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West of France, 1989.

A weeping killer deposits the unconscious body of nineteen year old Lucie Martin, her head wrapped in a blue plastic bag, into the water of a picturesque lake.

Lot-et-Garonne, 2003.

Fourteen years later a summer heatwave parches the earth, killing trees and bushes and drying out streams. In the scorched mud and desiccated slime of the lake a fisherman finds a skeleton wearing a bag over its skull.

Paris, October 2011.

In an elegant apartment in Paris, forensic expert Enzo Macleod pores over the scant evidence of this, the sixth cold case he has been challenged to solve. In taking on this old and seemingly impossible task he will put everything and everyone he holds dear in a peril he could never have imagined.

344 pages, Kindle Edition

First published January 1, 2017

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Peter May

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 391 reviews
Profile Image for Maureen .
1,385 reviews7,088 followers
January 27, 2022
In 1989 the body of twenty year old Lucie Martin was dumped into a lake in Western France. Fourteen years later, because of a drought, her remains were discovered - a skeleton with a bag over her head.
Enzo MacLeod, who is involved in a string of cold case investigations, arrives to look into this murder. It was never solved, but the killing appeared to be the same modus operandi as three others committed by a pimp and drug dealer, Régis Blanc, who was imprisoned for those murders. He seemed to be the killer, although he denied any involvement, and the case was assumed to be complete even though no evidence could be found to incriminate Blanc directly - he had an alibi.

Enzo MacLeod is a cold case investigator because he has had a successful career as a forensic investigator and has taught the science in a French university. His first wife is back in Scotland, another sadly died, and a third is the father of his son, who appears to have a poor relationship with Enzo. This man can only be described as a woman chaser, and extremely vain to boot. This is going to become a very dangerous case for MacLeod!

Peter May’s writing is so good and completely compelling, and even though I didn’t like Enzo, I would still rate this as a highly recommended novel.
Profile Image for Paula K .
421 reviews423 followers
March 16, 2020
I am such a big fan of Peter May and his suspense thrillers set in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland.

This is the first of The Enzo Files I have read and, unfortunately, the book (set in France) didn’t have the same chemistry as The Lewis Trilogy. Although Enzo Macleod is of Scottish descent the thriller is not “dark and disturbing” as I expect from his Outer Hebrides novels.

The good new is there are still two books set by the Shorelines of Scotland that I have yet to read. During these difficult times, returning to a favorite author does bring comfort no matter what the outcome.

Do read THE BLACKHOUSE if you like a good suspense thriller...

3 out of 5 stars

Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,052 reviews583 followers
November 9, 2018
This is the sixth book in a series featuring biologist and teacher Enzo Macleod. The back story is that some while ago Enzo gave up a potentially brilliant career in forensics, in his native Scotland, to pursue a wager. He bets some friends that he could use new scientific methods of detection to solve seven celebrated unsolved murders, all described in a book written by a French investigative journalist. He’s already addressed the first five, so now it’s time for number six. It’s worth noting that this latest book reads like the latest chapter in one long ongoing story; there are numerous carry-over characters here and just about everyone Macleod meets seems to have some kind of history with him and a link to one of the previously solved cases. This isn’t a series you should start (as I have) with the latest book – if you're new to this series you should definitely go back to the beginning.

In truth, I didn’t much warm to Enzo. He’s a man who comes across as a somewhat vain woman chaser, and he’s an irascible type who seems to be completely lacking a sense of humour. But despite this I did begin to become wrapped up in the case of twenty-year-old Lucie Martin whose body had been dumped into a lake in the west of France, in 1989. As the story develops it becomes clear just how tangled Enzo’s personal life is and herein lies a problem with a series like this, I think: as each episode unfolds characters become involved in a very real way and when all of this is aggregated it really feels like there isn’t anyone left who hasn’t been implicated in a crime, had a relationship with the lead man or is in some other way a material player in one of the murder stories. It can feel a bit unreal, like characters in a long running soap opera.

The story itself plays out like an old fashioned whodunnit, with a bit of Alistair Maclean derring-do thrown in for good measure. And there’s actually not much forensics expertise demonstrated in this case. It’s competent enough in terms of maintaining a background level of tension that kept me interested enough to stay with the tale, but it’s didn’t exactly have me leaping out of bed each morning to devour the next chapter. Can this book really be from the hand of the man who wrote the brilliant Lewis Trilogy? I’m afraid so – but it’s really not in the same class.

I might have felt very differently about this story had I approached having read the previous episodes. Maybe I’d have found more empathy with Enzo and his entourage. But then again, maybe not. Distinctly average fare, I’m afraid.

My thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Phrynne.
3,228 reviews2,058 followers
November 12, 2017
This one started off slowly but once the abduction happened things gathered pace and there were lots of surprises!

