Silenced by Anne Randall

This book began with a short rather creepy prologue, the first of several unsettling ‘communications’  which are in the book. Right from the first chapters, I was hooked: who was writing these communications and were they connected with convicted murderer Haedyear’s escape from prison?

Anne Randall sets her scene very well, with excellent descriptions of the Glasgow setting, the the people in it, the miserable weather and even the greasy food! Silenced has a large cast of characters and while I would hope never to meet quite a few of them, they all added depth to this book. We meet the police of course, as well as gangleaders from Glasgow’s underworld. Prostitutes, spiritualists, pathologists and artists are just some of the other characters. I liked that dialect was used for some of the characters and felt this added a realism to the book. It’s not a book without humour though, black humour of course. One character comments in relation to a murder that there is a low life expectancy in Glasgow anyway. The retort is – ‘is that meant to make the victim feel better, that he wasn’t long for this world!’

Wheeler and Ross are the Detective Inspectors overseeing the murder investigation of a homeless man. More murders follow and it is clear that there is a serial killer at large. Fiona, the daughter of the victim of the escaped murderer has also gone missing and it looks like there is a link between them. The victims are found with ‘inspirational cards’ from a local group working with the homeless and involved with communicating with the spirit world – what is their connection? The gangland leaders are looking to exact justice in their own way when one of their own goes missing and as you read on, the links between the various characters and storylines are gradually revealed.

The final few chapters were very tense as the story raced towards its conclusion. There had been red herrings and clues throughout as to who was involved with the murders but there were so many twists that it wasn’t until very near the end that I worked out who it was. And then it was a heart-in-the-mouth read to see if all would be resolved in time! There are so many shady characters from the Glasgow underworld in this book that I wouldn’t be surprised if they produce more cases for Wheeler and Ross to solve in future books. And I’ll certainly be looking out for the next book featuring the two detectives.

Thank you to Grace Vincent at Little, Brown publishers for giving me a copy of this book to review. Silenced is out in hardback and ebook now and due to be published in paperback in March. You can order a copy here: Silenced

Book description

He buried his victim alive. And now he’s escaped from prison and is on the run in the city. Fiona Henderson, the daughter of the victim who’d descended into a world of silence following her mother’s murder, has gone missing. Her sister Annabelle scours the city in a desperate attempt to find her. And then the body of a homeless person if found among the rubbish in a deserted alleyway. As DIs Wheeler and Ross investigate, more suspicious deaths occur and a pattern emerges: the victims are all homeless. And so the police are pitched against a killer who is hellbent on a mission to rid the streets of the vulnerable and dispossessed. As Wheeler and Ross descend further into Glasgow’s netherworld, their investigation reveals not only a flawed support system for the disaffected, but also a criminal class ruthlessly willing to exploit them. A city of double standards, where morality is bought and sold. But it’s when the killer begins stalking DI Wheeler, that she and Ross realise that the threat is now personal.

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