“ Authors: Alex Gray,Sandra McGruther / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 November 2009 / Genre: Crime & Thriller / Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group / Title: Glasgow Kiss / ISBN 13: 9780751540772 / ISBN 10: 0751540772 „
==Synopsis of the book:==
Eric Chalmers is a popular teacher at Muirpark Secondary School. He and his wife have just celebrated the birth of their first child. When one of his pupils Julie Davidson accuses him of raping her on a weekend away school trip. The whole school is in shock and Eric is immediately suspended. Things go from bad to worse for everyone concerned when the teenager goes missing and the Police under DCI William Lorimer start to try and find her and discover the truth.
The Police already have their hands full as only days before Nancy Fraser was snatched from the street outside her home. The four year old had been playing with friends when a unknown white vehicle pulled up and took the little girl away from her single mother Kim. Immediately the Police interview all those living nearby, but after precious little information and twenty four hours have gone by without a sighting Lorimer fears the worst. Are these two very different disappearances somehow linked ? Lorimer and his team must resolve this as the press are demanding results.
==My thoughts on this book:==
I thought this was only an average crime thriller and for me quite a disappointment, however despite that I still felt I must know the answers to the mystery. Recently I read the first novel in this series and thought it was very good but I feel this one did not live up to that standard. In particular I was disappointed there was not as much input from Dr Solomon Brightman the Psychologist and Criminal profiler. Because in the previous story he and Lorimer worked well together and I enjoyed Brightman's ideas in the case. Now these two have become friends but despite this Brightman's involvement in the story was quite limited.
This is the second book within the Lorimer and Brightman series I have read. There are now ten within this series and this is the sixth story, which was first published in 2009. This series are written by Scottish writer Alex Gray and unlike most authors this is the only series of stories she has so far had published. I would liken these stories although not quite as good to fellow writers Peter James or Peter Robinson and these stories are set in Glasgow an area familiar to Alex Gray as opposed to the popular Ian Rankin stories that are set in Edinburgh.
Having enjoyed the first instalment in the series I was very keen to try another in this series. So when I found this one at the Charity Shop recently I knew I must purchase it. And to be honest I did not even read the summary before I bought it, remembering how much I liked the previous one I had tried. And at just one pound fifty I felt I couldn't go far wrong. What initially struck me about the book was its title as I have never heard of a 'Glasgow Kiss' before but I knew I had to find out what the author meant by it.
The summary itself was a little on the sparse side and while you could say it was three paragraphs long, each was quite short. Although as we all know size is not everything and I felt the author had done enough to capture my interest in the story. In the summary the author talked about Julie Davison firstly accusing the teacher Eric Chalmers of rape and then going missing. I was surprised she did not mention the other main thread of the story the disappearance of the little girl Nancy Fraser. Maybe she was worried that the two stories could be deemed as too similar but I felt a trick was missed by this as it would immediately had me asking if the two events were in some way related. The other feature that annoyed me was the compliments from other critics, as I was not sure because of the way they were written if they were about this book or this series of stories in general.
The story began appropriately with an epilogue that was written in italic and only just over a page long. It set the scene well even though very short and it was clear the person was up to no good and because of the limited information it created a sense of mystery straight away. When the first chapter started it focused on Kyle a sixteen year old boy who was getting ready for the new school year and the return of his father after a few years in prison. It was a good start to the story as the author not only introduced these two characters but several other teachers and pupils who knew Julie, thus making the reader wonder who would be involved in her disappearance.
I found the two stories interesting and while initially there was no suggestion that the two missing girls cases where related I certainly considered this as I'm sure the author intended. However as the stories both moved on the reader needed to consider the changing landscape and developments that brought with it new suspects and new possibilities. I liked some of these developments because they were not at all what I expected so adding a different twist to the story. Although I kept expecting more involvement from Dr Brightman and what I think worked so well in the first novel in the series was that Lorimer doubted the value of this man's work, by book six in the series he had learnt to trust and believe in what he had to say.
What this author is very good at is very skilfully introducing new scenes, characters into the story through very good well thought out detail about their personalities and characters. And because you have two threads to two stories you cannot be sure what relevance they have and to which story. The story I felt was always full of both suspense and mystery because there was so much going on within it and as such I felt I needed to concentrate at all times to ensure I did not miss a clue. Because the story had a lot of good detail and really made me feel I was somehow involved in what was happening and depth in any mystery is something that always appeals to me as it creates more possibilities.
While I enjoyed the two stories for me it was no where near as first paced and fascinating as the first book in the series. Certainly not a page turner or a book I could not put down, more an interesting well though out story. I just felt in many ways it was too similar to other thrillers I had read recently, maybe I read to many but I did not feel I was reading anything original or earth shattering.
That said the conclusion was well thought out if a little shorter and less elaborate than I would have liked. It was exciting granted but I did question why given the situation that was being presented why basic good Police principles were not followed, it just seemed given everything I had read beforehand a little unlikely. While the epilogue although always something I like to have to complete a story in this case I felt was unnecessary as it added little to it and I would have preferred to make my own mind up what happened next.
DCI William Lorimer is the main character in this story and one I find it easy to like and respect. I enjoy the way he goes about his business and while it is good to have a character like him with a settled happy personal life it does sometimes make for a less interesting story. I like the way he interacts with colleagues, family and friends and in this story it was good to learn more about his wife Maggie and her work. Although as previously explained I was disappointed how little involvement there was with his other co-star Dr Solomon Brightman, although some of his insight did help the Police I felt his skills and knowledge where not nearly enough exploited in these stories.
I thought the stories length was about right to tell a well detailed and interesting story. It was well broken up into chapters that made sense and alerted the reader to the change in scene. And as these where very regular I found the story quite easy to read and learn a little more about all the characters within it. In my opinion and how having read two of this series I do not think they are quite as good as fellow authors Peter James and Peter Robinson as the excellent concept of this criminal profiler is not exploited as I would like, maybe it will in others in the series.
Overall I would just about recommend this interesting thriller. I enjoyed the fact there was two different threads in the story although maybe it would have been better if they had not both been disappearances. The story was well written and always full of mystery and capable of surprising the reader with the new directions it took. My biggest disappointment was that there was no enough focus on Dr Brightman and his work, which I always find fascinating.
Price: 4.33 new at Amazon
Year first published: 2009
More about the author: www.alex-gray.com
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published on both Ciao and Dooyoo under my user name.
© CPTDANIELS February 2013.