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by Lin Anderson
Hodder & Stoughton, July 2007
400 pages
12.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340922397

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lin Anderson's books featuring forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod are turning into a reliable page-turning series which seems to have more than half an eye on a TV adaptation on the back of the likes of Silent Witness and Taggart.

In fact there's a quote in the book about it all being like Taggart, the dour Glasgow-based cop show, where the body count rockets every time the police poke their noses in!

Anderson's series, of which DARK FLIGHT is the fourth, is also set in Glasgow and stars the capable and tenacious Rhona whose only flaw appears to be her rocky love life.

In this outing, with a plot straight from the newspaper headlines, a young boy has disappeared after his grandmother and mother are murdered. Rhona finds an African talisman, made from the bones of a child, at the scene. The case is muddied further by an African man who may not be who he seems to be, and by the discovery of another boy's mutilated body.

Rhona's friendly neighbourhood plod DI Bill Wilson has family worries on his mind and is behaving out of character, so she finds herself on her own with this case and on the way to Africa with DS Michael McNab, with whom she has past history.

The African scenes are actually the weakest in the book, and appear to be there as a way of the author displaying her knowledge of Nigeria! Aside from that rushed ending, though, the book generally bowls along very slickly, complete with some neat twists (and one or two "hmmm" moments, not least a not terribly convincing sub-plot with a couple of 'neds' Glasgow's version of white trash!)

And Rhona's love life is getting rather tiresome. Sean, her Irish musician boyfriend, is a total yawn, and adding McNab for extra grit doesn't really work, as he is chronically underdrawn.

The lack of depth of the books generally is the one thing that stops me putting the series into the top division. Whatever the blurbs would have you believe, Anderson definitely isn't in the same league as Rankin and Mina. But she's still worth a look.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, August 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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