Friday, January 10, 2014

Scottish Noir: Frank Muir, TOOTH FOR A TOOTH

Glasgow, bitter weather, old grudges: T. Frank Muir takes the sour tang of a newly discovered corpse -- found in a shallow grave where it's intended to send a sharp message -- and weaves with one of life's worst nightmares: that a family member, now dead, could have been a killer. For DCI Andy Gilchrist, the criminal evidence being unearthed couldn't possibly point to his brother; he knew his brother well enough, even back in the early years of their adulthood, that he can be sure there's no murder involving his family.

And yet. Who could have predicted that the evidence would include a sign of the past that only Gilchrist knew about? Why is a psychic sniffing at the this --
"Tell me about your brother, Jack," she said without missing a beat.

Something shifted in Gilchrist's chest. "That's out of bounds," he grunted.
But Jack's death, an unsolved hit-and-run, haunts Gilchrist. And soon it's clear he won't have any standing in his own department unless he can figure out what happened "back then" and who was responsible ... and who is messing with the evidence even now.

This is Muir's third in a best-selling series that has reached four titles in Scotland -- Eye for an Eye, Hand for a Hand, this one, and then Life for a Life -- but is just the second to reach the US through the grace of Soho Crime (author website here: Muir's books make up a dark but traditional crime series, without the taint of corruption that William McIvanney's books enfold. Friendships matter, and struggle, in the long run, is effective for Gilchrist. But he's got a lot to straighten out in his life. A psychic and a solved case or two won't resolve all that ... and a cold wind holds a hint of more losses and more pain to come. (Bring it on.)

Still, there's grace and goodness in Muir's TOOTH FOR A TOOTH. It's a fiercely good read. Best news: I'm guessing we'll get the next in the series, by December of this year.

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