At last we found out who has been trying to murder Enzo -and who would have thought it would be that particular person. Not me for sure. Lots of loose ends were tied up very nicely and we left Enzo for the last time in a very good place.

I enjoyed Cast Iron very much indeed but it is definitely a book for people who have read the earlier books in the series. Everything is rounded off, bad people die or go to prison, good people find out amazing things and look forward to happy futures. All very satisfying:)
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday is (reluctantly) on hiatus.
1,975 reviews2,041 followers
September 10, 2019
EXCERPT: It smells of animal here. Dead animal. Something that has been hung to ripen before cooking. Hundreds of years of fermenting grapes have suffused the earth with odours of yeast and carbonic gas, stale now, sour, a memory retained only in the soil and the sandstone and the rafters. like all the forgotten lives that have passed through this place, in sunlight and in darkness.

It is dark now, and another life has passed.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: West of France, 1989.

A weeping killer deposits the unconscious body of nineteen year old Lucie Martin, her head wrapped in a blue plastic bag, into the water of a picturesque lake.

Lot-et-Garonne, 2003.

Fourteen years later a summer heatwave parches the earth, killing trees and bushes and drying out streams. In the scorched mud and desiccated slime of the lake a fisherman finds a skeleton wearing a bag over its skull.

Paris, October 2011.

In an elegant apartment in Paris, forensic expert Enzo Macleod pores over the scant evidence of this, the sixth cold case he has been challenged to solve. In taking on this old and seemingly impossible task he will put everything and everyone he holds dear in a peril he could never have imagined.

MY THOUGHTS: Trust me to begin this series with the final book! I have to admit that I did not realize it was part of a series when I picked it up, just that it was a book by an author that I have come to admire. But yes, although I know how it all pans out in the end, I am definitely going to read this series from the beginning, because talk about breathtaking! There was surprise after surprise in Cast Iron by Peter May. Definitely nothing predictable. Breathtaking, heart-pounding, suspenseful thriller!

Enzo appears to be a bit of a womanizer, a charmer, a slightly older man with a penchant for younger women. Yet there is nothing sleazy about him. I think I would quite like him if I met him, although I would be a little too old for his taste. He has a clutch of children, all with different mothers, with whom he maintains mostly amiable relationships. He can be moody, broody and prickly. But he is quick witted, sharp and passionate.

I really enjoyed this book. I place it in the 'couldn't put it down' category, and 'more please' Mr May.

THE AUTHOR: Peter May (born 20 December 1951) is a Scottish television screenwriter, novelist, and crime writer. He is the recipient of writing awards in Europe and America. The Blackhouse won the U.S. Barry Award for Crime Novel of the Year and the national literature award in France, the CEZAM Prix Litteraire. The Lewis Man won the French daily newspaper Le Télégramme's 10,000-euro Grand Prix des Lecteurs. In 2014, Entry Island won both the Deanston’s Scottish Crime Novel of the Year and the UK’s ITV Crime Thriller Book Club Best Read of the Year Award.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Hachette Australia, Quercus via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Cast Iron by Peter May for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Brenda.
4,110 reviews2,668 followers
July 27, 2017
When the fisherman took some time out for a well-earned rest, he had no idea that firstly the lake he regularly fished had had the levels lowered dramatically due to the unseasonal drought, and secondly that he would find skeletal remains, now exposed in the sunlight. The discovery that the remains were of a young girl, missing for fourteen years, shocked the community…

It was eight years after the grisly discovery and forensic expert Enzo Macleod was in Paris, continuing his quest to solve the cold cases he’d started on some years prior. The search for the killer of the young girl who had gone missing in 1989 would consume him in its usual way. But he had no idea how dangerous it would become, both for him and his loved ones. The evidence was sparse; the conclusions the police had originally reached didn’t sit well with Enzo.

Would he flesh out the killer? And would it come at a cost that was way too high?

Cast Iron is the 6th and final instalment in The Enzo Files by Peter May and it was brilliant as is usual from this author. Twists, turns, an intense and racing plot – this thriller took my breath away! And how much more could one person take?? Cast Iron is an exceptional thriller that I have no hesitation in recommending highly.

With thanks to NetGalley and Hachette AU for my ARC to read and review.
Profile Image for Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede.
1,938 reviews788 followers
February 5, 2017
Once again I read the latest book in a series, and part of my wonder why on earth that I have not read any of the previous books? Especially since I love Peter May's Lewis trilogy.

Cast Iron is book six in the Enzo file series. Forensic expert Enzo Macleod made a bet to solve cold cases that journalist Roger Raffin has written about in a book, which includes the murder of Roger's wife Marie. In this, the sixth book is the murder of nineteen-year-old Lucie Martin that Enzo is trying to solve. However, it's a difficult case, and it gets personal when someone goes after someone Enzo loves.

