Friday, 23 May 2014

Review of Crimson Shore

I am an avid fan of Gillian Hamer’s cross-genre novels, so was a little concerned that I might not enjoy a standard police procedural as much as her earlier books. I needn’t have worried – Crimson Shore couldn’t be described as standard in any sense of the word. The storyline is intriguing and the characters come to life to such an extent that I wanted to slap one of them (Dara) on more than one occasion. The fact that I was so annoyed shows the power of Ms Hamer’s writing.

Crimson Shore is the first in The Gold Detectives series. Detective Inspector Amanda Gold being the eponymous Gold in the series’ title. She is pushed by her unpleasant superior, DCI Idris Parry, into allowing Detective Sergeant Dara Brennan to take over a murder investigation, with her providing back up.

We know from the outset that the killer is linked to a children’s home which closed under mysterious circumstances many years earlier. What we don’t know is who the killer might be, or why the murders are taking place now.

Dara is not emotionally equipped to deal with his new-found responsibility. His marriage is on the rocks, he’s drinking to excess and he is powerfully attracted to a colleague, all of which impact on his judgement. However, for all that, he is a very likeable character. My reasons for wanting to slap him were kindly ones. I wanted him to succeed and stop sabotaging his own efforts.

The story is set on the island of Anglesey and so well-crafted are the descriptions, it was easy to picture the scene. At times I could almost feel the wind coming off the sea.

Ms Hamer clearly knows her way around the forensic department, as she allows her characters to reveal key clues through dialogue over the dead bodies. As both bodies and clues mount, and Dara goes into meltdown, the story races to its fabulous conclusion. This is another winner from the pen of Gillian Hamer.

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