Into Books Review: Watch Him Die by Craig Robertson

Book: Watch Him Die
Author: Craig Robertson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Watch Him Die is the latest chapter in Craig Robertson’s popular series of thrillers featuring Glasgow-based detective, Rachel Narey and right from the get go, it grabs one’s attention, rarely relinquishing its grip.

A chance but grim discovery of a decomposing body sets the wheels rolling upwards (trust me on this) on an investigation which reaches from the searing heat of a Los Angeles drought, across the Atlantic into the dank cellar of a derelict Glasgow pub. Two teams of detectives have to work together – and against the clock – to prevent the death of an imprisoned young man while their attempts to save him are obstructed by maligned forces who may – or may not – hold the key to a number of other unsolved murders, including that of the infamous ‘Black Dahlia’ homicide of the 1940’s.  As each orphic detail emerges, the detectives find that the more layers they peel back, the more tortuously labyrinthine their path becomes.

Author Robertson adroitly weaves the continental culture clash into a conceivable and nail bitingly taut mystery, bringing a chilling sense of familiarity to readers familiar with many of the Glasgow settings. Whether in California or Caledonia though, the pace never slackens and to his credit, Robertson doesn’t allow the story to get bogged down in the kind of areas where cliches tend to lurk. The finer, technical details of crime scene, forensic police work felt neither clumsy nor laboured, and it was the same with the local voices which, in many novels, can often be toe-curlingly parochial and unnatural.  And as a first time reader of his work, it was quite refreshing to find DI Narey, Det. Salgado and O’Neill were relatively hang-up free. Arguably though, the most unsettling but important aspect of the story is the strand which focuses on the disconnected dark hearts who feed off of our human need for social interaction and how one’s seemingly innocuous online presence can be made toxic by the machinations of malign hands.

All of which makes ‘Watch Him Die’ a most believable, multifaceted page-turner. Definitely a thriller for our times.

George Paterson
@gfpaterson

Watch Him Die by Craig Robertson is published by Simon and Schuster

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