This book covers issues so current that at times I almost felt like I was reading a fly-on-the-wall expose of a real investigation.
From the start of the book a vicious rapist is identified and taken to court, only to have key evidence thrown out on a technicality. The one and only witness who has been brave enough to come forward to give evidence at the trial breaks down and runs away leaving the judge no choice but to throw the case out.
The accused rapist is a semi-famous business man and his name has been released to the press, his victim is only known by a pseudo name. The moral debate about this is touched on, but what follows is a huge amount of trolling abuse aimed at the victim and the female police officer who took the case to court.
Detective Inspector Rachel Narey is the officer in question. She is becoming the target of abuse and threats of violence.
Rachel is frustrated that the case got thrown out of court, and even more frustrated that a file containing hundreds of photographs of random women taken all over the streets of Glasgow was thrown out of evidence; and that she was forced to return the photos and all copies of them to the accused.
She knows she had the right man, her bosses know she had the right man. They also know that every woman in the photos is a victim, or potential victim, of the attacker. Those photos are now off limits. How can she get after him?
When her husband, Tony, a journalist, is sent the photos on a computer file he knows he can’t tell his wife. He also knows he may have the biggest story he has ever had, but at what cost to his marriage.
Meanwhile a rape counsellor has been on the trail of a man who attacks his victims in a very specific manner, and it’s the same way that Narey’s victim was attacked. She has a file she’s named “The Beast File” containing 9 year’s worth of investigations. She has never got near identifying the victim until now.
Three lines of investigation start. DI Narey is still after her man but is confined by the letter of the law. Her husband Tony is not nearly so confined but without official status he is placing himself in danger.
Then there is Tony’s Uncle Dan, an ex-cop and God Father to Rachel and Tony’s little girl. He arrives to stay and look after the girl because of the threats made on social media to Rachel. He opens up a third line of inquiry when he joins in the twitter chat and ingratiates himself with the bigoted keyboard warriors that hide behind their computer screens.
With all three looking for a way to put the attacker behind bars the story highlights the difference between how different people can get information, legitimately or otherwise.
It shows the frustrations of modern policing, what can be done and what can’t.
It shows the frustrations of victims who get up the courage to step forward, only to be let down by the judicial system.
It shows how easy it is for so called secret identities to be found out; and how they become widely known through social media, and the effect that has on the person who is so often the victim of a serious crime.
This book could not be more topical. It reflects issues that have been in the press very recently, and even mentions the Black Cab Rapist whose immanent release is causing so much consternation.
I like books that get me thinking. This book got me thinking about some of the laws of this country, and the way some trials are reported.
It also got me thinking something I have never thought before. Maybe some of this investigative journalism is better placed to find out the truth than a proper legal investigation.
For a work of fiction that takes some doing.
Then I read Craig Robertson’s biography.
Now I know why this book is so good.
I’m off to find his back catalogue. I can’t not read them. I hope they are just as good as this one. They have a lot to live up to.
Publishers UK: Simon & Schuster
Publishing Date UK: 25th January 2018