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Friday 4 May 2018

‘Shadow Man’ by Margaret Kirk

Published by Orion,
2 November 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-4091-6550-7

It’s to be the Wedding of the Year in Inverness ... TV star Morven Murray is marrying local sporting legend turned businessman Ross Campbell – except that on the wedding morning, Morven’s found brutally murdered.

This Scottish police procedural mostly follows ex-Met DI Lukas Mahler and his squad, eternal optimist Fergie and spiky Karen Gilchrist, as they investigate the murder, and try to understand the links with a gangland-style execution, and a brutal killing in the centre of Inverness. Mahler is a likeable loner, out of place in Inverness, and resented by the local officers for his aloofness and Met reputation. His home problems with his mother are sympathetically described, and his attraction to chief suspect Anna, Morven’s sister, gently handled. Anna is another of the characters whose thoughts we follow, along with the terrified petty crook Dannie Stewart, and the italicised murderer. The murders are unpleasant, but not too horribly gory. The plotting is clever, with twists sending DI Mahler in different directions, and the denouement tense. The Inverness city and area setting, post the formation of Police Scotland, and during the run-up to the Scottish referendum, is vividly evoked, and there are lovely descriptions of place. The novel’s written in the present tense throughout.

An interesting tartan noir police procedural with well-drawn characters and an unusual setting.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Margaret Morton Kirk is a writer living and working in the Scottish Highlands. Runrig fan, chocoholic and mad cat lady, she writes crime fiction with a twist and was runner-up in the 2015 ‘Bloody Scotland’ Crime Writing Festival short story competition. Her short story, ‘Still Life’, was broadcast on Radio 4 in February 2016 as part of the ‘Scottish Shorts’ series for new and emerging writers. Shadow Man the first in a series of crime novels set in Inverness and featuring ex-Met DI Lukas Mahler, won the 2016 Good Housekeeping First Novel competition. It was published on 2nd November by Orion.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

Click on the title to read a review of her recent book Death in Shetland Waters

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