I think that Peter May really have a talent for creating interesting characters and the Scottish-Italian Enzo Macload is a really fascinating character. He is a very good forensic expert with a very messy family situation. A baby with a woman that seems to loathe him (for some unknown reason), two daughters, Kristy who has a child with Raffin and Sophie who is not really his daughter after they found out that Enzo's ex-wife had an affair with his best friend. So, Enzo must also deal with a lot of personal stuff during the books progress.

I like the progress of the story, how Enzo starts off with Lucie Martin's murder, but soon realize that the case is bigger than just the one killing and the man suspected of killing Lucie, a serial killer who killed three prostitutes may or may not be Lucie's killer. The ending was really thrilling and intense. And I loved that there was a twist in the end that I did not foresee. I did think that the ending felt a bit too easy that there must be a game change and I was right, I just didn't see the one coming.

I really like the book and I hope to get the chance to read the previous five books some day!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Profile Image for Carolyn.
2,179 reviews618 followers
February 6, 2017
This novel is the sixth in Peter May’s Enzo series, featuring Enzo McLeod, a half Italian, half Scottish forensic expert who undertakes to investigate a series of cold cases for a bet. Enzo now lives in France, teaching forensic science in Toulouse. He has a complex family life, with several ex-lovers scattered around France, as well as a daughter, step-daughter and grandchild and an infant son with one of his ex-lovers. His current cold case features a young woman, Lucie Martin, who disappeared in 1989, with her body later found fourteen years later on the dried up edges of a lake during a long drought. At the time that she disappeared, she was working for an organization that helped released prisoners reenter society and had been helping a man who would later be convicted of murdering three prostitutes. Lucie’s family have always believed that this man, Régis Blanc was responsible for her murder. However, Régis claims that he didn’t murder Lucie, so Enzo has his work cut out trying to investigate what really happened all those years ago.

The plot is fast paced and full of twists and turns, as Enzo finds many of those around him are keeping secrets and someone seems to want him dead or at least to stop his investigation. As Enzo uses good old fashioned police work to investigate his case, the plot becomes more complex as further crimes come to light and nothing seems to fit. This will hook you in and keep you second guessing until all finally becomes clear and the pieces fall into place. An enjoyable thriller, probably most satisfying if you have read the rest of the series but it also works well as a stand alone novel.

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher Quercus Books for a copy of the book to read and review.
Profile Image for Sue.
1,244 reviews534 followers
December 7, 2019
The Enzo series is finished! I won’t include spoilers because I want others to enjoy these books as I have. The premise for this series is that Enzo McLeod, transplanted from Scotland to France about 20 years in the past, has taken on the challenge of solving murders outlined in Roger Raffin’s well known book. Enzo’s background in forensics is the strength he is hoping/planning will give him an edge.

Joining him in his search for answers are an assortment of friends, family and professionals within the police community at large, though often he is on his own. There is usually a beautiful woman nearby as Enzo seems powerless to resist the charms of a pretty face (or sensuous walk). In this final book of the series, the usual elements are present but with some changes that allow completion of various plot lines. He is nearing the end of the challenge but now is increasingly under threat from the unknown person who tried to kill him twice before. Obviously he must be close to something important....but what?

Cast Iron was compelling reading. I read in long spurts, stopping only when my eyes could no longer focus on my iPad (much less forgiving than my Paperwhite). I really wanted to know what was going to happen next, who was in danger, who might not survive this story, and of course what would be Enzo’s fate. Everything was up in the air for much of this book.

When it came to rating, this is by far my favorite of the Enzo series. May seems to have been at the top of his game in developing the plot and working out all of the interlocking steps with prior books. It’s not quite up there with the books of the Lewis Trilogy, but Cast Iron does a great job of completing the Enzo Files. If you read these books, do read them in order. It is important.
Profile Image for Kylie H.
905 reviews
August 13, 2021
This is the 6th book in the Enzo McLeod series.
In this story he is still solving the cold cases from Raffin's book, but it appears that someone is determined to stop him at any cost. As Enzo rushes to solve the crime he has a lot at stake, including the life of someone very close to him.
This book brings all of the characters together and revisits some of the earlier cases. Happily not as focused on food and wine and book five.
Profile Image for Paul.
888 reviews70 followers
September 1, 2017
Cast Iron – An Enzo Macleod Classic

Peter May returns with another classic Enzo Macleod thriller that has more twists and turns than your average game of twister, and you will not even see a few of them coming. Once again Peter May’s prose paints beautiful pictures, his knowledge and research is second to none and he knows how to draw in the reader and keep them all the way to the last sentence.

In 1989 a killer dumps the body of Lucie Martin into a lake in a picturesque area of western France, fourteen years later that body is revealed and in 2012 the case remains unsolved. In 2012 Enzo is well on to his way to winning his bet of solving the cases’ in the Raffin’s book of unsolved murders, but the murder of Lucie Martin seems to have him stumped.

