Most helpful positive review
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
Well above par!
on 27 September 2008
I had no idea what to expect from this but I am very glad I invested time and money in it - because it's excellent! Forget Stuart MacBride, this is much, much better if you like Scottish Crime Fiction. At just 276 pages it can easily be read in a day, and I will be looking out for the second in the DI Andy Gilchrist series, make no mistake.
The basic premise is that somebody nicknamed 'The Stabber' has been killing wife-abusing men, usually during violent storms, by thrusting a wooden stave into their left eyes. The story opens with the discovery of the sixth victim - so yes, it's a serial killer thriller, based in the small town of St Andrews near the world-famous golf course on the east coast of Scotand. There's very little in the way of police forensics or intimate police procedure, but maybe that's a good thing for once. Instead this is a strongly character-driven story that enables the reader to get deep into the mind and heart of the lead character, along with several others too. It's not shallow in any way, it is emotionally moving at several times and credibly so. I must admit that one or two of the closing events were somewhat predictable but in truth this did not spoil my enjoyment at all. Gilchrist has all manner of baggage to deal with, such as trying to see his re-married ex-wife and their two twenty-something children. There are several poignant moments within the story that make us realise that committing ourselves too much to our careers, at the expense of time spent with family, can have life-changing consequences; that may be obvious but I thought that the author tackled these issues with sensitivity and intrigue.
Another reviewer mentioned a similarity to Michael Connelly's writing style (praise indeed!) and I can see why. Frank Muir isn't yet a household name in the world of crime fiction but based on this evidence, he deserves to be. Pacey, thrilling, emotive and gripping to the last page. Strongly recommended!