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by Aline Templeton
Allison & Busby, November 2012
480 pages
19.99 GBP
ISBN: 0749013451

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Retired army officer Matt Lovatt and his ethereal, self-absorbed wife Melissa are doing their best to make a living on the south-west coast of Scotland by farming deer. He loves the area, despite being viewed with suspicion as an incomer by some of the villagers and actively hated by others. His wife is tied to Lovatt Island, beautiful and uninhabited, by the fact that her still-born child is buried there, but her marriage is now little more than a sham. Her husband is playing host to several ex-servicemen and women, damaged both mentally and physically by their experiences of war, but for Melissa, the gloss of living close to nature paled a long time ago.

When one of Lovatt's stags is let loose and terrorises a visitor to the village, he's certain the beast has been let out deliberately to cause trouble for him but the police are unconvinced. Other incidents follow, escalating in severity, and contributing to the tension in the isolated community.

The first fifty pages of the book follow a pattern that will be familiar to readers of Aline Templeton's series. A large cast of characters is introduced and at times it can be hard to keep up with the flow of the narrative, but these are books that well repay the time taken to get to know those who people her pages. DI Marjory Fleming is still having problems juggling a demanding career with the needs of her home life and in particular her two teenage children. Her daughter, Catriona, is about to go to university and it comes as no surprise when Fleming misses the last special meal Cat had been hoping to spend with her parents and brother. Things don't improve for Cat when she gets to Glasgow and is promptly dumped by her boyfriend, but she's too proud to tell her mother how she's feeling and so things quickly go from bad to worse.

Local jealousies and petty rivalries take a more sinister turn when the body of a man is found shackled to the wall of a sea cave. The modern watch still clasped around one skeletal arm is a chilling reminder of the awful nature of the man's lingering death. Against a backdrop of present day hatred and violence, Fleming has to uncover the truth about the man's death, but even learning his name brings her no closer to the truth about his death.

Templeton's large cast of characters is used to good effect throughout a complex book. Nothing and no one is ever as straightforward as they seem. The only thing I can find fault with is the somewhat intrusive first person narrative in a cursive type-face presumably intended to emulate handwriting. The print was too faint to make this easily readable and it added little or nothing to the main thrust of the story. But apart from this minor aside, EVIL FOR EVIL was another strong outing for Fleming.

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, January 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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