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Ghost in the Machine

(Scott Cullen Mysteries #1)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,105 ratings  ·  215 reviews
Detective Constable Scott Cullen of Lothian and Borders has only been three months in CID as a full DC. He is assigned a Missing Persons case which has stretched his uniform colleagues. Caroline Adamson - a young, recently divorced mother from Edinburgh - has disappeared whilst on a date. The more Cullen digs into her disappearance, the more he unravels her private life. W ...more
Kindle Edition, 394 pages
Published April 15th 2012 by Self-published (first published April 13th 2012)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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 ·  3,105 ratings  ·  215 reviews

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Vinay Leo
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I think this is the first time I've read a book with the setting in Scotland. This, the first of the Scott Cullen police procedural series, was definitely one of the best books of my short Kindle-reader experience to date. Though the Scottish accent filled dialogue felt a little confusing at first, I got adjusted to it. And it brought some originality to it. The case qualifies as a mystery and to a little extent, as a thriller too because it kept me interested and wondering. The characters are w ...more
James Rye
This is my second Ed James and his first in the Cullen series. I liked several things about this book: his ability to draw the character of Cullen and his DC; the realistic dialogue; the details of the Kafkaesque police procedures; the ability to handle the slowly unravelling plot that becomes personal towards the end.

The main reason for not giving it higher than three stars is that I found myself deeply annoyed by DI Bains. I found him to be so horrible and so stupid that he was unbelievable an
Aug 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
i enjoyed this, but why do so many police detectives have to have a stupid boss (Frost Morse etc)in this instance it got in the way of the story by the end.
I'd read more, but it's not up to Ian Rankin or Alison Bruce
Mark Tilbury
Jan 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
DC Scott Cullen hasn’t been a detective for very long before he is given a missing persons case. A single mother has disappeared whilst on a date and her private life and events surrounding her divorce get examined. The use of social media sites and internet dating are a big part of the story and they are used to show how the characters tie together.

The first chapter is eventful and pacey, and this sets the tone for the rest of the book. The story continues at the same speed with DC Cullen atte
Mar 04, 2014 rated it liked it
The story was in general good, but I felt like the book lacked emotion and momentum. DI Cullen was a touch dull, his thought process was admirable, but he seemed to lack passion at least from my perspective. There was very little momentum, ordinarily murder mysteries spark this thrill to find the killer. This seemed to much like hard work. I don't think the characters were deep enough. Maybe all these things improve in the later novels, at least I hope so as I liked the style of this story. ...more
Lexie Conyngham
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A slightly under-stated but thoroughly enjoyable book with real characters and slightly too real settings - I was alarmed to find one scene set in the hotel I was just about to stay in the following night! It showed a thorough knowledge of Edinburgh (not just the usual aspects) and its people, and the plot was a good page-turner. I look forward to another one in the series.
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books, 2014-reads
First in series of the cases of Detective Constable Scott Cullen set in Scotland.
I really liked this police procedural novel. Schoolbook which is the Facebook in Scott Cullens world and plays an important role.

I will definitely continue to read the series.
Edward Beavers
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
Unusual read

Unusual read

I wouldn't say this book was better than expected it was a good read but was too much into Bain's incompetence and should have spent more time in "police work" in finding the killer.
Michelle Bacon
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Irish Who Dunit

I love a good mystery that keeps you turning the pages such as this particular book. Some women start turning up murdered and Scott Cullen is on a hunt to find the murderer. Bain, who is Cullen's boss has assumed who it is by the connections and a grainy security tape but Cullen is not 100% it is that guy.
Many twists in this plot keeps you guessing to the very end. I may need to read more in this series.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ed James has done a good job in crafting this debut indie Scottish police novel, which is a fairly fast read considering it runs 800 pages. The plot is logical, put together well, and James keeps the "whodunnit" answer a mystery until the end. My only minor negative note was that I was quite annoyed by the character of Bain, who is the protagonist's commanding officer. This is a bit unfair of me since Bain is designed to be an irritating person, consistently hindering those he directs and impedi ...more
Nigel Bird
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Facebook has a competitor. It’s called Schoolbook and it hooks up old friends. It also leaves some of those friends dead.
Ghost In The Machine opens with a blind-date that ends in the murder of a woman in an Edinburgh hotel. This sets off a chain of events that we watch unfold from the point of view of Scott Cullen, a detective who is new to me and who brings a wonderful energy to the world of the police procedural.
Cullen’s good at his job and is keen to do what is right. That’s not always as ea
Lynda Kelly
Jun 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: deleted
This story wasn't bad although it seemed to drag for me hence the time it took to get through it. It's taken me 6 days ! Every night when I put it down I didn't seem to have progressed very far through it for some reason. A real irritation for me, too, was that it was too Scottish. A lot of the phraseology started to get on my nerves-I imagine they're unique to there-like chapped on doors or the back of eight ?? I take it the latter means just past in English. It was used a lot and annoyed me a ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle
First in the series of books about Scott Cullen.A really good start and the series really looks promising.

