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Silenced by Anne Randall

October 14, 2015

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.

I was sent this book by the publisher, very kindly, as I was in the midst of moving house and therefore could not commit to reviewing around the time of publication. In the event, it was just as well I didn’t commit, as the move turned out to be stressful and complex, and I’m only just recovering.

Silenced is the second in the series of the Wheeler and Ross crime novels. The first book, Riven was written under The name of A.J. McCreanor. I have not read Riven, but Silenced works perfectly well as a stand alone novel.

There’s no doubt that Randall knows her Glasgow very well. Her descriptive passages, especially in the Prologue and opening chapter, are very vivid, almost overwritten in that lovely noir sense and evocative of the underbelly of the city.

Mark Haedyear is a notorious killer, doing life for the abduction and gruesome murder of Amanda Henderson. Whilst on compassionate leave to attend his mother’s funeral, he does a runner from the crematorium.

D.I. Kat Wheeler and Acting D.I.Ross are on the hunt but it isn’t long before a dead body shows up on the streets. Cameron Craig was homeless and living rough. Beside his body is a card for a local group with spiritual overtones whose members work with the homeless community.

Meanwhile, Fiona Henderson, the daughter of Haedyear’s first victim is herself living on the streets. She has been mute since her mother’s murder. She is estranged from her father and in sporadic contact with her sister, and it is clear she does not want to be found.

Is Craig a victim of Mark Haedyear, or is there another killer targeting the homeless and those who work on the streets? Why is Fiona in hiding and what is her link to the victim?

As Wheeler and Ross look for their serial killer, he finds them, and Kat receives communications that are chilling in their narcissism and speak to his needs to communicate  – especially with Kat.

There is some nice personal interplay between the two detectives and we learn a little about their personal lives and preferences.

This novel is set amongst the poor, the dispossessed and those who prey on them; a crime novel with rawness and grit, worthy of the tartan noir appellation. Criminals, prostitutes and drug addicts form a network and Randall uses that to play with notions of justice and escape.

Well plotted,it is satisfying to see how the links between characters all tie together as the story reaches its conclusion.

I did work out who had ‘dunnit’ but not til quite near the end, which is always satisfying.

All in all, a good read.

Silenced was published by Constable on 3 Sept. 2015

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