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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2014
I've read the most popular reviews which are mostly unflattering. You can nitpick the details if you want but this is a good read with a multi- stranded plot which kept me reading until the end. It starts with an unexplained explosion near Loch Lomond (which actually happened in 2010), moves on to the trafficking of a young Nigerian called Asa, the death of a theatre impresario and a plot to blow up the Commonwealth Games. How it all comes together is clever and engrossing. I found this an easy book to read - Ms Gray has an inviting writing style which draws you in to her narrative and as a reader of the series it is interesting to see some of Superintendant Lorimer's history. This is not gritty Glasgow crime, more hints of grit.
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on 21 July 2014
I have been a fan of Gray's Lorimer books since the Riverman, which still remains the best of the series, in my opinion.

Nevertheless The Bird That Did Not Sing remains an entertaining addition to Lorimer's exploits. Set in the build up to the Commonwealth Games we are introduced to terrorist threat, people trafficking and plain murder all in a day's work for Supt Lorimer and his team as they deal with their Glasgow beat. We learn more about some familiar characters and meet some sinister villains, the charming and the brutish.

This is not profound hard-bitten stuff. It is, though, a pleasurable well written tale with sufficient twists to keep the reader's enthusiasm. Three stars only, but a worthwhile soft boiled thriller.
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on 19 September 2015
A thoroughly entertaining read! I love Alex Grays novels and her style of writing peppered with lots of emotionally intelligent turns of phrases while exploring the feelings and decisions from characters from all sides of the story. I personally felt much more educated about the issue of human trafficking while not being patronised. The tale of the relationship between Asa and her minder was beautifully redemptive and a highly emotional read. I loved the contrast between the suburban and the seedy underworld of Glasgow in this novel. I don't want to give too much away about the plot but the bringing together of various strands under the unifying umbrella of high drama connected to the commonwealth games was superbly done. This is the second Alex Gray novel I've read and I fully intend to plough my way through her back catalogue. She's a good blend of realism and dramatic licence without veering towards OTT gritty. A big recommend from me.
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VINE VOICEon 26 January 2015
Alex Gray does it again. Lorimer is an excellent lead character, he always gets his man but it's the way he goes about it that will keep you gripped. This story is right up to date, featuring the 2014 Commonwealth Games as well as other crimes which all become tangled together, I will say no more, enjoy it.
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on 13 November 2014
Whatever skills the author has, they certainly don't lie in the field of crime fiction if this book is typical of her oeuvre. The book is full of errors, ranging from the fairly trivial mention of birds on Mull that don't actually occur there, to the consistent confusion of MI5 and MI6 for example (a rather basic fact for crime writers to get to grip with you would have thought).

As a means of advancing the plot, all her 'baddies' confess everything to the police as soon as they are arrested, something you might have got away with in Dixon of Dock Green back in the 1950s, but a mechanism which just comes across as fatuous in a novel set in the present. Has no-one told her that even the most stupid of criminals keeps his mouth shut these days, and even if they show an inclination to tell all, the defence briefs are there to stop them.

With characters struggling to reach the dizzying heights of being even two-dimensional, this book might suit readers incapable of thinking for themselves, but aficionados of decent crime and thriller writing should steer well clear.
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on 1 September 2015
This was quite a good read, despite what I felt to be was a slow and muddled start. I was also thrown by the number of new characters introduced without obvious roles or context.

I did like the fact that there were several threads to keep readers engaged and that our protagonists were likable and thus easy to align with. The book did fade though as there was little complexity and too much reliance on coincidences to keep things going.

Overall, this was an OK rather than sensational read and I'd put my rating between 3 and 4 stars. 7/10
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on 3 December 2015
With the backdrop of the Commonwealth games Lorimer is trying to catch potential bombers, a gang bringing in Nigerian girls as prostitutes and the kiler of an old flame's husband. All the ends tie neatly together at the end as a link berween the crimes comes to light. Alex Gray's detective stories have become more engaging and better written as the series has progressed - I have just moved on to the last one written having read them all back to back.
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on 29 April 2014
Good old Lorimer, eh? Bless his couthy socks, no doubt newly darned by faithful Maggie, his long suffering wee wifey. She's just made some pancakes by the way, they're as flat as the characters in this book. Sorry, that's a bit harsh - this book is ok, only I'd just finished Nesbo's latest and this was pretty tame by comparison. So what was wrong? Some of the key scenes just didn't add up. Would a murderer bury key evidence in a copper's garden? Would the spooks arrest a terror suspect at his home but not search the house? Would Lorimer tackle a weightlifter on his tod? And anyway, is it believable a group of tartan terrorists would target the games? Em, no. It's also told in a somewhat didactic manner. Don't tell me stuff, show me through sparkling dialogue. At other times it reads like visitscotland pr. There's no doubt this book deals with weighty issues - trafficking, prostitution, terrorism, but I didn't feel any sense of real danger. Kailyard crime rather than tartan noir. The ending is a bit of a damp squid too. Spoiler alert: the baddies get their comeuppance.
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on 30 July 2014
Could not put this book down. It was a topical background as the Commonwealth Games are about halfway through. Maybe I'm being a bit parochial but I loved the fact that she used actual place names ie The Southern General Hospital which is close to where I live. Having followed the Lorimer series I thought this was the best one yet. Hopefully there's more to come.
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on 20 July 2014
Couldn't wait to read this latest book from Alex Gray, just love Lorrimer's character. I must admit although its a must read for all Alex Gray fans, this book didn't grip me like the others, on saying that, I did enjoy it, but not a "couldn't put down book", that's only my opinion. But a must read for all Alex Gray fans.
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