Monday 19 October 2020

Blood Red Roses and Driftnet by Lin Anderson

 Well now, this is going to be a review of two halves  guess. I picked up Blood Red Roses (a novella) because one of the later books in the series was on offer for 99p and I'd snapped it up as I like my crime fiction both Scottish and Noir and this ticked both boxes.

 Blood Red Roses is a prequel novella to the Rhona Macleod series which, as you would expect, introduces us to Rhona, a forensic scientist, her life and her team. The story has a bride to be murdered on her hen night and although a fairly short story there is plenty going on. I was really engaged with the story and the characters and enjoyed it so much I downloaded the 1st in the series - Driftnet ...

 Oh, dear!

 Driftnet was, to be totally honest, pretty terrible. The story was promising enough - Rhona is called out to a murder scene in the early hours where the victim (brutally slain) bears an uncanny resemblance to Rhona herself. Could this be the son she gave up for adoption seventeen years ago? He even has the same birthmark so - well, you'd think so wouldn't you.

 Someone is grooming and killing young men for sexual excitement/gratification and it's up to Rhona and team to get to the bottom of it.

 So, the problems I had with this are many I'm afraid. First up, the murder victim (SPOILER WARNING) looks like Rhona, has the same birthmark in the same place as the son she gave up but isn't her son. Its JUST A COINCIDENCE (and one that isn't really resolved). Next up is the next potential victim - who is the son of a politician who is on the crest of a wave. Said politician is also an ex partner of Rhona, and the father of the child she gave up for adoption - what a coincidence eh!

 And then there is Rhona's love life. Her partner is a musician and after a disagreement goes off to Paris. Rhona then falls for a computer whizz working for the police and who just might be a little dodgy or is he just doing his job?

 I could go on but I won't. I'll just say that this was, in my opinion, a terrible book that could have been much better.

 And that brings me to a problem. Through reading the prequel novella which was written later it's obvious that the author has improved massively but am I prepared to slog through the series waiting for the point when the writing level rises. Unfortunately I don't think I am. Which is a shame but there you go

Blood Red Roses 4/5*

Driftnet 1.5/5*

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