In a basement in Gallowgate, Glasgow, is the aftermath of a ritual. An old wooden chair, ropes, six candleholders and so much blood. The only thing missing is a body.
All the trails lead to a local gallery which is about to exhibit the lost photographs of a disgraced artist, a man accused of abusing his subjects, a man who drowned decades previously on a remote island in the Hebrides. The scandal surrounding the artist’s life and death is rising again, and this time looks like it will claim more lives.
DI Lola Harris is given the job of finding the killer, but with her own problems, a dysfunctional team and a killer who has been hunting for vengeance for a long, long time, can she possibly stop the killings before the murderer’s work is done?
Quick apology first of all – well, not really an apology, more of an explanation. The blog’s been quiet for the last week or so for personal reasons. It’s meant that I’ve not had much time for reading and when I have, I haven’t had the attention span to do so. Fingers crossed I can get back on track as I’ve a bunch of new releases to look at, not least Murder In Lovers’ Lane, the second Lola Harris book. The author mentioned on Twitter that this upcoming title was on NetGalley, I was intrigued but let him know that it wasn’t, and hey presto, I’ve an advanced e-copy on my Kindle. So I thought it was only polite to take a look at the first one.
And it’s interesting. Definitely a good start in a series but also not perfect.
The mystery is excellent, dark and creepy, with secrets being slowly revealed with some genuine surprises. I think one aspect of the solution becomes inevitable at one point but there’s a good reveal (I hesitate, unlike the blurb writers, to use the word “twist”) at the death. Lola is a good strong character and I did like her relationship with DC Kirstie Campbell.
The issue I had was with the subplots – there are two, Lola’s ex trying to get in touch with her and her obnoxious entitled DS Aidan Pierce who she can’t work with, quite understandably I should say. The problem was that these didn’t really need to be there. The friction with Pierce never seemed to have any bearing on the case – admittedly, there is a nice resolution to this – and the stuff with the ex just came across as a complete distraction. There is a very engrossing murder mystery here, and I didn’t really need to keep cutting away from it.
Anyway, as I said, a Tartan Noir with a lot of potential for future books. I’ll let you know about the next one soon.