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Sleep Like the Dead

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Written by Alex Gray  — A professional hitman guns down and murders a seemingly innocent person on their doorstep. DCI Lorimer is tasked with discovering the reason for this seemingly random attack. Meanwhile, a professional killer is stalking the streets of Glasgow, looking to be paid for his work. Marianne Brogan is having sleepless nights, whilst her brother Billy has gone abroad suddenly. Lorimer must discover the links between the Brogans and the bodies that are piling up – and quickly. In this outing for the detective, he’ll have to do this without the help of psychologist Solly Brightman, who has become a victim of cuts to police budgets. However, Brightman has his own connections to the murders…

Not having read any of Alex Gray’s novels before, I was really looking forward to delving into this one. The DCI Lorimer series came highly recommended, and I was informed Glasgow was well brought to life by Gray. And, if there’s one thing I love in crime fiction, it’s a setting becoming almost a character.

This is a solid crime thriller. Told from multiple points of view, the story unfolds at a fair pace, is well written, and brings the city to life through characters. If there are niggles, they relate to the telling of the story by so many different characters, which makes it hard to relate to any of their individual troubles. There are at least eight different perspectives in the first half of the novel, which can be a little hard to read, and slows the pace dramatically.

It seemed to me a lot of backstory is missing for new readers – this is the seventh Lorimer story – so it’s hard to feel sympathy for the main characters when a prior relationship with them is non-existant. I’d also argue the stakes weren’t quite high enough, meaning there was little to be excited over as we reached the conclusion.

Having said all that, this is a really well written novel, which I think is one for the series readers. If this is your first Alex Gray novel, it’ll probably make you do what I did: go back to the beginning and start there. There’s enough talent on show to make it apparent that Gray is a very good writer, this one just didn’t hit the heights on first reading.

If you like the sound of this Glasgow mystery thriller, you can get the Kindle version now, or the paperback which comes out on 22 December.

Sphere
Kindle/Print
£4.33

CFL Rating – 3 Stars


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