|Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The first in a new crime series bodes well for the future. DI Westphall is an engaging character and I'm interested to see where he goes next.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 416||Date: February 2018|
|Publisher: Mulholland Books|
|External links: Author's website|
A man walked into a police station in Estonia. He told a tale of having been held prisoner, used as a donor for organ harvesting and sperm donation. X-rays and medical examination bear out this part of his story, but this man, or the man he says he is - John Baden - died twelve years ago. His body was identified by his partner, Emily King, and by his parents - and then the body was buried. So, who is this man? DI Ben Westphall is sent to Estonia because of his background in MI6, but that brings some baggage with it too. Westphall cannot, will not, get on a plane. His last experience of flight was more than enough for one lifetime.
It's an intriguing story and I warmed to Ben Westphall. He's single, not necessarily from choice, but because the job - both the current one and the one he did before - doesn't lend itself to building romantic relationships. He doesn't have a problem with authority, but authority does have a problem with him. Life would be so much easier for the hierarchy in Dingwall police station if Westphall would just get on a plane when he needed to get somewhere instead of taking cars, trains and ferries I mean, how can it be that difficult? And surely it's the obvious way to get back from Estonia when there's a murder in the Highlands?
As well as being intriguing there's an almost supernatural element to the story. A woman with whom Westphall shared a car journey shortly before she committed suicide returns afterwards to talk to him, to give him advice. I can cope with 'what would so-and-so (deceased) have said or done in this situation?' but this goes beyond that and I had to restrict the impulse to throw the book against the wall at that point. I also had to stop shouting instructions to just look at the facts logically and stop wondering whether something that was physically impossible had happened.
Was I surprised by the reveal of the murderer? Yes, I was. It wasn't that I had someone else chalked in, but rather that I'd been too busy getting annoyed about things which I couldn't change. It was a good story and despite my reservations I'd be interested to see where the series goes next. I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.
For more north of Scotland crime we can recommend Anne Cleeves' Shetland novels. For more from Estonia try Purge by Sofi Oksanen. DCI Banks also visited Estonia in Watching the Dark by Peter Robinson, but I don't think he had to go the pretty way.
You could get a free audio download of Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay with a 30-day Audible free trial at Amazon.co.uk.
You can read more book reviews or buy Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Song of the Dead (DI Westphall) by Douglas Lindsay at Amazon.com.
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