THE UNDISCOVERED DEATHS OF GRACE McGILL by C. S. Robertson (Hodder £14.99, 368 pp)
THE UNDISCOVERED DEATHS OF GRACE McGILL
by C. S. Robertson (Hodder £14.99, 368 pp)
When an elderly person dies in Glasgow and their body lies undetected for weeks or even months, Grace McGill cleans up the mess — whether it’s bodily fluids, the detritus of a lifetime or their secrets.
She is a meticulous, lonely, shy, fortysomething Scot with a belligerent father and a cat called George, and she finds it difficult to speak to people.
As the story opens she’s clearing up after an old man who’s lain unnoticed for five months and she finds a dried daisy among the remains.
A few weeks later there’s another body, and another daisy. Grace decides to investigate the connection, which takes her to the island of Bute, and the disappearance of a young woman back in 1964.
This is an ingenious, disturbing and chilling thriller in which Grace is an unforgettable character, and not what she seems. Superb storytelling, with an elegant twist.
ONE STEP TOO FAR
by Lisa Gardner (Century £12.99, 416 pp)
Gardner can be counted on to send a shiver down the spine, but this one exceeds even her high standards.
The central character is Frankie Elkin, a rootless young woman with a troubled past who specialises in finding missing people, whether dead or alive.
In the forests of Wyoming she joins a search party looking for any trace of a man named Timothy O’Day, who disappeared on the eve of his wedding a decade ago.
O’Day’s father leads a search every year, taking the four friends who were with his son on the night he vanished.
This has echoes of the film Deliverance, but with a spirited young woman at its centre who is daunted by nothing. No wonder Gardner’s first Frankie Elkin book, Before She Disappeared, has been optioned for a TV series, with Oscar-winner actress Hilary Swank playing Frankie — the books are that good.
CRY WOLF by Hans Rosenfeldt (HarperCollins £14.99, 384 pp)
by Hans Rosenfeldt (HarperCollins £14.99, 384 pp)
From the creator of Wallander and The Bridge comes this striking slice of Scandi-noir at its very bleakest — so cold and haunting that it all but takes your breath away.
Set in the remote northern Swedish town of Haparanda, it starts with a drug deal that goes wrong and leads to a massacre in the woods, just across the border in Finland. But that emerges only when human remains are found in the stomach of a dead wolf on the Swedish side.
Detective Hannah Wester investigates where the drugs and money, which should have been found at the scene of the shoot-out, have gone.
Enter trained assassin Katya, hired by the Russian gangster who sent the drugs in the first place, to find the loot before the police do. So begins a chase between the two women which grows increasingly bloody, with the body count rising exponentially.
Not for the faint-hearted, this is a story that lingers long in the mind — as does Katya.
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