Today it is my turn on this exciting blog tour and I have lots to bring you. First up is my review of ‘Silenced’.
‘Silenced’ was published by Constable on the 3rd September 2015 in hardback. This is the second novel in the Wheeler and Ross series.
He buried his victim alive and was made to pay for his crime. But now he’s escaped and is on the run in the city of Glasgow.
Fiona Henderson, the daughter of the murdered victim, took things very hard and descended into a world of silence. She has gone missing and this isn’t the first time either. Soon after a homeless person is found dead in a deserted alleyway. Could this death be anything to do with the murderer on the loose?
As DIs Wheeler and Ross investigate the murder, another one occurs and a pattern starts to emerge. It’s as if the murderer has something against the homeless and vulnerable and wants to get rid of them all. The investigation reveals not only a flawed support system for the disaffected, but also a criminal class who are ruthlessly willing to exploit them.
When DI Wheeler starts receiving letters and being stalked, she and Ross realise that the threat is now personal. Someone is after DI Wheeler too and her life is in danger. Will they be able to solve the case before it’s too late?
These days I’m finding I can’t get enough of crime thrillers and so was really looking forward to reading ‘Silenced’. The prologue which I found a bit creepy piqued my interest straightway and I couldn’t wait to read on. With its short chapters and numerous twists and turns I found myself racing through this book. The story takes place over a week and in that time an awful lot happens.
As we all know, the homeless and those having to work on the game is a huge problem so I applaud Anne Randall for writing about this issue in ‘Silenced’. Although I’m sure a lot is done it’s still not enough. It’s heart-breaking seeing people living on the streets in this day and age.
‘Silenced’ is a complex mystery which really had me guessing. I liked Wheeler and Ross and hope that there are many more cases for them to solve. Keep writing, Anne.
I give this book 5 out of 5.
Below is an extract from ‘Silenced’.
‘So, you’re saying I’m fucked.’ It was more of a statement than a question. Detective Inspector Kat Wheeler sat on a banquette in the alcove furthest from the stage and tried to make herself heard. Her blonde hair was shorn at the sides and longer on top, making a little quiff. She lifted a large glass of Chardonnay, took a sip and surveyed the food on the table in front of her. It was fare more suited to a wake. Scotch pies sat in pools of grease, fat bridies and sausage rolls hummed heart attack, and bowls of chips, with three types of mayonnaise, nudged the chances a little higher. But she had to eat. She decided the chips were the least toxic and speared a fat one with her fork. Around the room, the karaoke lights flashed green, red, blue and yellow on a continuous cycle. Acting Detective Inspector Steven Ross sipped his pint and reached for a piece of greasy garlic bread. He munched it before looking at her, blinking his long dark lashes over pale blue eyes. He waited a second before asking, ‘So, Stewart told you to forget it?’
‘Yep. Case closed.’ She glanced at a group of police officers huddled in front of the stage, the karaoke crew. ‘They’ll have hangovers from hell in the morning.’
‘Aye, but tonight’s the night to forget it all. Besides, it’s a celebration. Boyd got engaged and we solved the case.’
‘I’m not sure we’re celebrating the right result, Ross.’
‘We’re celebrating a result, a pretty good one in the circumstances.’
She looked at him, kept munching. Took another sip of wine. Waited.
He sighed. ‘You know the score, Wheeler. Sure you’ve photographic evidence, which may, just may, link Andy Doyle to James Gilmore but it’s a bit of a long shot.’
She finished the chip and reached for another. ‘It’s shit. Do you think I should take it higher?’
‘Come on, you already know the answer to that and, anyway, you’d get no support.’
She didn’t contradict him.
‘It would ruin their stats. From their point of view, the case is solved. Maurice Mason killed James Gilmore. Case closed. Two bastards are now off the radar, the heid-high yins are thrilled.’
‘Right. An ex-con was found dead.’ She speared another fat chip from the basket. Dipped it in the garlic mayonnaise. Ate. ‘And he was conveniently—’
Ross cut her off: ‘Wearing a St Christopher medal, which had been stolen from a murdered paedophile. You can see how it makes sense.’
‘It’s too neat, though, isn’t it?’
‘The top brass are delirious. The case is resolved. Big fucking result. You saw how Grim wrote it up in the Chronicle . . .’
‘Yeah, I remember. Carmyle police should be justifiably proud of their investigation.’
‘Just leave it, Wheeler. Pastures new and all that, and for starters that lunatic Haedyear’s done a runner.’
‘I know,’ said Wheeler. ‘You think he’ll head back to his old stomping ground, in Clarkston?’
‘He’d be a fool if he was even still in the city. My guess is he’ll be long gone,’ said Ross. ‘You think the two prison officers were in on it?’
Wheeler sipped her wine. ‘They’ve both been interviewed and released, but suspended from duty while the inquiry’s ongoing. Even if they’re not involved, they might end up losing their jobs.’
‘Seems a bit harsh if it was done by an outsider.’
‘But they weren’t thorough enough. I mean, Haedyear scarpered.’ Wheeler paused. ‘Anyway, should you be out on the ran-dan tonight, given that you’re going to be a dad?’
Ross shifted in his seat. ‘It’s all off again.’
‘No, she’s still going ahead with it but it’s over between us.’
‘She went into fantasy La-la Land.’
‘That’ll be the hormones kicking in.’
‘Wanted me to leave the force, get a nine-to-five. Be there for the kid.’
‘What did she suggest?’
‘Right. I can just see you in insurance,’ said Wheeler.
