Jamie Worth is a newly qualified Firearms Officer with Glasgow police when he gets a shout to an incident in a south side tenement. At the scene he finds a young inexperienced Inspector and with no tactical firearms advisors available, is left to go in with just one other firearms officer. In a scene that is tense, fraught with confusion and lacking control a young girl is shot dead, by Jamie.
Suddenly propelled into the media glare and with the public baying for blood, Jamie and his family face the harsh reality as the system turns against him, the colleagues he thought he could trust one by one turn their backs on him, the force he saw as his family hang him out to dry and he gets sentenced and sent to Barlinnie prison where the jungle drums have been beating and the inmates are waiting for him.
This story is not just about Jamie, its also about his wife Cath and his two small children who find themselves isolated with none of the protection they've been used to. Cath is the true heroine of this story; she is already haunted by Jamie's previous extra-marital liaison with Inspector Anna Cameron and as his trial approaches she has to cope with his downward spiral into despair and his inability to fight back, at the same time trying to protect their two young children from the backlash, the gossip and the media.
What made this book for me was the author's characterisation, the relationships, the tension and the realism that just jumps off the pages at you. The confusion at the scene of the shooting when Jamie makes that split-second decision and fires, Caths utter devastation as the system they'd grown to rely on turns its back on her and her family, it all comes together to make a truly compelling novel.
This book is gritty and gut-wrenchingly real but amongst the darkness there are also glimmers of real humour that shine through.
This is Karen Campbells second novel featuring the same characters but it's not essential to read 'The Twilight Time' first to enjoy this one (although I must admit I was so taken with this one I did buy the previous one whilst reading it)