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by Lin Anderson
Hodder & Stoughton, August 2009
352 pages
19.99 GBP
ISBN: 0340922443

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This is the first of Lin Anderson's novels featuring forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod that I've read, but I discovered afterwards that it is, in fact, is the sixth in the series. I didn't find my lack of background knowledge to be any hindrance and Anderson does a good job of introducing all the major characters. The book begins with a car crash involving Claire and her daughter Emma on a dark road through a forest when Claire swerves to avoid a figure ahead of her on the road. Emma wanders away from the wrecked car while Clair is unconscious. When found, she is cradling a child's skull in her hand, claiming, firstly, that the dead child had called to her and secondly, that she had heard another voice as well, that of another child.

From here the book moves between this strand of the narrative and the attempts by Rhona and her assistant to solve the mystery of a man's body found badly burned in a rubbish skip, wearing army dog-tags. However, subsequent tests prove that the body and the tags do not match each other. DS Michael McNab fills the role of the obligatory policemen with a tormented past, who gets close to Claire and her daughter, and is willing to act on his beliefs and take the child's claims seriously.

As the book progressed I found it hard to decide whether I was going to discover that there really were some supernatural elements at work in the book or not, but the reveal, when it finally came, was reasonably satisfactory. Anderson did manage to bring the various threads in the book together successfully without short-changing the reader by taking the easy way out on anything.

Based on the showing of this book, I'd be very happy to seek out further books in the series. The story progressed rapidly, never dragging, and the final scenes managed to catch me unawares, with Anderson packing a large amount of unexpected action into at the end, just when the reader has been lulled into thinking everything has been wrapped up neatly. Altogether this was an entertaining and unpredictable book.

Reviewed by Linda Wilson, February 2010

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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