As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Sphere, March 2018. ISBN: 978-0-7515-6439-6 (HB)
William Lorimer is on the prowl again, hunting down Glasgow's lowlife and, as
it turns out, picking up the trailing threads left by the case his creator Alex
Gray documented in The Darkest Goodbye.
Still Dark opens with Lorimer in an uncharacteristically poor
state, following a disastrous hostage situation which left him crippled with
PTSD. He is sent to Castlebrae, a real-life centre where policemen damaged in
the line of duty are given a chance to recover – and it's while he's there that
he spots a familiar face on a TV programme. It not only convinces him that the
contentious unfinished business might actually have a solution, but also pulls
him out of the depressive torpor which put him in Castlebrae.
With the help of a supportive
new deputy chief constable, Lorimer sets about assembling a team to chase down
the one who got away – the prime mover in the end-of-life scam he exposed in
the earlier case. But the villain is canny, an expert at disguise, and he has
the backing of one of Glasgow's leading drug lords, so it's not going to be
Alex Gray hasn't been dubbed
a premier exponent of tartan noir for nothing. She evokes the dark underbelly
of Glasgow in almost tangible detail: the homeless men and the hostels, back
alleys and greasy-spoon cafes they inhabit, the obscene luxury in which the
drug lord and the scammer revel. Equally well portrayed are the treatment
centre, the glossy new police headquarters and the small tech supplies shop
where an important discovery takes place. And it's all set against the dreary
February climate for which western Scotland is notorious. Few other crime
writers can match Gray's gift for bringing a background to life.
What's more, she's pretty
expert at creating characters. Lorimer himself is a stand-out; broken at first
and hating himself for it, but determined to pull himself out of the mire, and
soon back to his normal, perceptive, tough yet sensitive self. His wife Maggie
is supportive, but very much her own person. Detective Superintendent
Mitchison, possibly the only person in Glasgow to despise Lorimer and therefore
automatically a bad 'un, oozes charm and is doomed from the start. Feisty DC
Kirsty Wilson, centre stage in the previous investigation, is very much a part
of this one. And then there's Tam, one of Glasgow's many homeless, who is more
perceptive and determined than anyone gives him credit for.
DS Lorimer is that rare breed
of detective, a well-balanced, happily married man with a rich life outside the
job – surely born for the small screen. I look forward to seeing him there, and
in print again in the not too distant future. ------
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Alex Graywas born 27 May
1950, Glasgow.She was brought up in the
Craigbank area of Glasgow and attended Hutchesons' Grammar School. She studied
English and Philosophy at Strathclyde University and worked for a period in the
Department of Health & Social Security before training as an English
teacher. In 1976 she lived in Rhodesia
for three months, during which time she got married, and she and her husband
returned to Scotland. She continued teaching until the 1990s, when she gave the
profession up and began to write full-time. Alex is a member of the Femmes
Fatales crime writing trio, together with Alanna Knight and Lin Anderson.
Hernovels are all set around Glasgow
and featuring the character of Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer and his
psychological profiler Solomon Brightman.
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