‘She wanted the whole cartoon dream. Even the picket fence.’
‘Roses round the door?’
‘But you’d miss the glamour of this job.’ Wheeler looked round the room. The Belter Bar and Grill was all about cheap booze and even cheaper artery-clogging deep-fried food. Even the humble vegetable had been coated in batter and deep-fried in fat. Tempura. Their boss DCI Stewart hadn’t turned up, but those who had were either swaying to the cheesy karaoke or looking distinctly glassy-eyed.
Ross sipped his pint. ‘I’m quite nervous about becoming a dad. Being a role model and all that stuff.’
‘You’ll be okay.’
‘Since we’re on the subject, did you ever want kids?’
Wheeler studied the contents of the chip basket. Speared a chip. Chewed. Said nothing.
Ross took the hint. He glanced across at the stage and changed the subject. ‘Look out, Boyd’s going up.’
Wheeler watched as Detective Constable Alexander Boyd lumbered towards the stage. ‘Nightmare. How does Boyd not even know how shit he is?’
‘Classic denial.’ Ross shuddered. They settled themselves for the trauma as Boyd took the stage and began comprehensively to strangle every note of Bryan Adams’s ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’.
A police sergeant in a too-tight shiny black shirt roared from the back of the room, ‘Get them out for the boys!’ Boyd duly complied and opened his shirt to expose a generous expanse of flaccid flesh and tufts of thick dark chest hair. The team yelled and applauded as he gyrated and sang with no discernible talent in either department. Finally he finished and, flushed with success, left the stage to make his way to his fiancée. The upstairs function room in the bar was heaving, but not everyone in the place was drunk ‒ the staff on the whole were pretty sober.
‘So, if not the case, at least let’s celebrate Boyd’s engagement.’ Ross raised his glass. ‘The happy couple look delirious.’
‘And stocious.’ Wheeler lifted hers.
‘Has no one mentioned the fact that Boyd’s still married or would that just be inconvenient?’
‘It definitely would seem that way. Anyway, his wife refused a divorce ‒ he’ll need to sit it out.’
‘That the lucky woman?’ Wheeler looked across to Boyd’s fiancée. Took in the tight red T-shirt, the short black skirt and the fishnets.
‘She looks like she’s dressed for work,’ said Ross. ‘Subtle she’s not.’
‘Tell me what she does again?’
‘She’s a burlesque dancer at Foaming Frothies. Boyd’s in Heaven.’
‘I’ll bet,’ said Wheeler, as the screen on her mobile lit up. She glanced at the number, headed to the far corner and pressed the phone to her ear. She listened carefully before making her way back to Ross. ‘New case.’ She went behind the bar, switched on the overhead lights and killed the soundtrack. She ignored the yells and waited for the boos to subside before she announced, to a silent room, ‘A body has been found in our area.’
A slurred prompt: ‘Go on, Wheeler.’
‘All I know at present is that we’re looking at a murder in the Tollcross Road area.’ She grabbed her coat and made for the door. Ross stood, pulled on his leather jacket and stared after her. ‘Guess I’ll be paying, then.’ But she was gone.
The music was switched on again, but the party was over. The atmosphere in the room was subdued. Officers who were on duty in the morning either finished their drinks quickly or abandoned them. No point in going in to a murder inquiry with a hangover. Jackets were collected. Wives, husbands and taxis were called. It was home time.
Outside, the weather raged around them. Thunder growled across the skyline as lightning flashed. ‘Thundersnow,’ muttered Wheeler, pulling up the collar of her coat as a taxi turned into Byres Road. She flagged it down.
‘So much for a night off and a wee break.’ Ross opened the door for her.
Wheeler climbed in, gave the driver instructions and, once on their way, turned to Ross. ‘Quit whining. Don’t you know—’
‘Aye. Your usual refrain, “Some poor sod has been battered/shot/strangled to death”, delete as applicable, and here I am whining about the weather/timing/ football results. Am I right?’
Wheeler skelped his arm, then ignored him, preferring instead to stare out of the window as they started their journey across the city, from the West End, where red-sandstone tenement flats began around the hundred-thousand-pound mark, to the East End, where similar flats facing Tollcross Park went for half that.
A few minutes later the driver broke the silence: ‘You polis, then?’
‘Yep,’ said Ross.
‘So I suppose you’ll not be able to tell me what this is about?’
‘Right,’ Ross replied.
‘I’m guessing you’re not uniform, so you’re CID, plus you’re leaving a night out by the looks of it, so I’d guess there’s been a death?’
‘And you can’t talk about it?’
‘Have you been working all evening?’ asked Wheeler.
‘Just came on about half an hour ago.’
‘You get any fares take you across the city to Tollcross?’
‘Sometimes, but not the night. Tollcross Road, though, near the park? That where we’re heading? The wife loves that park.’
‘That so?’ said Ross. ‘She use it a lot?’
‘Christ, aye. During the summer she’s never away from it. It’s the roses, son, she’s mad about them . . . We don’t have a garden and that rose garden’s famous ‒ must be thousands of plants, all different types, mind . . . And the awards they win, a Garden of Excellence. The wife keeps up with it all. Lovely wee spot. Peaceful.’
‘Not tonight,’ muttered Ross.
1 very lucky person has the chance to win a copy of ‘Silenced’. To enter just tell me why you love reading crime.
Terms and Conditions
This competition is open to residents of the UK and Europe only.
The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 21st September 2015.
The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date and their details passed on to Grace Vincent at the Little Brown Book Group Limited who will send out the prize.
Good luck! 🙂