Ed has done a brilliant job of creating a thoroughly good atmosphere and this held throughout the book.

Will give the next book a go now.
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
The disappearance and subsequent murder of Caroline Adamson means one heck of a lot of work Detective Constable Scott Cullen and others, as his bullying, condescending boss expects results fast. But catching a killer becomes much more complex when three other murders occur. The suspect, hiding behind different online personas, is difficult to identify let alone find.

Ghost in the Machine is one of the grittiest, most engaging police procedurals I’ve read this year. Set in an area called Lothian &
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Better than I thought

I've been looking for a new crime writer lately and wanted to pick someone that wasn't necessarily really mainstream. This author has been popping up in my Facebook feed for a while so I decided to give him a go. The writing style took a bit of getting used to and if I'm honest I really didn't like how the senior officers all seemed a bit...... Ummm.....I don't know useless? Corrupt? Bad? However I did persevere and whilst it was relatively easy to work out i did enjoy it. I
Andy Angel
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A very well written police procedural novel set in and around Edinburgh that may well lead to comparisons with the likes of Mark Billingham and Ian Rankin and in my opinion those comparisons would be well deserved.

What starts out as a missing person case quickly becomes a hunt for a serial murderer. The trail leads to several dead ends and red herrings. The chief has his eye on a possible promotion and is wanting to close the case quickly, convinced he knows who the guilty party is but DC Scott
Bernadette Robinson
Jan 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: thriller, kindle, crime
I really enjoyed this story which is the first in the Scott Cullen series of books based on DC Scott Cullen. I picked it up as a free kindle read.

I enjoyed the relationship between Cullen and his colleagues which at times became a little strained but to me this made it all the more believable. I think Cullen has the makings of a great character and look forward to seeing how he progresses in the next books in the series.

The story follows the disappearance of a woman and what you initially think
Tim Smith
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
This book reminds of the quote (paraphrasing here) that Americans and the inhabitants of the British Isles are peoples seperated by a common language. That observation could also apply to any reader not willing to look beyond James' liberal use of regional slang and colloquiallisms to the story told here. Another facet of this title that kept me from rating it lower was the insider view of the grinding nature ofpolice procedures. Although this has been used with great success by many American au ...more
Bill Hoyler
May 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
What is it with Scotland and serial killers?

Great first effort by Ed James. With "Ghost in the Machine" James has set the bar high for his subsequent novels. Taut, gripping and thoroughly engrossing Ghost tells the tale of a smart serial killer driven by revenge and ego, how he almost got away with 4 murders while doing an outstanding job framing someone else for it. Being from the States I'm really curious as to why so many crime novels set in the UK are about serial killers? I thought we Ameri
Misfits farm
Nov 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A woman goes missing and is then found dead. Her ex husband becomes a likely suspect. Then it happens again with the same m.o and things are not quite so straightforward. Who is the mystery man on " schoolbook" and why and how are these women specifically being targeted. At 50% of the way through I thought they had it almost wrapped up, but then comes along a new piece of evidence to turn things aound.
A good story with excellent characters. Some light hearted moments too which in my book are go
Mar 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Ed James has done a good job in crafting this debut indie Scottish police novel, which is a fairly fast read considering it runs 800 pages. The plot is logical, put together well, and James keeps the "whodunnit" answer a mystery until the end. My only minor negative note was that I was quite annoyed by the character of Bain, who is the protagonist's commanding officer. This is a bit unfair of me since Bain is designed to be an irritating person, consistently hindering those he directs and impedi ...more
Jun 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Another win for the cheap/free Kindle books!

