The Price To Pay (2018) by Euan B Pollock

After helping former policeman and current Zen guru Sebastian Dakar investigate impossible murder in Tricks Of The Trade, things have gone back to normal for Stewart Scott at Edinburgh law firm where he is a trainee. He has finally started to climb the career ladder and finally has the chance to make an impression with his superiors – until his boss seconds him to Dakar once again. But this might be an even bigger opportunity.

The son of one of the partners has been murdered in mysterious circumstances. After being attacked while alone in an upstairs room at a party, his body was found in the cellar, stabbed to death. But while Dakar and Stewart try and get to the bottom of what happened at the party, a new threat appears. Dakar has secrets from his past and a journalist is about to expose them – and those secrets could spell the end of Dakar’s career – at best…

Last year, one of the freshest new mysteries was Tricks of the Trade, the first Dakar mystery. Dakar and Scott are a fresh take on the classic Holmes and Watson dynamic, but in this book, the author makes the interesting (and successful) decision in this book to introduce some cracks into Dakar’s seemingly perfect façade. While he isn’t revealed as being a priest rather than a policeman in his previous career, it does become clear that before his spiritual rebirth, Dakar made some serious mistakes which are coming back to haunt him. The repercussions of those mistakes go further than the reader might expect but these, while giving the tale more flavour, never distract from the central mystery.

The mystery is a sort-of impossible crime, and it’s rather good at playing at expectations. Pollock deliberately teases the reader with one possible solution to the upstairs attack before switching in a different direction. The solution is well done, although the behaviour of one character did raise some questions for this reader. The author doesn’t forget to include the emotional side to the resolution too, with some good work being done on the behaviour of the characters once the solution has been revealed.

All in all, another success in this series which started strongly and looks like it will continue to improve in the future. Highly Recommended.

Availability: The Price To Pay was released by Endeavour Press on 15th December 2018 in ebook and paperback. Many thanks for the review copy.

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