Enzo a professor of forensics in France has a well-earned reputation for solving the unsolvable cases, but finds a flaw in the original investigation. Little does he realise that he is about to open a Pandora’s box of hell on his family, and that endangers the lives of his daughters. It is his knowledge and belief that the Bordeaux Six and the murder of three prostitutes have been ascribed to the convicted killer Regis Blanc.

When he manages to Blanc, he is convinced that Blanc loved Lucie, and that it is not connected to the murders he was convicted of. He knows there is a key that he is missing to solve the mystery and he cannot see it, but he knows that he eventually will. What he does not realise is the cost on those close to him as and when he does how much it will affect him.

Peter May is a master story teller he knows how to draw the reader in and keep them entertained all the way through the book, and in this case trying to see if you can work out who the culprit is before the reveal. So, when you get the twist or turn, you do not see it coming, it is like being on a rollercoaster in the dark when you cannot see what is coming up in front of you, and you certainly get the ride of your life.

A fantastic thriller, read it, love it.

Profile Image for Nigel.
820 reviews93 followers
September 12, 2019
Enjoyed reading this - 4.5 probably. I'm reading these out of order and so far that's been ok but maybe I should have left this one to last! I like this series and Enzo is an excellent character. The overall story line is good and the characters too. I'll read more when I get the chance definitely
Profile Image for Leah.
1,389 reviews211 followers
February 6, 2017
Secrets of the past...

Back in book 1 of the Enzo Files series, Scottish forensic expert Enzo Macleod, now living in Toulouse, took on a bet that he could use modern forensic techniques to solve the seven unsolved murders that were described in a true crime book written by Parisian journalist Roger Raffin. A few years on, he is now beginning his investigation into the sixth murder, of a young girl, Lucie Martin. Lucie disappeared one day back in 1989, and no trace of her was found until the great heatwave of 2003 when her skeleton showed up in the dried-out shore of the lake near her home. Her parents believe she was murdered by a notorious serial killer who was active at that time, but he had a cast-iron alibi for the time she disappeared. Enzo has very little to go on as he reopens the case, but it soon becomes clear someone is out to stop him from finding out the truth...

Anyone who reads my blog regularly will know that I'm a big fan of Peter May's work, going all the way back to his China thrillers. I admit, however, that the Enzo Files is the one series of his to which I've never really taken. In fact, I haven't read them all – just the first two, then this one. But this is really due to a matter of personal preference than any real criticism of the books. May's usual protagonists tend to be unencumbered by family ties, or to develop relationships as the series progress. But Enzo comes with a lot of family baggage, which gets added to in each book. Having left his first wife and their daughter, he moved to France with his new love, who then died giving birth to another daughter. So in the early books there's a lot of working out of resentments with his first, abandoned daughter, Kirsty, and by the time of this book, both daughters have acquired lovers who featured in earlier cases.

Enzo meantime picks up women at a rate that would make George Clooney jealous, so that by the time of this book he has tense relationships with more than one ex. And in each story, some or all of his extended family get involved in the investigation. May does it very well, and keeps all the various personal storylines ticking over, but it's just not my kind of thing – I find all the relationship stuff takes away from the focus on the plot (and I frankly don't see what it is about Enzo that apparently makes him so irresistible to women). But I wouldn't want to put other people off – what I don't like about this series may well make it particularly appealing to people who like their protagonists to have a 'real' life beyond the immediate plot.

As Enzo begins his investigation by visiting the victim's family, he is unaware that his daughter Sophie and her boyfriend Bertrand have been abducted, until he receives a warning to stop if he wants to get them back safely. Naturally, this only makes him redouble his efforts! The strand involving Sophie and Bertrand's imprisonment and attempts to escape is my favourite bit of the book. It takes us into traditional thriller territory with plenty of action and mounting tension, and May excels at this type of writing.

The main plot regarding Lucie's murder is also excellent, showing all May's usual skill at creating strong characters and interesting settings, and managing to have some credible emotional content to offset the action thriller side of the book. However, there is also an overarching plot to the series which comes to a climax in this one, and I felt there was perhaps a little too much going on and too many coincidental crossovers between the various strands. But May's writing is a pleasure to read as always, and he manages to bring all the threads together well in the end. Some aspects of this work as a standalone, but because it reveals so much about the background plot, I would strongly suggest this is a series that should be read in order. Reading this one first would undoubtedly spoil the earlier books in a significant way. The first book in the series seems to be known as Extraordinary People now, though it was originally published under the title Dry Bones.

I hope my relatively lukewarm review won't put people off trying this series. Even with favourite authors, we all prefer some of their stuff to others, but any Peter May book is still head and shoulders above most of the competition. And this is as well-written and strongly plotted as always, while the French setting gives it an added level of interest. So, despite my personal reservations, I still recommend the series, especially if the complicated family relationships aspect appeals to you.

