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Robbing the Dead by Tana Collins

February 13, 2017


In a small Scottish university town, what links a spate of horrible murders, a targeted bomb explosion and a lecturer’s disappearance? Is a terror group involved? If so, who is pulling the strings? And what does something that happened over forty years ago have to do with it?


Having recently returned to Castletown in the hope of winning back his estranged wife, DCI Jim Carruthers finds himself up to his eyes in the investigation.


Struggling with a very different personal problem, DS Andrea Fletcher assists Jim in the hunt for the murderous perpetrators. To prevent further violence they must find the answers quickly. But will Jim’s old adversary, terror expert McGhee, be a help or a hindrance?


This is a debut novel from Edinburgh based author, Tana Collins. Set in the East Neuk of Fife, the town of Castletown, bears a close resemblance to St Andrews. This crime novel deals with the death of a young RAF squaddie from the local barracks. His girlfriend, Siobhan Matthews, thinks Rhys Evans may have been caught up in a feud between lads from the base and the local youth, but D.C.I. Jim Carruthers has trouble making sense of the motive.

When a local University Lecturer’s car is bombed and the lecturer cannot be found, things take a more complex and highly political turn and it begins to look as if there may be a terrorism motive behind both the bombing and the killing.

But what connects the tattoo of a bluebird on the dead man, with threatening letters to a controversial Politics Lecturer and the shooting of a young woman over forty years before?

The signs are that the terrorism may be linked to Welsh nationalist extremists, though the lecturer himself is also linked to the events of Bloody Sunday. Major crimes are concerned that Scotland may have become a target for terrorists, but are there more personal than political motives for these events?

As D.C.I. Carruthers struggles with the failure of his marriage and the return of an old adversary and expert on terrorism, Alistair McGhee, his partner, D.S. Andie Fletcher is coming to terms with her own personal dilemma.

This is a well plotted book with convincing and likeable characterisation and a driven and compelling narrative which keeps the reader interested through to the bloody climax.

An interesting debut from a writer to watch.

Robbing the Dead is published by Bloodhound Books on 14th February 2017


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