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by Alex Gray
Sphere, March 2012
352 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 184744394X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A serial killer appears to be preying on vulnerable women in Glasgow and unlike some members of his team, Detective Superintendent William Lorimer doesn't care that the victims are drug-using prostitutes. Their lives are as important to him as the death of a high-profile member of the Scottish parliament is to his superiors, and Lorimer isn't impressed when he's told that the deaths of the women have to take a back seat to the murder of the politician. He's equally unimpressed when he has to deal with the press on what seems like a daily basis, especially when the media scrutiny could well hamper his investigation.

A POUND OF FLESH introduces one of the killers into the narrative at an early stage, but continues to cleverly conceal the identity of the person concerned, although it soon becomes clear that one member of Lorimer's team is being taken for a ride and is leaking confidential information. Lorimer is helped in the investigation by his friend, psychologist Solly Brightman, continuing in the current tradition that dictates that few police procedural novels are complete without a psychologist on the team, but in this instance, I wasn't wholly sure how much the character brings to the party, although he certainly doesn't detract in any way from it either.

Lorimer delves into Glasgow's darker side with an endearing mix of charm and solid police work and it's easy to understand how he has established himself at the heart of this series. I took to him quickly and didn't feel at a disadvantage by not having made his acquaintance earlier. This isn't a particularly complex book, but it does provide a solid plot and some genuinely disturbing moments. The characters, both male and female, are a good mix, ranging from sympathetic to irritating but always remaining real. The identity of the killers doesn't end up providing any massive surprises, but this is still a book that I found wholly enjoyable and I'll happily get further involved in Lorimer's career, both before this book begins and in Gray's subsequent novels.

Linda Wilson is a writer, and retired solicitor, with an interest in archaeology and cave art, who now divides her time between England and France.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, March 2012

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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