Book of the month
for September 2004
In WH Smith's this morning buying envelopes, spotted
shelf. It is now 7.30pm and I have just finished it. Just couldn't put it
down once I started. It's a real page-turner, a nail-biter - and that
marvellous dialogue only a script-writer could produce. The plot, the
Edinburgh atmosphere was spot on - hope that Rhona and Severino are to meet
again - you really made the sparks fly there.
Now I'm off to get DRIFTNET!
Thank you again, for a very nice day and a great read.
When I read a book I like to
learn something new. Thanks to Torch, my knowledge of arson is greatly
expanded. I know that burned bodies shrivel into "a boxer's stance",
that the colour of smoke can tell a detective many things, and
unreassuringly, arson one of the tougher crimes to solve, is on the
If only there were a real life version of forensic scientist Dr Rhona
MacLeod on the case, I'd feel more secure. In the second of an ongoing
series of detective novels featuring MacLeod, Lin Anderson transplants
her Glaswegian sleuth to Edinburgh in December where a burnt-out
building on Princes Street leads her into a game of cat-and-mouse with a
She immediately comes into conflict with Severino MacRae, a fire
investigator. He's a brusque workaholic and, if that whisky breakfast we
see him enjoying in the first scene is anything to go by, that's not the
only -aholic he is. The arsonist is sending MacRae vile letters hinting
something big is planned for Edinburgh's world famous Hogmanay.
Anderson's brisk no-nonsense pacing will appeal to fans of crime
Just a few pages in and there's a brutal murder, arson attacks in
Glasgow and Edinburgh, a fire investigator with an alcohol problem,
threatening notes and a detective laid up with a heart attack - and we
haven't even got to the heroine yet.
Not only is forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod's workload piling up,
but there is are sure signs of a troubled love-life and the
nerve-wracking prospect of a reunion with the son she gave away.
Greenock-born Anderson's work is sharper than a pathologist's scapel.
One of the best Scottish crime series since Rebus.
Shari Low - Daily Record
when I saw the words “Stalker, Arsonist, Killer” on the cover. But thank
goodness this one is a mere 230 pages, and despite the subject matter,
Lin Anderson has a certain lightness of touch which makes this second
novel in a series featuring forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod, much more
It is set mainly in
Edinburgh, where Rhona is summoned from her native Glasgow to
investigate a suspicious fire which resulted in the death of a young
homeless girl. Although reluctant, she has to go because her opposite
number in Edinburgh has had a heart attack. Her mood doesn’t improve
when she meets the chief fire investigator, Severino MacRae, who is both
hostile and rude.
The dead girl, Karen, had been befriended by Jaz, a former drug addict,
but her greatest friend was her devoted Alsatian, Emps, whom she kept
well-fed even if she starved herself. Emps has managed to escape the
fire, and is adopted by Jaz, who, shattered by Karen’s death, is bent on
carrying out certain investigations of his own.
between MacRae and Rhona is a major aspect of the book, complicated by
the fact that he has been thrown out by his wife but is still devoted to
their daughter Amy. Rhona also has a live-in partner, a jazz musician
who is away on
tour in Amsterdam. But she finds MacRae undeniably sexy.
Both Rhona and MacRae
receive threatening e-mails, there are further fires and the odd
crucifixion and they wake up to the fact that there is something
personal about the whole thing. The biggest open air Hogmanay party is
about to be held in Edinburgh, and the prospect of a catastrophic fire
at this event is the worst possible scenario.
This is a compact,
well-crafted novel, and some aspects of it are left unresolved at the
end, which I rather like.
Carlyle - Shotsmag.co.uk