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Monday 3 October 2016

‘Rough Cut’ by Anna Smith

Published by Quercus Books,
14 January 2016.
ISBN: 978-1-84866-432-6

Journalist Rosie Gilmour has always lived on the edge but two new investigations threaten to overwhelm even her. Rosie is determined to discover the truth about the death of Rabia, a young Pakistani girl, recently married, who had fallen to her death from a top floor window of the house where she lived with her husband and his family. As Rosie investigates the closed, secretive, patriarchal community she becomes convinced that Rabia's death had not been an accident. The police share her view but are unable to prove their suspicions and their hands are tied by the threat of being accused of racism. Then Rosie meets another young Pakistani girl, Laila, who was born in Glasgow and has lived there all her life. Laila is terrified of being sent to Pakistan and forced into marriage with a much older, wealthy man.

In another story-line, Nikki, an inexperienced and hapless prostitute is horrified when a client dies while she is with him. Nikki and her friend, Julie, make the mistake of taking with them the client's case... a case that rattles when Julie shakes it. The contents of that case is going to place them in great danger. Terrified they contact Rosie and ask for help.

Laila is transported to Pakistan and Rosie, her cameraman and a Pakistani friend follow to try to bring her home. The violence they witness there is chilling. Rosie learns things that show her that her two stories are linked and, even when she returns to Britain, neither she nor her sources are safe.

Rough Cut is the sixth in the Rosie Gilmour series. There are many supporting characters that obviously have a back-story but they are so skilfully introduced and well characterised that this does not detract from the enjoyment for a reader who is new to the series. Characters such as the two prostitutes are portrayed as people that the reader can understand and feel sympathy for, although there is nothing sentimental about the characterisation. Rosie is a strong, courageous and likeable protagonist and the action is tense and exciting.

Although, in this reader's opinion, the two investigations being linked was a bit too coincidental, this a brave, searingly honest book with great characters. A page turner.
Reviewer:  Carol Westron

Anna Smith. After a lifetime as a tabloid journalist, wading through other people's misery on the frontline all over the world, she decided to put her experiences to good use.
And so the series of Rosie Gilmour novels were born, featuring a Glasgow journalist trying to tear down the world of corruption and injustice.  Her debut novel was The Dead Won't Sleep, the story of police corruption, prostitution and a child sex ring in a children's home. This was followed by To Tell the Truth, about a toddler stolen from a beach while on holiday with her parents in Spain.  Anna has now written six books in Rosie Gilmour series.  The latest is Rough Cut published January 2016l.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her latest book The Fragility of Poppies was published 10 June 2016.

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