Shores Of Death by Peter Ritchie – Grace Macallan #3
Detective Grace Macallan is at crisis point. She’s unsure of her future, of whether she has the strength to continue with her role in serious crime. Events are threatening to run out of control, and this new investigation will test her to the limit.
An undercover officer is missing and a woman is washed up, traumatised and barely alive, on the shores of Berwickshire. She has witnessed horror on the dark waters of the North Sea, and her subsequent ordeal to survive turns her life into a nightmare.
As she untangles the woman’s story of trafficking and abuse, Grace is drawn into the world of organised crime in Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. At their head is Handyside, a brutal gangland boss who’s fought hard and dirty to control his territory. But there’s a traitor in his midst, and soon the most cold-blooded criminals in the North East of England and Central Scotland turn on one another in a desperate race to destroy the evidence that will lead Grace to them.
Grace must pit her wits against Handyside, knowing he’ll stop at nothing to protect his criminal empire. She knows, too, that one wrong move could end in tragedy.
The Grace Macallan series had really grown on me, the characterisation in this novel and Evidence Of Death is brilliant. The ‘baddie’ characters are described brilliantly, very reminiscent of Stuart MacBride who also does this to an outstanding degree.
This particular case deals with themes of trafficking and modern-day slavery. Whilst also giving us, the reader, a real insight into the organised crime gangs that run such criminal enterprises. But the one thing these gangs have underestimated is the sheer driving force that is, Grace Macallan.
The novel opens with a heavily pregnant Grace taking down prolific career criminal Tony Capaldi; real name Hugh Elvis Mcnally. He is a known con man with the gift of the gab and is quickly ceased by Grace and her team.
Before Grace decides it is time for maternity leave.
Meanwhile, a trafficking network is in operation between the various gangs of Scotland and Newcastle. The novel details how the criminals manipulate not only their victims, but others into joining their network. Three petty criminals are tasked with disposing of four female sex slaves. When something goes wrong and one of the women Ingrid escapes into the freezing sea. The harsh reality of the life of modern day sex slaves is laid bare. They are simply to be exposed of when their owners tire of them. The three petty criminals aboard the ship, know this error within their task will land them in big bother with their boss Pete Handyside. They all fear being on the wrong side of their boss!
Pete Handyside and his right-hand man Maxi Turner call a meeting with various leaders of the criminal gangs. We are reunited with Eddie & Pat Fleming of the Edinburgh gang. We also meet Bobby ‘crazy horse’ McMaron and his sister Brenda ‘the bitch’ of the Glasgow gang. They are aware of DCI Jimmy McGovern’s police operation; that searched the boat once docked in hopes to locate drugs. Pete is convinced they have a snitch in their midst!
Which won’t bode well for someone.
When Rob ‘Dixie’ Deans undercover cop, does missing. Police Scotland become aware that his fate may mean death. With various clues leading here, there and everywhere. The police need solid evidence and links they can work with. They need Grace.
After the birth of her son Adam and enjoying family life with her partner Jack Fraser. Police work is the furthest thing from Grace’s mind. It is at this point that Grace begins to have serious doubts about if she will even return to be a police officer.
At Chief Superintendent John O’Connor’s request, Grace does return to work. But she makes it fundamentally clear, this maybe her last case. As O’Connor hands Grace the case files, I must admit I had a huge buzz of excitement. With the theme from 1990s TV show cops going through my mind.
Bad boys, bad boys, what ya gonna do? What ya gonna do when they come for you?
Ingrid Richter’s body is discovered on a beach. She has a story to tell and it is one that will shock everyone whom hears it.
‘You keep thinking you’ve heard it all and the next case proves you wrong’ – McGovern
Ingrid relays her story to specialist cop Fitzgerald.
‘Fitzgerald did the job, but she would remember her time with Ingrid Richter for the rest of her life!’
Betrayal, back-stabbing and merciless killers of the organised crime world, this novel has it all. The gritty organised crime of Martina Cole mixed with the characterisation of Stuart MacBride. An absolutely EPIC read! 5*
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