This book had a really intriguing plot and kept me guessing as to who the villain was, in fact I never even expected the culprit to be who it was. There are a number of twists and turns which kept the plot moving nicely - all very nicely paced.

The various characters seemed to be pretty well developed (with a couple of minor exceptions), but I will admit that writing in the 'Scottish accent' to be slightly off-putting at first. I did adapt but it took q
Elaine Tomasso
Apr 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Modern policing has more and more to do with the Internet as it keeps up with social norms so it is fitting that more crime books get techie. I admit that I did not follow all the geek speak, even with explanation, but I picked up enough to get the gist of it.
This is a good solid procedural with few twists but plenty to hold your attention. Comparisons to Rebus are daft, apart from the setting, as this novel is not as atmospheric or character driven. Scott Cullen is a nice guy but not yet develo
Beth Wills
Jan 05, 2020 rated it did not like it
Argh. There is so much going on. Too many characters, I can't keep everybody straight. And most of them are irrelevant - flatmates, ex-girlfriends, ex-girlfriends' fiancés...Way too much dialogue. It's really not necessary to give us a blow by blow of Every. Single. Conversation. Less is more. Lots and lots of action - but pointless action. Back and forth between witnesses and obstreperous IT guys. I find how much Cullen is able to cram into one day rather unbelievable. And Bain - OMG Bain. Seri ...more
Kerry Swinnerton
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
First effort but redrafted....still needs work

The actual plot is quite interesting....the hook is established early enough to keep you reading, but then I found that there was too many characters for my liking. It was difficult to follow who was who and where they should have many police characters. The story becomes a little convoluted as it progresses and I was finding it hard going, but I persevered and was finally glad to get to the end. Maybe it is also a few chapters too lon
Sophie Narey (Bookreview- aholic)
Published: 15/04/2012
Author: Ed James
Recommended for: fans of thrillers
Edition: Kindle

I got this book for free on the Kindle and I thought it was a brilliant thriller book, it was unsuspecting twists throughout the book and it finishes with no loose ends at the end they are get tied up perfectly. Ed James's writing style is brilliant and draws you into the book effortlessly. The main character DC Scott Cullen is a relatable character and very likeable you will find yourself willing him on to be
Michelle Muckley
Dec 25, 2013 rated it liked it
It took me a while to get into this book. But by 30% I really started to get into the characters and to care about the storyline. I found at Scottish dialect a bit distracting at times, but not enough not to like the story. I had seen some reviews say it was a bit predictable, ad although I considered a similar ending, I didn't find myself certain of anything until the latter stages of the book. It kept a good pace, too. I would read another one of Ed James' books. ...more
Jan 09, 2015 rated it did not like it
This was really a fairly dreadful book that should have ended up on my "didn't finish" list. The mystery was awkwardly written and just so-so at best, the characters (who were mostly police) were obnoxious (even the ones you were supposed to like), the language awful and the vulgar innuendos were definitely plentiful. Why did I keep reading you ask? I'm embarrassed to say I have no idea why I kept reading! I've put down a book for a lot less. (sigh) ...more
Sheila Myers
Jan 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
"Ghost in the Machine" has a plot similar to other crime novels I've read, but with one interesting twist. Instead of being told from the perspective of the high profile investigator, Mr. James tells the story based on the case as viewed by the newest Detective Constable on the team. While the "top dogs" want a quick resolution at all costs, DC Cullens wants to find the truth. The plot with it's various twists kept me wanting to turn the pages to see what happened next. ...more
sweet tea
Mar 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is really good. I recommend this book to people who like csi shows or police shows. This book is about how a detective is just new to the force and gets assigned to a missing persons report. The person that went missing was reported after she went on a date with a guy she had just met. He goes out and questions everyone that she had been with but everyones stories work. So he has to go out and look harder.
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Scott Cullen Mysteries (8 books)
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  • Fire in the Blood
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  • Bottleneck (Scott Cullen Mysteries #5)
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