Monday 8 June 2020

Watch Him Die by Craig Robertson @CraigRobertson_ #WatchHimDie @simonschusterUK #BookReview #ScottishCrimeFiction

The LAPD find a man dead at home. Nothing suggests foul-play but elements of the victim’s house show that something is deeply wrong.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow, DI Rachel Narey is searching for a missing young woman – and the man she suspects of killing her.

When a feed broadcasting the slow and painful death of a final victim is discovered, these two cases become linked.

There’s no way to identify him.
No way to find him
No way to save him.
Not without the cooperation of a killer.

And the only way he will cooperate is if he can watch him die.

Watch Him Die by Craig Robertson is published on 11 June by Simon & Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

Admission of guilt time ..... this is the first book by Craig Robertson that I've read.  I have no idea why, I've known of the author for years, in fact I've sat in his company many times, glass of gin in hand, listening to his stories. I do have more of his books on my shelf, I will most certainly be reading those as soon as possible.

Watch Him Die is part of the Narey and Winter series, however it really can be read as a stand alone story. I had absolutely no problem in following the plot and in getting to know the characters, it's incredibly well done.

There used to be a rollercoaster at Alton Towers called the Black Hole (it may still be there, I'm not sure).  That rollercoaster was undercover and you rode it in darkness. The rider had absolutely no idea where they were going, it twisted and turned and went upside down, leaving the rider feeling totally out of control. That's how I felt when I was reading Watch Him Die. At no time at all did I have an inkling of where this story was going, I was constantly mislead, constantly turned upside down and it was an absolutely thrilling ride to take.

The reader is put firmly in the middle of two separate investigations; one in Los Angeles, led by LAPD Detectives Bryan Salgado and Cally O'Neill, and the other case is being played out in Glasgow, with DI Rachel Narey heading it up.

These cases are particularly complex and incredibly violent, be prepared for body parts and torture, and also brace yourself for some desperately evil and warped characters; so cruel, so totally self absorbed but so perfectly created.

As the Scottish team begin to work more closely with the detectives in America, their separate cases begin to weave themselves into each other. Why did that dead man in LA own so many gruesome artefacts that are related to serial killers, and why was he searching for names in Scotland?

Theres' an incredible tension that gets stronger and stronger as the clock literally ticks toward something that is being played out in front of the police officers. There cannot be a truer meaning to the phrase 'hidden in plain sight' than what is happening to one man, in an unknown location who desperately needs help. As the police slowly link together the pieces of this macabre jigsaw, the reader is urging them on.

This author seems to have got into the mind of a serial murderer so well. There's dialogue between the police and a guy hidden behind an on-screen name that is so chilling, it gave me goose bumps. It's clear that there's been an incredible amount of research done into the dissection of narrative and the meaning behind phrases; incredibly clever and adds so depth to the story.

Watch Him Die is absolutely absorbing. The sense of place, of LA and of Glasgow is perfect. It's unsettling yet compelling. Totally unputdownable.  Highly recommended by me

A former journalist, Craig Robertson had a 20-year career with a Scottish Sunday newspaper before becoming a full-time author. He interviewed three Prime Ministers, reported on major stories including 9/11, Dunblane, the Omagh bombing and the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. He was pilloried on breakfast television, beat Oprah Winfrey to a major scoop, spent time on Death Row in the USA and dispensed polio drops in the backstreets of India.

His gritty crime novels are set on the mean streets of contemporary Glasgow. His first novel, Random, was shortlisted for the 2010 CWA New Blood Dagger, longlisted for the 2011 Crime Novel of the Year and was a Sunday Times bestseller. Murderabilia was longlisted for the 2017 Crime Novel of the Year and shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize. The Photographer was longlisted for the McIlvanney Prize.

He now shares his time between Scotland and California and can usually be found on a plane somewhere over the Atlantic.

Twitter @CraigRobertson_

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