NB This book was provided for review by the publisher, Quercus, via MidasPR.

Profile Image for Alex Cantone.
Author 3 books34 followers
October 22, 2017
Sixth of the seven cold cases in Assassins Cachés, written by best-selling Parisian journalist Roger Raffin, involves the unsolved murder of Lucie Martin, daughter of a French judge and his wife, who went missing in 1989. Her body was found in a lake near their house in 2003, during the heatwave which killed thousands across France, when the water level had dropped by four metres. But Toulouse-based Scottish forensic scientist Enso McLeod seemed distracted, staring down into the Paris street below.

…his eyes drawn by an elegant lady in black whose heels clicked on those same cobble stones beneath finely turned ankles, and he wondered if the day would ever come when his interest would not be aroused by an attractive woman. After all, he could see sixty now, looming not far beyond the horizon..

McLeod takes on the case to fulfil the bet he has with friends and travels to Duras in the Bordeaux wine-producing country to meet the parents. The main suspect, Régis Blanc, is serving a life sentence for strangling three prostitutes. A pimp himself and sometimes drug user, Blanc met Lucie Martin at a rehabilitation centre for prisoners on release and they became friends. He has a cast iron alibi for the time of her disappearance. But the meeting with the parents is hijacked by the arrival of the parents of five other girls who went missing, with only one body found, known collectively as the “Bordeaux Six”.

He watched the cars leave one after the other, headlights following tail lights down the hill, before gradually being swallowed by the night and the mist that was rising from the river and the lake. They carried their pain off into the darkness, where it would stay with them for the rest of their lives. There was nothing, he was very nearly certain, that he could do for any of them.

McLeod has become a victim of his own success. His private life is shambolic, with Charlotte, mother of his infant son (or is he?) restricting access in her own bitchy way. His two daughters have their own issues but are drawn in as someone of influence wants to shut his investigation down…

In this the final of the Enzo McLeod series, the phlegmatic Scot faces the nightmare of every parent whose offspring go missing: he has been targeted in the past and calls on the help of friends. With a superb subplot it is others who join the dots together as McLeod follows lead after lead, mostly to a dead end.

I would have rated this one higher, but for me it seemed long on emotional baggage and short on detail or logistics. Time frames blur. It left unanswered questions, such as, how was injured Bertrand taken to hospital in Montpelier? Was he airlifted? The ending is a classic crime passionnel, but I suggest reading the earlier books in the series first, as there are quite a few references.
Profile Image for Marianne.
3,399 reviews147 followers
November 20, 2021
Cast Iron is the sixth book in the Enzo Macleod Investigation series by Scottish journalist, screenwriter and author, Peter May. After refreshing himself on the details of Roger Raffin’s sixth cold case with him, Enzo heads in the direction of Bordeaux to meet the parents of Lucie Martin, whose unexplained disappearance in 1989 became a murder case when a nearby lake dried up during the drought of 2003, revealing her skeleton.

But not long after meeting the Martins, Enzo feels ambushed when he finds himself in the middle of a gathering of the families of six young women who are missing or dead, all of whom believe a certain killer of three prostitutes is to blame. While a letter from pimp Régis Blanc was found in Lucie’s bedroom, he has a cast iron alibi for when she disappeared.

Enzo talks to Lucie’s boyfriend, the ex-cop whom the families of the Bordeaux Six hired to investigate, Blanc’s wife and the women he pimped. He locates Lucie’s missing skull and makes a discovery that changes the whole complexion of the case. The more he hears, the less he is convinced that Blanc is Lucie’s killer.

When he meets Blanc in Lannemezan Prison, he becomes intrigued by the motive for the three murders for which this enigmatic man was incarcerated. But then he is distracted by his younger daughter. And in the crisis that follows, Enzo, true to form, has four women falling over themselves to assist in any way they can.

Sophie and her fiancé Bertrand discover first-hand just how dangerous being beloved of Enzo can be when his investigations displease certain people. Bertrand certainly gets a chance to prove his love, and Sophie shows herself to be resourceful and undefeated by challenging circumstances.

In what feels like the final book in the series, the action ranges from Paris to Cahors to Bordeaux to Biarritz. Some clever deduction and plenty of legwork is done, and there are plenty of twists and red herrings before the shocking reveal of just who is trying to kill Enzo, and why.

