cover image Taken for Dead

Taken for Dead

Graham Masterton. Head of Zeus (IPG, dist.), $13.95 trade paper (464p ) ISBN 978

Readers with weak constitutions should be prepared for both stomach-churning violence and undistinguished prose in Masterton's clich%C3%A9d fourth procedural starring Irish Det. Supt. Katie Maguire (after 2014's Red Light). The gross-outs begin in the very first chapter as a bride and groom find themselves unable to cut their wedding cake because there's something hard on the bottom layer. To their horror, they find a decomposing human head. Katie and her team quickly identify the victim as Micky Crounan, a missing baker, and soon they have more carnage to deal with. A sophisticated gang calling itself the High Kings of Erin has taken up kidnapping, and sends body parts as proof of abduction. The criminals' ability to know what Katie has planned leads her to suspect a leak from Cork City police headquarters. Masterton tosses in a superfluous side plot with several groan-worthy soap opera developments, as Katie becomes increasingly involved with her new neighbor, a veterinarian who hits his wife. (Dec.)