McLean, Russel D - 'The Lost Sister'
This is a gripping and intense novel by yet another fabulous Scottish crime author. It is set in Dundee and paints an attractive, albeit unusual, picture of a private investigator with a conscience and a code of conduct. The language is powerful and earthy; a perfect tone for a book about Dundee's underworld and the interesting characters therein. It did take me until well into the book to be completely hooked by it, but by the end I was totally immersed in the story and enjoyed it immensely. Russel D McLean is definitely a name to look out for in the next few years. His book neither has a twist nor keeps you guessing but is written in such a way that you find yourself completely lost in it. The ending is not quite predictable but not totally lacking in surprise either. It ties everything up nicely and leaves you satisfied - as well as wanting more.
In brief, Mary Furst, a teenage girl, is missing and Private Investigator McNee, a former policeman, is asked to look into it. What is initially nothing more than a favour for a journalist friend soon becomes a personal vendetta, involving McNee's nemesis who just happens to be the missing girl's godfather. McNee becomes drawn deeper and deeper into the case and finds, as is his want, that he becomes emotionally embroiled too. Unexpected, and somewhat unwanted, help turns up right when he is thinking he really shouldn't get involved. This 'help', in the form of another PI who definitely isn't all that he seems, brings some fresh information on where Mary may be and why. The pace quickens as McNee rushes to find her before it is too late.
I quite like this McNee character. He seems gentle and caring but is as hard as nails at the same time. This is his second appearance - having been introduced in THE GOOD SON and I hope we will meet him again. He is a rather refreshing change from the usual mainstream crime fiction hero.
If you like Scottish crime fiction but are looking for something different, THE LOST SISTER, is the book for you!
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
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