Where No Shadows Fall by Peter Ritchie
Expose the truth or let the dead lie still?
Grace Macallan’s life is on an even keel – at last. But a 9-to-5 career away from the frontline isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
So when she’s sent to investigate a suicide at Glasgow’s notorious Barlinnie prison, Grace gladly escapes her desk. The dead inmate is Tommy McMartin, heir to a ferocious criminal family. His murder conviction saw Tommy’s fall from power; cast out not for violence but because the victim was his gay lover.
The investigation drags Grace into contact with her McMartin adversaries of old. But the gangland dynasty is under threat and, as it topples, secrets once dead and buried are unearthed.
As she unravels Tommy McMartin’s fate, Grace senses someone watching her from the shadows, someone who aches for revenge. An awful dilemma faces her: to expose the truth or let the dead lie still.
I absolutely LOVE the Grace Macallan series. It is modern, gritty and always a rollercoaster of a read. The crimes are always incredibly dark and the characterisation intense. The author often provides a backstory to various characters major and minor. They offer an insight into what drives or motivates each character, whether it be cop or criminal.
‘The evidence might be gone but some crimes can never be completely washed away’
The prologue provides the perfect introduction to the authors dark and edgy style of writing. We immediately jump straight into the lives of those who pursue crime and mayhem as their trade.
Firstly we are introduced to Tommy McMartin and his position in the notorious criminal family in Edinburgh.
Unfortunately, for Tommy the life of crime is brought to an abrupt halt, when he is arrested on a murder charge. With all the evidence pointing to Tommy having committed the murder and Tommy having no memory.
He quickly finds himself locked up, as a lifer!
‘He’d walked into the trap like as amateur and forgotten every lesson he’d ever learned’
For Danny Goldstein (Tommy’s barrister) it will be the case that will haunt him long into retirement.
If Tommy is innocent, why can’t he prove it?
With the guilty verdict, Tommy’s sexuality is quickly exposed. His family maybe a crime family, but they are devout Catholics when it comes to sexuality.
They also abandon Tommy, throwing him to the prison wolves…
When Tommy can finally take the prison abuse anymore and feeling little hope for his future, given his current state of health. He resides himself to his fate, of taking his life literally in his own hands.
‘Tommy McMartin went still; no one could hurt him anymore’
Peter Ritchie set the pace, characters and scene incredibly well, by page 60 “I am hooked into the storyline”.
Grace takes Tommy’s case, due to various factors, this is not the run of the mill suicide. Whilst reporter Jacqui Bell is brought back into the series, as the reporter following up on stories of suicides in jail. Previous character Bobo McCartney also brings some very welcome comical relief to the gritty storyline.
If Tommy McMartin was innocent, then who murdered his lover? And set him up?
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