Thursday 11 April 2024

The Photographer by Craig Robertson @CraigRobertson_ @simonschusterUK #ThePhotographer #BookReview


The sergeant took some from each box and spread them around the floor so they could all see. Dozens upon dozens of them. DI Rachel Narey’s guess was that there were a few hundred in all. 


Many of them were in crowd scenes, some just sitting on a park bench or walking a dog or waiting for a bus or working in shops. They seemed to have no idea they’d been photographed.

A dawn raid on the home of a suspected rapist leads to a chilling discovery, a disturbing collection hidden under floorboards. Narey is terrified at the potential scale of what they’ve found and of what brutalities it may signal.

    When the photographs are ruled inadmissible as evidence and the man walks free from court, Narey knows she’s let down the victim she’d promised to protect and a monster is back on the streets.

    Tony Winter’s young family is under threat from internet trolls and he is determined to protect them whatever the cost. He and Narey are in a race against time to find the unknown victims of the photographer’s lens – before he strikes again.

The Photographer by Craig Robertson was published in January 2018 by Simon and Schuster. 

One of the things that I like most about going on holiday is that I always make a point of taking some books that have been sitting on my shelf for far too long.  My copy of The Photographer has yellowing pages, it's been waiting so long to be taken down and read. Sorry Craig! 

I have read this author's most recent books, written under the name of C S Robertson, and I've read a couple of the other books in the DI Rachel Narey series too. The Photographer is the seventh in the series and it's a sign of a great author who can produce a story with long standing characters yet make it feel like a stand alone. If, like me, you are behind with this series, don't worry, you can easily read this one. 

So, where on earth to begin?  I was properly hooked by this story that centres around one of the most disturbing, vile and dangerous characters I've ever come across. 

The story begins with a prologue set in 2008 where the reader meets Lainy Henderson. Lainy is a counsellor, but she's also pretty messed up herself. When Lainy hears what her next client tells her she instantly recognises the events. Yet, when she tries to find out more about the client, she can find nothing. 

This sets the scene for the main plot which takes place nine years later, in October 2017. DI Rachel Narey is a new mother and recently returned to work, she misses her daughter, but she's a great cop. She's going to have a great deal to cope with in the next few weeks. I'm not going to get into the plot details, that's the job of the author, and he's done it very well, but I will say that it's about a serial rapist. A man who thinks he is above the law, a man with money and connections and a man who takes what he wants from who he wants, be that a young girl, or his own family member. This is a depraved, violent, sick individual who is creating terror across Glasgow and Narey knows it is him. She just has to prove it. 

There are some dark dark moments in this novel, there are also some extremely insightful scenes too. I guess it can be difficult for a male author to try to write about the effects of a rape on a woman, but there is a sensitivity in this writing that really rings true. 

The Photographer is most certainly one of those novels that you say to yourself 'just one more chapter', many times throughout. It is gripping, thrilling and shocking in equal measures. It is also perfectly paced with characters who are created with care. One of the best thrillers that I've read for a long time and highly recommended. 

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.

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