The Blood of CRows is the fourth in Caro Ramsay's excellent Glasgow-set series. It's a police procedural following DI Colin Anderson and his team.
At the start of the book, DS Costello is on sick leave after something that happened in a previous book. Anderson is under pressure from his wife to leave the job and emigrate to Australia. Their normal home, Partickhill Police Station is closed to have some asbestos removed, so the team are based at Partick Central in the meantime. They're divided and in unfamilar territory.
Anderson gets called out to a report of someone in the river, spotted by a passing boat, and when he and DC Lambie get there they find a naked girl chained to a ladder in the water, half-drowned by the rising tide. She dies in Anderson's arms. Then a young boy is thrown off a bridge after being tortured. Finally a local gangster is burned to death in an arson attack. Could all these cases be linked, could they be connected to the Russian mafia, or are they linked to Glasgow's own gang-filled history?
I'm a big fan of Anderson and Costello. They are compelling characters who have grown and changed thoughout the series, and they continue to evolve. The books are filled with interesting, multi-dimensional characters. The plotting is intelligent and complex. You need to pay attention, there's so much going on here. Ramsay is not afraid to ask deep questions of her reader, about morality and the nature of vengeance and where those lines are that must not be crossed. She puts her characters in difficult situations and gives them big decisions to make. She really knows how to build the tension too. There is nothing predicable here, she really keeps you on your toes and makes you want to keep reading to the very end.
Ramsay is not as well-known as Ian Rankin or Stuart MacBride but she deserves to be. These books are easily as good as theirs. The Blood of Crows is that rare thing, an intelligent crime novel that you just can't put down, one that keeps you thinking even after you finish it. I can't wait for the next.
The Blood of Crows is published by Penguin in the UK and is available now.
The other books in the series have just been republished with new jackets. They are Absolution, Singing to the Dead and Dark Water.
I bought my copy of The Blood of Crows with my own hard-earned cash.