It's been a bit quiet of late over here, but back today with a mention for a new Scottish Crime book - Blood Torment from an author who thus far has escaped my attention.......T. F. Muir.
Blood Torment is the 6th entry in Muir's series about DCI Andy Gilchrist.
When a three-year old girl is reported missing, DCI Andy Gilchrist is assigned the case. But Gilchrist soon suspects that the child's mother - Andrea Davis - may be responsible for her daughter's disappearance, or worse, her murder.
The case becomes politically sensitive when Gilchrist learns that Andrea is the daughter of Dougal Davis, a former MSP who was forced to resign from Scottish Parliament after being accused of physically abusing his third wife. Now a powerful businessman, Davis demands Gilchrist's removal from the case when his investigation seems to be stalling. But then the case turns on its head when Gilchrist learns that a paedophile, recently released from prison, now lives in the same area as the missing child. The paedophile is interrogated but hours later his body is found on the beach with evidence of blunt force trauma to the head, and Gilchrist launches a murder investigation.
As pressure relentlessly mounts on Gilchrist, he begins to unravel a dark family secret, a secret he believes will solve the fate of the missing child.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Born in Glasgow and now a dual UK/US citizen, T. F. Muir is a crime novelist with six books of his DCI Andy Gilchrist series published – the latest, The Meating Room, has been hailed as one of the best of a brilliant series. He is now working on his next Gilchrist novel, another story suffused with dark alleyways, cobbled streets and all things gruesome.
The full series is as follows:
1. Eye for an Eye (2007)
2. Hand for a Hand (2009)
3. Tooth for a Tooth (2012)
4. Life For A Life (2013)
5. The Meating Room (2014)
6. Blood Torment (2016)
What they are saying about Blood Torment........
'Rebus did it for Edinburgh. Laidlaw did it for Glasgow. Gilchrist might just be the bloke to put St Andrews on the crime fiction map'
'A bright new recruit to the swelling army of Scots crime writers'
'Gripping and grisly, with plenty of twists and turns that race along with black humour'
'Gilchrist is intriguing, bleak and vulnerable... if I were living in St Andrews I'd sleep with the lights on'
A brief extract......
Gilchrist stared along the side of the house, beyond a white Lexus that looked as if it could do with a cleaning. From where they stood, he could see the stone wall that bounded a property line thick with shrubs and bushes. In pitch darkness you could stumble about, maybe lose your bearings. Had the kidnapper known the layout? He felt his gaze drift back to the driveway. This far out of town, the kidnapper must have come by car, parked on Grange Road remote from the entrance, and maybe edged along the south boundary wall.
But the SOCOs would confirm that.
He turned to Mhairi. ‘Do we have a list of friends, relatives, tradesmen; anyone who might have had recent access?’ he asked.
‘DS Baxter is collecting that information, sir.’
‘Is he here?’
‘Popped back to North Street, sir.’
Gilchrist eyed Grange Mansion, a two-storey stone structure that lacked any sense of architectural vision; just upper and lower windows either side of a dark front door. Like the outbuildings, it was in a poor state of repair. Paint peeled in blisters and flakes from rotted windows and fasciae. Weeds sprouted from rooftop gutters. Rainwater darkened the corner where a downpipe hung loose like a broken leg.
‘Where’s Ms Davis now?’ Gilchrist asked.
‘She’s inside, sir. With Family Liaison. WPC Carlton.’
‘Good. She’ll handle her well.’
He was about to walk off when Mhairi said, ‘Did you know that Ms Davis’s father is the ex-MSP, Dougal Davis, sir?’
Gilchrist grimaced. From memory, Dougal Davis had been forced to resign from the Scottish Parliament after his third wife turned up at the local A&E with a fractured arm, and confessed to a series of incidents of physical abuse throughout her marriage. Davis denied every one of them, and the Procurator Fiscal decided against proceeding with criminal charges in the end. The popular story at the time was that Davis had bought the PF’s silence. But the damage was done, and Davis had to step down from a career in politics. Gossip was rife, with other stories of abuse surfacing for a moment, only to be squashed by solicitors representing the powerhouse businessman that Davis had since become.
‘Did Davis ever remarry?’ Gilchrist asked.
‘Nobody’ll have him, more like,’ Jessie said.
‘Maybe so. But we need to check him out.’
Gilchrist thanked Mhairi and was about to walk away, when he caught sight of Tosh at the corner of the barn, barking into his mobile phone like a fi eld commander. He thought he looked fatter by about a stone, maybe three. Fat bulged around his neck, and his face look boiled. The only thing thinner about him was his hair, which sported a freckled patch at the back of his crown.
When Tosh saw Gilchrist, he turned his back on him and walked off. Gilchrist resisted the urge to follow, and strode towards the house. ‘See if you can get hold of Jackie,’ he said to Jessie, ‘and
find out everything you can about Dougal Davis.’
Gilchrist stepped on to the front porch while Jessie walked off for better reception. He opened his coveralls and put them on.The main door creaked when he turned the handle, and he stepped into a dark hallway that smelled of damp wool and stale dust. Ahead, it widened to a staircase on the left, which rose to the upper floor. On the right, a narrower walkway led deeper into the house. He caught the faintest echo of conversation, the distant sound of footsteps on wooden floorboards. He walked past the staircase, the voices becoming clearer. The ceiling lowered where the staircase above turned at the mid-landing. He bent his head, and stumbled down a couple of steps he failed to see in the dim light, beyond which the hallway ended at a door. He pushed through, and entered the kitchen.
Blood Torment is published tomorrow.....
Constable | Hardback | 12th May | £19.99