In Place of Death

"..Robertson teases his readers with a sense of electric tension and danger."


A young man entered the culverted remains of an ancient Glasgow stream, looking for thrills. Deep below the city, it is decaying and claustrophobic and gets more so with every step. As the ceiling lowers to no more than a couple of feet above the ground, the man finds his path blocked by another person. Someone with their throat cut.

As DI Rachel Narey leads the official investigation, photographer Tony Winter follows a lead of his own, through the shadowy world of urbexers, people who pursue a dangerous and illegal hobby, a world that Winter knows more than he lets on. And it soon becomes clear that this murderer has killed before, and has no qualms about doing so again.

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Craig Robertson returns to his Narey and Winter series with a compelling and claustrophobic thriller centring on a decaying city and the thrill-seekers with a pride of place. Urbexing is the exploration of man-made structures, usually abandoned buildings, ravaged and ruined by the effects of time. Documentation and photography is a large aspect of the hobby which is why Tony Winter would be drawn to it. I had never come across urbexing before so not only was ‘In Place of Death’ highly entertaining, it was educational too. Robertson has clearly researched Glasgow and its history and uses the city like a main character, getting under its skin and giving the story added depth and energy. DI Narey has achieved promotion and her relationship with Tony is going full strength (though in private). There is a sense of impending doom throughout the novel; a happy protagonist shouldn't be happy for long, but Craig Robertson teases his readers with a sense of electric tension and danger. At one point I was afraid to turn the page in case the worst happened to one of our heroes. The pace of the novel is steady throughout and never once lets up - the murders, the tension of Narey's job and personal life, Tony's secrets - they're all played out beautifully against each other. The novel ends with the promise of a new beginning. Robertson never rests on his laurels and by the end of this novel you can see he is taking Narey and Winter in a new direction - and it's going to be a thrilling one.

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