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by Lin Anderson
Hodder & Stoughton, November 2006
272 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340922362

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Glasgow forensic scientist Rhona Macleod is called from her comfortable bed and Irish boyfriend Sean to a seedy flat where a teenage boy has been murdered. The murder scene is bad enough, but she can't take her eyes off the lad -- he's the spitting image of the son she gave up for adoption many years before.

The case really upsets Rhona, and brings back memories she thought she'd buried. So she is determined to track down the boy's killer and to find out if it really is the son she gave away 17 years previously. But the search drags her and others associated with the case into an internet paedophile ring -- and it soon becomes apparent that there are some big names with a vested interest in keeping it all quiet.

DRIFTNET is grim and gritty, but utterly absorbing. Lin Anderson is a natural and confident storyteller. She writes sharp, slick prose and handles multiple point of views very confidently and better than most writers I've come across. She structures the book in sections so you always know where you are and who you're with. I wish she'd give classes to those writers who think it's OK to swap around within paragraphs!

If you've read anything by Louise Welsh or Denise Mina you will know that Glasgow is a city that seems to lend itself to crime fiction. And Anderson uses it to great effect as well as she moves from art galleries and university buildings through to run-down housing estates.

She's strong on characterisation as well, although you may have to grit your teeth if you don't like main character love life angst in your books! I think it's a tribute to Anderson's writing that so many of the characters got a reaction from me as I was reading -- this varied from "dump him!" when it came to space cadet Sean to "grow a backbone and tell the lot of them to push off!" for Rhona's much put-upon colleague Chrissy. I did find the drunken hack a tiresome stereotype, though, and I have doubts as to the legal standing of his front page scoop.

The whodunit isn't hard to guess but it didn't matter to me -- I was just keen to see how Anderson got there and how she handled developments along the way. And several loose ends suggest that Rhona, Chrissy and DI Bill Wilson -- a policeman who's seen it all but still keeps battling -- will be back.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, October 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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