One of my favourite books of the last year or two is Lin Anderson’s Easy Kill, the easy prey being Glasgow’s multitudinous, but totally unprotected, prostitutes. (Unprotected in comparison with those of say Amsterdam or Paris.) And so I slipped easily into The Dead Won’t Sleep with the feeling of being back on familiar territory.
There is no “who-dun-it” here. When the body of a fourteen-year-old prostitute and drug-addict named Tracy is washed up on the river shore, we already know who did it: a trio of corrupt and brutal senior police officers. The drama lies in the fight to the death – literally – between them and investigative journalist Rosie Gilmour, who is determined not to let Tracy’s death be covered up by the establishment. Or the subsequent death of another prostitute, the only witness.
But then her investigations into Tracy’s background reveal that other powerful establishment figures have access to the children at the orphanage Tracy had fled, and are using them for their sickening paedophile games.
A great start to a new series. Rosie is tough – but not that tough; she too had a horrifying childhood. Let’s say courageous rather than tough. And she has two very attractive male friends: Adrian, a ruthless Bosnian hardman who would give his life for her; and TJ, a wandering minstrel – a busker with itchy feet whom she is slowly falling for in a big way.
TJ doesn’t appear in the sequel, To Tell the Truth, but Adrian does – in the nick of time, and saves Rosie’s life yet again.
This time the setting is the south of Spain, the Costa del Sol, the whole place seemingly owned and run by crime bosses from Russia, Albania and – yes, you guessed – an old enemy from Glasgow who had to leave the UK in a hurry after Rosie flashed his face on the front page of her newspaper.
A little girl, the daughter of two ‘Brits’ on holiday, has been kidnapped, just picked up and carried away while playing on the beach. Again, Rosie’s investigations spread out ever further like the ripples when a stone is dropped into a pond. Like the Moroccan rent-boy who, at the time of the kidnapping, was giving the British Home Secretary a blow-job on a balcony overlooking the beach, said Home Secretary being all-too-chummy with a Russian billionaire whose manifold business interests include trafficking girls in from eastern Europe for the straight sex trade and small children for the paedophile industry.
One of the great things about these books is that the large supporting cast are all rounded and memorable characters. It does not make me want to go rushing off to the Costa del Sol, I would have too good an idea now of what is going on all around me. I am still planning to visit Glasgow, though!