And it's a doozy. A wealthy property developer, Thomas Magner, loses his business partner to apparent suicide, at the same time that the partner's family is murdered. The connection looks obvious -- the suicide is remorse driven, right? But Gilchrist's partner DS Jessie Janes raises some initial doubts, and soon Gilchrist has his own. Still, it's hard to investigate Magner because any added attention to him looks like bias: He's already been charged with multiple sexual assaults. When the women who'd accused Magner begin either recanting or dying, Gilchrist and Janes race the clock to find both evidence and witnesses they can count on.
Back in the Office, Gilchrist's mobile rang -- a number he did not recognize.Alert readers will know, early on, that the unfolding crimes are likely to increase in graphic gruesomeness. (The title also suggests this.) So, reader beware ... it's going to be tough. But Muir's deft exploration of how his investigators will react to the increasing pressure on them (including in Andy Gilchrist's private life) ramps the suspense up swiftly, and I didn't want to put the book down until the finale. Scottish aspects? Not many -- mostly a good modern British-style crime novel, well paced and well written.
He made the connection.
"DI Smith here, sir. Sorry to trouble you again, but I thought you should know that they're dropping like flies."
Gilchrist understood immediately. "Who is it this time?"
"Abbott, Warren, and Williamson. All by phone again."
"More or less the same. Jenna Abbott said she didn't want to go to court or even give her testimony. ... Change of heart."
Read one Muir, and you may well want to read some others -- but you don't need to cover these in sequence. Good stuff.
PS: Looking for more mystery reviews, from cozy to very dark? Browse the Kingdom Books mysteries review blog here.