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Witness the dead (2014, WF Howes Ltd) 2 stars

It's Saturday morning in Glasgow when Strathclyde CID are called to photograph the body of …

Formulaic & dull

2 stars

Well, I've finally finished Witness The Dead despite there being a few moments when I wasn't sure whether I could be bothered. The long book is apparently the fourth in its series of police procedural thrillers. The earlier books might be better - I haven't read them - but this one is so formulaic and meandering that I just found it dull.

The best character is the city of Glasgow which comes across as dark and threatening or vibrant and youthful, depending on the scene and time of day. Many buildings and streets are attractively described and, if it weren't for the violent undercurrents, I'd suggest the tourist office sell copies. I recognised places we visited and am inspired to travel there again.

The human characters however are sadly two-dimensional and almost cartoonish in their actions and speech. Theres Shouty Policeman and Spiteful Policeman, Bland Hero, Competent Yet Also Attractive Woman Scientist and Hannibal Lecter Clone. You get the idea? And we also get Ridiculously Close Family Involvement which is one of my real pet hates in this genre as the subtext that cops will only really leap into action if their wife/daughter/sister is at risk is laughable, if not a tad insulting.

Final verdict: A glossy big budget cover that promises a lot but masks disappointing content.