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Superman or Gilchrist!!
on 1 December 2012
This is the third book in this series that I have read in the last fortnight (with a couple of other books in between to change the pace).
It is much like the other two -lovely descriptions of the scenery around St Andrews, Andy Gilchrist's difficult relationship with his adult children - his wife died in the last book - and of course a murder, with Gilchrist suspended once again. This also happened in a previous book when he was under a different superior officer.
The difference this time is that the body is 35 years old and his brother, killed about the same time in a hit and run car accident, is the chief suspect, as his tooth and cigarette lighter are found in the grave with the body (yes, grave- the body was hidden in a grave 35 years before, and only discovered when the wife of the legal owner of the grave dies and the grave is reopened).
Other reviewers have given good synopses of the story so I won't tell it again, but will just add a couple of thoughts.
I did wonder what the purpose of the clairvoyant American really was? She was supposedly writing a book about Andy and his work -to which he reluctantly agrees (why??) - but apart from being used in the lighter storyline, she served no obvious use in the story and was a waste of space.
Secondly, I think Andy came from the same planet as Superman!! In each book he has ended up in hospital with injuries that would have had a lesser man off duty for weeks, and in this one he had several such mishaps. The main ones -being trapped in a locked garage that was set on fire with 2 Molotv cocktails. He not only kicks his way out in the pitch dark but rescuses the other man trapped (who received serious burns and whose condition was critical for some time) but he is immediately back to his own personal investigations - after coughing up gobs of black phlegm - seeing as he is officially suspended from the main investigation into the body in the grave.
Next, he is trapped in a car boot, naked ,hog-tied, gagged and woozy from a blow to his head. Of course Super-Andy frees himself and then in the final struggle, breaks his wrist and injures his shoulder (and lots of lesser injuries) yet, after a shower (and another gob of that black phlegm), he is back banging on the door of a major suspect who he eventually arrests, after a struggle.
Anyone else would not be able to even knock on the door, let alone arrest the man!
I had to suspend belief many times during the course of this book, even more than the others, but in spite of the cartoon-like scenarios, I enjoyed the read as it was well written and so,so predictable! I used to enjoy suspense when I was younger, but now 'predictable' suits me fine.
I look forward to more in the series. I liked the first one, An eye for and Eye, the best. Andy's mannerisms become more pronounced and a bit irritating (eg running his hand through is hair, and rubbing his eyes with a thumb and forefinger)as the books progress.
I recommend it for those who don't take books like this seriously and the general outcome is easy to guess (though I didn't guess one of the killers until near the end). It is not for those who like the real suspense/chrime thriller type books. It reads a bit like an comic for grown-ups!!