Ramsay, Danielle - 'Blind Alley'
In this very extraordinary third police procedural by Danielle Ramsay featuring Detective Inspector Jack Brady, we learn that he and his team have previously successfully solved a case and are feeling good about their successful teamwork. However, their contentment is shattered when they are asked to investigate a series of savage rapes of young girls in Whitley Bay, North Tyneside in Tyne and Wear. Each of the girls was walking home alone through a short-cut, after a good night out and were very intoxicated. They were all attacked, raped and horribly abused before being abandoned. Because of their drunken state they had difficulty in recounting what had happened to them and describing the man who had done this to them. A rogue reporter on a local newspaper published a very descriptive article one day that gave intimate details of the case that the police would have preferred to keep to themselves.
Subsequently, a women who was a local prostitute is raped and savagely beaten and her body left for dead in the industrial waste bin of a pub. If it hadn't been for the pub landlord's two Rottweiler dogs, kicking up such a fuss when he put them out in the back yard before going to bed, she'd definitely have ended up dead. As it was she had to be admitted to hospital with internal bleeding, a punctured lung and in need of re-constructive surgery on her face.
Jack and his team in their investigation are questioning all of the victims and discovers that the rapist in all cases has taken trophies from his victims of a very intimate kind to no doubt remind him of his crimes and so he can relive it in his memory. Jack came himself from a troubled background and although he was rescued from a possible live of crime one of his then close friends wasn't and has ended up as a rich and powerful foe in the criminal underworld in the same town. However, gangster Martin Madley still has a respect for Jack and he feels obliged to check out some of the crime bosses associates for their possible involvement in these crimes.
This very gripping and perceptively written thriller kept me glued to the book. The author recounts almost all of Jack's decisions and why he makes each move in this very plausible story and as a consequence the reader truly experiences the turmoil and the worry that this police team have in not being able to locate the perpetrator of these atrocious crimes and then the problems that they face with adverse comments from senior police. But with help from an unusual source they are at last able to wrap up the case.
This is the first book that I have read by this very talented and imaginative Scottish author who lives in the North of England. Her two previous books in this series were shortlisted for the CWA Debut Dagger in 2009 and 2010. She is enormously gifted and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future. Strongly recommended.
Terry Halligan, England