#BookReview: The Photographer Craig Robertson @CraigRobertson_ @simonschusterUK

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It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of Scottish Crime Fiction and Craig Robertson’s Narey & Winter series ranks up there in my all-time favourites! I was delighted to receive a copy of this from Netgalley and will also be purchasing a paperback copy at Craig’s Glasgow book launch on 25th January! Well, I do like to have a signed copy for my shelf!

Thanks to Netgalley, the author and Simon & Schuster for the review copy.

Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the blurb says:

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. 

Photographs.

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.

My thoughts:

I have now officially got a serious book hangover after devouring “The Photographer” this weekend.There is something that feels like coming home when I pick up a Scottish crime fiction novel, especially when it is set in my hometown of Glasgow and Craig Robertson has a canny knack of creating a totally realistic sense of place, engaging characters and compelling narrative in this series. I have to say this book completely nailed it and then some!

The official blurb gives you all you need to know about this tight-knit and compelling plot, it is enough for me to say that I was hooked from the minute I opened the book and I really did not want it to end! It is part of a series but it can be read as a standalone, however, to appreciate the relationships and the character backgrounds then I’d recommend you read the whole series (it is also a series you really don’t want to miss!)

Authentic references, not only to street names and places but the little touches like The Daily Record, a well-known Scottish paper, the Hidden Lane in Finneston and a visit to the Kelvingrove Art Galleries and many others provide the sense of place I am looking for in a book. For those who know Glasgow the familiar scenes will play out in your head and for those who have never been, you will feel as though you have been transported to the city without leaving your sofa!

Throughout the series, Craig Robertson has brought his characters and their relationships to life. I believe in Tony Winter and Narey, I can see them in my head, I can imagine them carrying out their jobs as detective and photographer; I care about what happens to them and I live their lives out through the pages of the books. In The Photographer, I have to say that the author has excelled himself this time. This one was so real, so engaging and so compelling, it gave me a fire in my heart and a passion in my belly as I followed their hunt to bring this rapist to face justice. As well as Narey & Winter we are reacquainted with some old favourites from the series and new faces as well. Each and every one of them plays an integral part in the storyline and the nuances of each relationship play out across the pages drawing the reader into the lives of the characters.

Rape is a tough topic to approach for a writer, there is always the danger of sensationalism and shock value taking over the plot but not in The Photographer. We are left in no doubt of the brutality and sheer evil of the rapist but more than this, we are given a very real and disturbing insight into the impact that this crime, rape, has on its victims, the fear, the shame, the self-loathing and the inner strength found to deal with the crime committed against them. We are given a picture of what it is like to deal with this crime from the side of the police, the red tape and the legalities that cause frustration when they know who the perpetrator is but are powerless to arrest them. The issue of online trolling is also covered in the book and that whole frenzy of backlash and abuse heaped upon victims by keyboard warriors hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. Hard hitting and at times difficult to read but impossible to put down.

Craig Robertson has captured the culture and characters of my hometown of Glasgow, he has taken a harrowing subject and handled it with sensitivity and authenticity. I loved the last book in the series, Murderabilia, but this one has blown everything out the water. This series gets better and better, a dark and disturbing plot combined with a sense of place, compelling characters and the dark Glasgow gallows humour has resulted in a book that you seriously do NOT want to miss. Deliciously dark, grotesquely gritty and utterly compelling, pick it up but be prepared to park the outside world because you won’t be able to put it down!

The Photographer is available to purchase from:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

 

 

 

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