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Saturday, 13 February 2016

‘Silenced’ by Anne Randall

Published by Constable,
3 September 2015.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-1233-0 (HB)
3 March 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-4721-1235-4 (PB)

Anne Randall is a new name in the crime fiction world, and you could be forgiven for assuming that this gritty police procedural is a debut. But it’s actually the second in a series set on the mean streets of Glasgow – and streets don’t come much meaner. The first, Riven, was published under the genderless name A J McCreanor; this time the author chooses another name, and owns up to being a woman.

Silenced is leaner, and if possible even meaner, than its predecessor. The Glasgow McMafia is still very much in evidence, though this time on the receiving end of one of the crimes. Elsewhere, a young woman is missing, an escaped psychopath is roaming the streets with a view to repeating his previous crime in the name of revenge, yet another killer is targeting homeless people and prostitutes in a self-styled ‘clean-up’ of those mean streets, and a centre for esoteric studies seems to be entangled in all three cases.

D I Kat Wheeler is back, and very much on the case: cool-headed, ex-army and health-conscious, the opposite of her sidekick Acting D I Ross, whose lack of empathy with witnesses is more of a problem than his chaotic love life and taste for junk food.

The author is either well acquainted with Glasgow’s homeless shelters and dark alleys or possessed of a dark imagination. Many of the images she conjures vary from depressing to downright sinister, and it’s often a relief when the action moves to more salubrious surroundings. She’s good at weather too; driving February sleet, howling wind and a peculiarly Scottish phenomenon called thundersnow left me shivering and looking for an extra sweater.

As well as vivid settings, Randall knows how to create characters the reader can believe in; bit-part players such as a flamboyant gallery owner and a stoic pub landlord come to life as effectively as the leading police figures and the major villains. The many-stranded plot, too, is deftly handled, with skilful use of multiple viewpoints, each with its own distinct voice.

Whatever name she chooses to write under, Anne Randall is revealing herself as a force to be reckoned with in the world of ‘tartan noir’.
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Anne Randall was born in Glasgow, and after university taught English in various secondary schools in inner Glasgow. In 2011 she won first prize for crime fiction writing at the Wells Literature Festival. Anne now lives in Glastonbury with her husband, two cats and one dog.

Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen, and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with books, about half of them crime fiction.

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