When the past becomes the present and a body of a red-headed young man washed up on the shore of the Isle of Mull, Detective Superintendent Lorimer once again gets called away from his holiday to deal with this murder. The body was tied and bound with twine and the scene is horrific. But, Lorimer is haunted about a murder that occurred 20 years before when he was just beginning as a detective constable and the body and the person who was killed was never identified. Things take on many difficult turns as a local officer DI Stevie Crozier is assigned to take on the case and resents any interference from anyone especially Lorimer. Hoping to not overstep himself he realizes that there are definite patterns in both deaths that might help solve both cases or at least the one in the present and he also realizes that there might be a serial killer at large but this DI wants to handle it in her own way. Her personality is sharp crisp and dealing with suspects, parents and the victim’s families in a harsh and at times non-empathetic manner does not endure her to anyone at all.
Within both time periods the victims body’s appeared to be tortured. Reported and a DI from Oban, was placed in charge of the case because Lorimer found the body and the DI is not happy to have him interfering in the case. Tobermory is where the story takes place and events occur that causes him to be part of the investigation. Rory Dagliseh is the victim in the present and when meeting his parents you get an odd feeling that there is more to their reactions than just dealing with the death of their son. The place where he worked and the woman where he lived seemed distant and just handed Lorimer his effects and left.
Jean Erskine saw something and reported it to Jamie Kennedy one of the DC’s watching the caravan and working the case. So, who would want to hurt her and take her out? In the past there is another murder of Desi Singh and it resembles that of the unidentified victim.
So, many flashbacks as Maggie are about to give birth to her child but it came too soon and things did not work out for her and William. Flashing to the present Fiona is Jean’s niece and Jamie and Stevie finding her body and now she has to deal with the funeral. Jean spoke to Fiona and she told many people in this small town that gossips that she saw Rory speaking to someone before he was killed and claimed it was Jock Mahoney. Could he be her killer and just where is he going now that the word is out about him?
When Lorimer realizes that Jock and his son Richard are on the run, DI Crozier also learns that there might be an helicopter that can help find them but wanting his aid was not something she relished but needed. When found and on the run, Richard is son is injured, Jock is brought into custody and the harsh reality about his false confessions leads them to learn just who found Rory’s body, where and what this person’s boat had to do with the murder. Would he lose it? Would he and his son be punished?
In the past we meet Rosie Ferguson as a student in the present we hear her words and how she finds the piece of rope that was used to kill Rory and her analysis of where it came from and why.
We learn more about Fiona, Archie, Mrs. Forsyth and we become suspicious of the gardener that they let go and the fact he wanted to return to the hotel the Forsyth’s owned to get paid and a reference. We also hear the voice of the killer many times justifying his actions and what he inflicted on Rory.
Then a photo clicks it all into place and an artist from the past comes into the present as the death from 20 years ago comes into the present and the victim just might be identified. When someone realizes that she might know the victim from the past and comes forward just what link to those in the present will change the direction of the investigation and will Stevie allow Lorimer to lead the way and will she learn from him just why he uses Solly and needs a profiler to help with identifying the villain and even the victim.
When the killer realizes that things are getting too close, the next victim will be someone close to the investigation and if the police are not quick they will have another fatality. A young boy was killed twenty years ago and now they know his identity and the reasons why but will the killer be caught and tried for his murder and two more? The author brings to light what happens when parents learn that their son is gay and is involved with another man yet they do not want it brought out in the news. Lorimer and Solly have to put the pieces together along with Rosie who identified the means of death used to tie up the victims and how the victim was tortured before he died.
The ending brings to light four men that were close to each other and one that was jealous when relationships changed and he felt like the odd man out. When the killer is revealed and the parents of Rory, Gary Forsyth the victim from 20 years ago is revealed and two others that are linked to these murders, what happens at the end will shock readers as what really happened on the Bonny Belle boat? Had Rory struggle or was he agreeable to what was inflicted upon him and why? What about seeing Rory with another man whose father would not accept his sexuality either? One water coloring drawing sent to a mother would open up old wounds and solve one cold case. The ending is heartwarming as there is a wedding and as the author ends her tale or story with “ The brightness of the day to keep the midnight out! Once again Alex Gray creates a novel with many issues that haunt the characters and will haunt them for a long time: the issue of sexual preferences, the end result of what the killer does, the link to the past and the betrayals in the present and the sadness of Maggie losing her son in childbirth. What is next for Lorimer and his town? Where will the next victim’s body be found?
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine