remarkable story. At times it’s not easy reading. You have to be someone who enjoys the minutiae of police work, especially the tiniest of details laid down, that might be the one thing that helps solves the case later on in the story.

There’s more than one tragedy here, multidimensional victims and equally strong monsters.

The story is narrated by Detective Sergeant James Henderson, an up and coming officer in a Murder Investigation Unit. He’s being fast tracked for promotion if he doesn’t mess it up. James or Jamie as he gets called is out as gay in his unit, with no repercussions. Those came from his extremely wealthy father who cast him out when James refused to follow the family program as far as career and heterosexual marriage.

So James is a man who’s going through some very hard emotionally fraught issues as well as finding himself alone in a new career, new place with high expectations.

He’s a great character, one that as a narrator, only gets better as his feelings about the cases and people involved serve not only to pull us into his reality but all the others that he’s becoming closer to. Maclean’s writing is absolutely up to the challenges of painting a portrait of Jamie undergoing immense changes, handling unbearable grief, feeling great joy, and then the numbness of shattering death. The reader is there , feeling it all.

And not just Jamie’s emotional state, but that of others we come to care about through the cases and the Department James works in.

I thought the book was incredibly well written, the mysteries complex, and the ending just as shattering as you would expect.

Only the somewhat rushed ending and epilogue felt out of place given how much the rest of the book was well layered.

I am onto the next in the series. I’m highly recommending this story to all lovers of contemporary murder mystery romance. Pick it up and let me know what you think!

Bitter Legacy:

✓ Bitter Legacy #1

◦ King of Kings #1.5

◦ Object of Desire #2

◦ Blue on Blue #3 › showBitter Legacy #1 – Dal Maclean – Goodreads



Detective Sergeant James Henderson’s remarkable gut instincts have put him on a three-year fast track to becoming an inspector. But the advancement of his career has come at a cost. Gay, posh and eager to prove himself in the Metropolitan Police, James has allowed himself few chances for romance.

But when the murder of barrister Maria Curzon-Whyte lands in his lap, all that changes. His investigation leads him to a circle of irresistibly charming men. And though he knows better, James finds himself enticed into their company.

Soon his desire for photographer Ben Morgan challenges him to find a way into the other man’s lifestyle of one-night stands and carefree promiscuity. At the same time his single murder case multiplies into a cruel pattern of violence and depravity.

But as the bodies pile up and shocking secrets come to light, James finds both his tumultuous private life and coveted career threatened by a bitter legacy.
“Bitter Legacy” was a 2017 LAMBDA literary award finalist (Mystery).


Unless it’s noted, all books reviewed have been purchased by the reviewer

By Scattered Thoughts

At over 50, I am ruled by my terriers, my gardens, and my projects. A knack for grubbing about in the woods, making mud pies, and tending to the injured worms, bugs, and occasional bird and turtle growing up eventually led me to working for the Parks. I was a park Naturalist for over 20 years, and observing Nature and her cycles still occupy my hours. From the arrival of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds in the Spring to the first call of the Snow Geese heading south in the Fall, I am entranced by the seasons. For more about me see my bio on my blog.

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