Top critical review
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Very poor. Requires an injection of reality.
on 8 July 2014
I can only give this book 1 star. This is unfortunate because it is actually very well written. Ms Gray’s descriptions of locations make you feel that you are there and her characters and what they think are realistic and thought provoking. She has clearly done a lot of research as well. I worked for Strathclyde Police for 27 years and can confirm that Stewart Street Police Office and Pitt Street, the Headquarters, are both as she describes them.
What lets the book down however is one of its basic themes. Colin is arrested and ends up in prison charged with murder, even though there is insufficient evidence against him. Let me reassure readers that this could not happen.
You cannot be put in prison just because a Detective Inspector thinks you are guilty. Even if the D.I. is prepared to risk a legal action against her for wrongful arrest, it is highly unlikely that her Superintendent (what happened to the Det. Ch. Inspector in the chain of command?) would fail to tell her that she needed more evidence. Even if this did happen, the Procurator Fiscal (Scottish equivalent of the Crown Prosecution Service) would certainly not be willing to prosecute without evidence and even if he or she went along with the idea that a D.I. thinking somebody was guilty was good enough for them, they would still have to convince a Sheriff that there was enough evidence (a prima facie case in legal terms) to detain Colin in prison pending trial.
Poor Colin, languishing in Barlinnie (again full marks for research) wonders who is going to get him out because he didn’t kill anyone. In reality, the answer is that his lawyer would get him out because even if all these other people hadn’t spotted the tiny but important factor that there was no evidence, his lawyer certainly would have.
As has been mentioned by other reviewers, the involvement of the psychologist/criminal profiler seems irrelevant.
I note that in the acknowledgements, four Police Officers are named. I am sure that none of them would have been happy with the contents of this book.
Perhaps Ms Gray has obtained her ideas about police procedures from fictional TV programmes - never a good source to base anything on