Both of Roger Raffin’s remaining cold cases are solved and loose ends are tied in a fairly neat bow, so fans of the series will doubtless be interested to know what May has planned for Enzo and crew in the seventh book of the series, The Night Gate. Enjoyable crime fiction.
1,494 reviews24 followers
April 10, 2019
This book, which closes the story of Enzo MacLeod, forensic scientist, and his bet that he would solve 6 cold cases from his adopted homeland of France, was competently written. The descriptions of the French countryside and towns were especially well done. But because this is the last installment of a series and loose ends needed to be tied up, we ended up with a barely credible mess of soap-opera materials. For instance, Enzo had 3 children... no, wait, his daughter may not be his biological daughter...and then, wait, now the suspicion arises that his young son may not be his biological son after all. It boggles the mind that this esteemed professor of forensic science has never thought about doing a simple paternity test to solve these questions. Then it appears that over the course of the series, several attempts have been made on his life, or on that of his loved ones, which seem to have been foiled by others taking a bullet for him, or intervening in some other heroic way. It's just too much! The same is true about Enzo's love life: we hear him mooning over his dead second wife, then about the spoiled relationship with his son's mother, then he muses about an almost-liaison with a police commissioner, and finally he ends up with a beautiful ex-gendarme he met in a previous case and who just shows up on his doorstep and - surprise, surprise, ends up with a bullet in her chest. Too much ! This is like one of those restaurant desserts that piles together chocolate with pecans, caramel, whipped cream, vanilla, cinnamon and a dozen other ingredients, and ends up being a cloying mess.

Finally, I would have to say that I saw the solution of the mystery coming a mile off.

In summary : I am not surprised by this series' popularity. The thrills keep coming - but the overall readability and credibility of the plot suffer from a surfeit of plot elements. The author's prior experience as a television writer has not necessarily served him well in the construction of this book.
2,911 reviews55 followers
January 9, 2017
I'd like to thank Netgalley and Quercus Books for an advance copy of Cast Iron, the sixth and final (so far) novel in the Enzo Macleod series.

Enzo is coming close to winning his bet of solving all seven cases in Roger Raffin's book of unsolved murders. In Cast Iron he takes on the case of Lucie Martin whose bones were found in 2003 after she disappeared in 1989. Most people have always believed that Lucie was murdered by pimp, Régis Blanc, who apparently had a crush on her and who was arrested a couple of days after she disappeared for the murder of three prostitutes. The more Enzo digs into the case the murkier it gets.

I have only read the first book in this series and that was a few years and many books ago thus I'm not overly familiar with the series but Cast Iron reads well as a stand alone so it doesn't matter. There is a sense of tying off loose ends as befits the final novel in a series which is extremely satisfying but mostly it is a good read. The plot has plenty of twists and turns to keep the interest going and with new developments in every chapter it never flags. I think there will be a few surprises in it for series readers and the conclusion certainly came as a surprise to me.

Enzo Macleod is an interesting protagonist. Half Scottish, half Italian and brought up on the mean streets of Glasgow, well maybe not so mean if his parents could afford private education he has pursued his career in Toulouse where he is a professor of forensic science and yet, in this novel at least, forensics don't play a large part and when they do it is at someone else's instigation as he seems to prefer the old fashioned methods of questions, shoe leather and deduction. He is an appealing man - smart, attractive and very human with his rather dysfunctional family life (3 children with different mothers).

I thoroughly enjoyed Cast Iron and have no hesitation in recommending it as a good read.
Profile Image for Jill Hutchinson.
1,460 reviews105 followers
October 22, 2018
Something to remember: never read the last book in a series before you read the first books. This is the last of Peter May's short series featuring forensic scientist, Enzo Macleod and I was totally at sea about some of the references, characters, and the relationships among those characters. With a story that is complicated to begin with, this is the kiss of death. That is not to say that the book wasn't interesting and fairly well written but the author depended on what had happened in the preceding books to shape this plot and this made for difficult reading.

I am not going to attempt to review the plot but will say that it had a bit too many close calls, impossible escapes and coincidences for my taste. I know I am in the minority and probably would have given it a higher rating if I had not read the last book first! My mistake.
Profile Image for Kathy.
3,348 reviews177 followers
February 10, 2018
Enzo Files not for me. I did what everyone said not to do...picked up the last book in the Enzo series. I don't care for the dude at all. Gave it a fair chance and have to carry the heavy book back to the downtown library for someone else to enjoy. It all sounded familiar to me with Charlotte, etc. so I have a sneaking suspicion I tried one of these out at the library and decided I would not like the series. Writing it down here should help me remember!
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743 reviews8 followers
March 27, 2017
The sixth and last book in Peter May's ENZO FILES SERIES is a dull, hackneyed affair with a 56-year-old pony tailed male lead who's apparently irresistible to attractive women, a conspiracy that's far too easy to guess, a ridiculous kidnap subplot and little sense of tension that all goes to make a disappointing read.
Profile Image for Barbara K..
398 reviews74 followers
November 21, 2019
The final book in Peter May's Enzo Files series is a satisfying conclusion, capably tying together plot threads that built gradually through the previous five volumes. The series is enjoyable reading, though not on a par with The Lewis Trilogy: The Blackhouse, The Lewis Man, The Chessmen.

