My first read of 2019 was “Rat Run” from Caro Ramsay. This is the seventh in the Anderson and Costello series and while you can read it as a standalone, I would definitely recommend reading them in order to get a handle on the relationships and backstories which are essential in enhancing your enjoyment of the series.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
A macabre discovery throws disturbing new light on a 20-year-old murder case in the latest tense and twisting Anderson and Costello mystery.
In August 1992, a young mother and her two small sons were brutally murdered in the woods behind their home. Her neighbour Andrew Gyle was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life imprisonment. Now, twenty-three years later, a macabre discovery throws new light on the case. Could there have been a shocking miscarriage of justice?
Having only just returned to work following an enforced leave of absence, DCI Colin Anderson knows he must make a success of his comeback case. But, as he and his partner, DI Costello, uncover serious discrepancies in the original investigation, it becomes clear that not everyone is telling them the truth. Meanwhile, Costello worries that Anderson is struggling to cope – and his increasingly odd behaviour causes her to begin to think the unthinkable: can she trust her own partner?
Caro Ramsay has the killer hook opening down to a fine art and she certainly laid it out on a plate for me with this one! I could almost hear the horror movie soundtrack playing in the background as my heart rate increased and my mouth went dry in terror. A perfect scene was painted and I was hooked!
The blurb above tells you all you need to know about the plot and the storyline so I won’t rehash any of that. What I will tell you about is the incredible storytelling talent that Caro Ramsay has.
Caro isn’t a writer who hands you the storyline on a plate, you have to put some effort and work into reading her books. Light and fluffy they are not. With casts of characters and plenty of little subplots bubbling away, they are an intense but intelligent read which will get your old grey matter working. But please don’t let this put you off, they are well worth the effort.
Brilliant scene setting meant that I could watch the words play out in pictures inside my head as I read. This meant that the location and the characters were authentic and believable. A very real oppressive and somehow claustrophobic atmosphere was created as I was taken on a journey through the lives of the residents of Altmore Road. Watching their past and present lives collide in the pages filled with incessant rainfall. The rain never halted throughout the book and it added something terrifyingly dark to the storyline, something dense, threatening and extremely suspenseful. Dank, dirty and breeding ground to some extremely nasty vermin…let’s just say that the title of this book is very apt!
I love how Caro uses a mix of real places with her own dash of uniqueness. For those of us familiar with Glasgow there is enough for us to recognise the area she is referring to and for those who don’t know the area then you would never know the difference. So be warned if you are one of those readers who will get antsy about a bus route being inaccurate in a book then this might be a source of irritation to you!
Anderson and Costello are an excellent pairing and without giving away any spoilers from previous books, Anderson is struggling with the impact of a previous case on his private and professional life. The issue of PTSD is expertly and sensitively explored through Anderson’s own experiences, providing a candid and realistic overview of the condition and its ripple effect. He is a complex character but one who makes for an intriguing read. Now, Costello, she is my kind of character, on the surface, she is a bit of a wee nippy sweetie; straight talking grumpy on the outside but a whole different person underneath – I love her! The relationship between the two is intense, although fraught with tension at times, it is impossible not to see the connection between them.
Rat Run, I have to say, is perhaps my favourite of the series so far. Full of perfectly executed twists and turns, outstanding characters and sense of place and the added bonus of keeping me guessing right up to the very last minute this one is perfect for those who like their reads to give them something to get their teeth into! (Just watch for other things getting their teeth into you as you read though! #JustSaying)
Rat Run is available to purchase from:
About the author:
Caro Ramsay was born in Govan in Glasgow. She spent her youth obsessing over Agatha Christie. The adult Caro now resides in the Scottish West Coast in a village called Elderslie (birthplace of William Wallace). She shares her Victorian house with (in order of importance) a rescue pitbull called Emily (formerly Satan), a rescue cat called Pi (3.14) and a poltergeist called Agnes who is registered as a centre of paranormal activity. And some bloke called Alan.
Caro has always suffered from a bad back and so became an osteopath rather than a vet. She still treats animals but has never have to end a life – or sex life.
After spending five years at University in London training to be an osteopath, she returned home and set up her own practice which now has 36 staff. This affords her the opportunity to inflict pain whilst getting paid for the privilege; she says that this helps her writing as her research often comes to her. She has only ever read crime fiction and had not written a word until she managed to fracture her spine and got extremely bored while incarcerated in hospital for a number of months. This period of immobility, a Papermate pen and a clipboard, resulted in the Anderson and Costello crime series.