Caro Ramsay

Singing to the Dead

"Put simply, this is quality stuff."


It's the week before Christmas and following on from the events detailed in “Absolution” the team at Partickhill police station in Glasgow are trying to get back to some kind of normality. For D.I. Colin Anderson and D.S. Costello this isn't easy, but two very different crimes conspire to get their minds back on to the job.

What looks like a simple house fire quickly becomes something more sinister when it is discovered that the man who died in the fire was first poisoned with cyanide. Then in two separate incidents, two seven-year-old boys are abducted from the streets. For D.I. Anderson this is particularly disturbing as his own son, Peter bears a striking resemblance to both boys.

If this isn't enough for the station to deal with, half of their staff are down with a debilitating winter virus, the new DCI, Rebecca Quinn, is struggling to find her feet and rock superstar Rogan O'Neill has come home to Glasgow as part of his smash world tour...

Several more victims of cyanide poisoning are discovered and still the two boys haven't been found. The team at Partickhill are stretched to capacity - and for D.I. Anderson things are about to get even more personal when Peter goes missing.

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You know that list you have, as a committed reader? The one where you are waiting with ill-disguised patience for the next book by a particular writer? Well, if she's not already listed, prepare to add the name of Caro Ramsay to that list. This slick and compelling novel is easily is one of my favourite reads of the year so far. Caro, who made a name for herself with Absolution and Singing to the Dead, is about to propel herself to the top of the “must-read” list of crime writers out there. We have a cast of characters here who will continue to follow you about during those impatient breaks life forces you to take from reading (like sleep and work...). Ramsay creates empathy for even her worst characters - there are no faceless psychotic freaks in this book - the relationships these people have are subtly expressed and detailed with real insight. For once the cops also feel as real as their living/ breathing counterparts. DI Anderson and DS Costello are each an effective foil for the other, without straying for even a moment into crime novel cliché land. I admit to have a strong liking for DS Costello. Whilst I'm not sure I'd want to be married to her, she'd be great company over a beer or two. The plot is complex and the narrative tone is engaging, with several laugh out loud moments. It's also fair to say that this excellent novel was the major factor in a lost Easter weekend for me. Put simply, this is quality stuff.

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