The premise of the series is that Enzo Macleod, a Scottish forensic expert living in France, has been challenged to solve six cold cases recounted by a journalist in a popular book. As he successfully works his way through this backlist, Enzo's life, and the lives of his daughters, lovers, friends, students - pretty much anyone who has more than a passing acquaintance with him - are threatened. Are these threats specific to each individual case, or are they all tied together somehow?

As fans of The Blackhouse are aware, May excels at describing locations, particularly if they are lonely, eerily beautiful, historic, and dangerous, but unfortunately Cast Iron offers up only a few of these moments, and more gritty urban/industrial settings. As in other books in the series, much of the plot movement is taken up with physical movement, as Macleod repeatedly criss-crosses France, pushing himself and his 2CV to their respective limits as he tracks down leads.

Early parts of the book establishing a plot line involving one of his daughters and her fiance were written far less crisply than I normally expect from May, enough so that had I not felt the need for closure I might have stopped reading. But eventually the pace picked up, even for that plot line, and the latter part of the book turned into a good read. Perhaps a bit of overreaching at the end to tie up every last detail, but pretty well done nevertheless.

I've been asking myself how I would rate the whole series. I read the first 5 volumes in pretty quick succession, then had to wait for the last to be published, then to find time to read it. When I think back, it's May's descriptions of the locations that stick with me most. The series structure with the individual cold case resolutions nestled into the big picture is solid, but the relationships among the characters (Enzo and his wives, lovers, daughters and students, primarily) was overly contrived, and although the convolutions were sometimes necessary to drive the plot, I found them tiresome.

Overall, I'd probably rate the series a 3.5, rounded up to a 4 just because it's capably written and for the most part held my interest.
Profile Image for Ria.
498 reviews5 followers
September 27, 2017
Oh boy this was hard going, it was that book you have to finish even though you are really not enjoying it. Maybe I was struggling with this one because I had not read any of the previous Enzo Files books....maybe not...he seems a pretty unlikable character with that annoying habit of being fawned over by nearly all the women he interacts with....yawn....he manages to solve coldcase murders in his free time...yawn....yeah I'm over Enzo....the french element was tiresome too, May didn't manage to paint a beautiful vision of life in France, his details were stilted and unexciting, I expected so much more...
Profile Image for Siobhan.
4,491 reviews469 followers
January 30, 2021
Cast Iron is the sixth, and final, book in Peter May’s Enzo Files series, and to understand everything in this one you need to have read the prior books. Although it can be read without the prior books, a lot of the things will fail to have the intended impact without the prior knowledge.

The Enzo Files, if I’m being completely honest, is my least favourite series by Peter May. There have been some gripping moments, but I never fell for Enzo in the way I expected. There were too many things – specifically about Enzo as a character – that did not hold appeal, but I was interested in the overall storyline and wanted to see how the bet played out. For a while, this book tried to convince me my biggest fear for the series was going to play out, but it didn’t. In the end, it went for the resolution that was obvious from the start of this one.

As interesting as it was to see the details come together, this one was my least favourite of the series. There were too many cliches for me, and I found myself rolling my eyes at the pretty bow everything was wrapped in when we reached the end. I expected something bigger from the ending, something a bit more explosive. It was certainly interesting to see everything come together, but I had hoped for more.

All in all, fans of the series need to give this one a read to see how everything comes together. Although things come together well, it wasn’t quite as good as it could have been.
Profile Image for David Highton.
2,856 reviews14 followers
June 3, 2017
An outstanding novel to finish the series of cold cases originally set for Professor Enzo Macleod to investigate in a importune bet. Enzo is a great character with a complex private and personal life and the development and resolution of some issues in his life is part of this book. Excellent stuff from Peter May.
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,038 reviews213 followers
March 8, 2017
In 2003, the skeleton of a young woman is recovered from a dry riverbed in France, but her murder remains unsolved. Until the cold case falls into the hands of forensic expert Enzo McLeod, who has vowed to solve six cold cases as part of a bet with his son-in-law, journalist Roger Raffin. But the closer Enzo gets to uncovering the truth, the more dangerous the game becomes, and soon he finds that his own family is in danger from people who will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden.

