Rat Run: An Scottish police procedural (An Anderson & Costello Mystery) - Caro Ramsay

The 7th book in this series is a dark, atmospheric read about a present day investigation that stirs up memories of a horrific crime from the past.

 

At the centre of it all is Altmore Road, a crumbling little area of Glasgow infamous for the murders of a young mother & her children in 1992. 

 

DCI Anderson is newly back on the job after 14 months of PTSD, psych evaluations & an uneasy home life brought on by his last case ("The  Tears of Angels"). He desperately needs the distraction of work but is a ghost of his former self. When a giant sinkhole on Altmore coughs up some old bones, he & Costello are assigned the case.

 

This is a complex story with many (many!) characters as chapters alternate between the past & present. Altmore Road seems to exist in a bubble, populated by eccentrics who guard their secrets behind closed doors. Initially the pace is slow. Much time & space is devoted to in depth descriptions of each family on the street, then & now. As the historical plot line catches up to present day, it becomes evident their lives have long been linked by unpleasant events. 

 

The investigation is a tough slog of endless interviews & waiting for forensics to yield results. It's really Costello's case as she quickly realizes Anderson is MIA. She's lost a bit of her spark in this outing, restraining herself from the caustic comments that added snarky humour to the last book. It's clear she's feeling the stress of carrying Anderson & the political nightmare of possibly reopening the old murder case. 

 

Maybe she's just tired of being soaking wet & the fact there's never an ark builder around when you need one. The deluge of endless rain is another character in the story as it affects the lives of everyone & Altmore Road, itself. Some of its hidden residents are being driven out by the rising water & the author uses this to eeewww-inducing effect in the finale (hint: see title).

 

The pace picks up for the last quarter & it becomes a full on page turner. It's a transitional book & by the end there are signs Anderson may resolve his issues & return to the living for the next instalment. Hopefully Costello can then relax & unleash her inside voice.