Cast Iron is the sixth book in the Enzo McLeod series, and I can see that for followers of the series it would provide many answers and bring together threads woven in earlier books. May’s writing style is engaging and driven by action and dialogue, making this a very readable and intriguing mystery. Unfortunately I did not think it worked well as a stand-alone book. Not having read any of the previous novels in the series, I was often confused about the intricate family relationships of the McLeod clan. Enzo seems to have a maelstrom of ex-partners and children from different relationships, one of whom is not even his blood relation since his ex-wife had an affair with his best friend. Another one of his ex-wives (who seems to loathe him) is also the ex-partner of Enzo’s daughter’s fiancé, who Enzo had an affair with - which would make for a rather strained relationship on all levels! Enzo’s bad track record with women has not deterred him from pursuing new romances, however, so the book is a tangle of old and new relationships like an intricate Celtic knot I had no hope of unravelling in one sitting. Since character development had obviously evolved over the previous five books, I felt very estranged from most of the protagonists and never really warmed to any of them, which greatly affected my reading enjoyment. As it was, I felt like I had walked in at the end of a movie, and missed all the lead-up to the grand finale.

I am sure that fans of the series will enjoy this novel much more than I did, as it is cleverly constructed and has elements of action and suspense which at times distracted even me from my confusion and carried me along in their wake. May clearly knows how to write, with plenty of red herrings and a surprising twist I did not see coming. However, I would recommend reading the series in order to get the most out of the different threads of the storyline as well as the multiple characters featuring in it.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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Profile Image for Dane Cobain.
Author 29 books311 followers
November 7, 2016
Disclaimer: While I aim to be unbiased, I received a copy of this for free to review.

There’s a pretty interesting concept behind Cast Iron, and I liked the way that the book’s title refers to a type of alibi. This book is part of a series following Scottish forensic expert Enzo Macleod as he researches a number of cold cases as the result of a bet that he made. It’s a bit like what would happen if Dave Gorman was on CSI, and I thought that it was an interesting quirk. It’s also worth noting that despite being the sixth (I think!) book in the series, it works just as well as a standalone – this is actually the first Peter May book that I’ve read, although I’ve heard of him before.

Unfortunately, I didn’t think that there was much more than that to make this book stand out in a competitive market. It was a strongly written whodunnit and it was a pleasant enough read, but while I would say that it’s worth reading, there isn’t anything in particular that makes me want to suggest you should go out of your way for it.

That’s not to say that I wouldn’t consider reading the rest of the series. After all, it’s a professional quality release from a man who’s sold over a million copies of his books, and so you know that it’s going to be competent. If you’re happy with competent then it could be the book for you, especially if you’re a Francophile and want to be immersed in the country’s culture in a murder mystery that will keep you turning through the pages.

I suppose it’s just that there are so many crime novels out there on the market that I think I’d rather spend my time reading through Agatha Christie’s work or introducing myself to as many different crime writers as possible. Now that I’ve read this one, I’m curious about the rest of the series, but I don’t find myself compelled to read it, as I sometimes do with other authors.

So overall, it’s a book with a few things going for it, but it’s not going to blow your mind. It might hook your attention and keep you rolling until the end, but it won’t necessarily make you think. It’s your call!
908 reviews
December 6, 2016
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of meeting Peter May here in New Zealand and I was able to get a sense of his approach to writing. Foremost among my impressions is that he is meticulous when it comes to research and makes sure he has first hand knowledge of the locations in which his books are set, along with detailed research when a specialist aspect of the story is required.

That being so his Enzo MacLeod crime thrillers are all based in France where May and his wife have largely based themselves for the last few years. Cast Iron is the seventh book in the Enzo series, following on from Coffin Road.

A missing girl's body is found as the result of an especially dry summer which resulted in the level of a lake dropping and thereby exposing her and the fact that she had been murdered back in 1989, fourteen years earlier. Enzo MacLeod brings his high level forensic knowledge to this cold case but finds it one of the most difficult crimes he has had to work on.

As he unravels some of the earlier evidence the case takes on a complicated and unexpected turn and his very life and that of those close to him are at risk. Peter May's command of language, his local knowledge of the setting, and a brilliant plot bring Cast Iron to life in a superlative way. Once again he has demonstrated his expertise and a fluid writing style which makes this an easy read, one that's genuinely difficult to put aside until you've reached page 405.
Profile Image for Eadie Burke.
1,783 reviews17 followers
December 1, 2017
This was the last book in the Enzo Files Series. It was action-packed and a thrilling ride to the end. It tied up all the loose ends and the baddies and the goodies were fleshed out. It was well-written with lots of plot twists and surprises. I suggest to read this series in order and the series will more enjoyable if you do that. I can now say that I have read all of Peter May's books and have thoroughly enjoyed all his books. If you haven't read any yet, what are you waiting for? Peter May is definitely one of my favorite authors and I look forward to reading more from him in the future.
Profile Image for P.R..
Author 2 books47 followers
September 19, 2017
I had forgotten how superbly Peter May crafts his thrillers, and this one stands head and shoulders above some of the lacklustre crime novels I've read this year. I needn't add anything else - others will describe the plot, the beautifully portrayed characters and the twists and turns which culminate one of Peter May's best novels yet.

Best in year for me; would I read it again? Yes indeed, and I now need to revisit the entire series!
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