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Anderson, Lin - 'The Reborn'
Paperback: 432 pages (May 2011) Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks ISBN: 0340992913

It's almost the end of her evening out with friends at Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park funfair when seventeen year old Kira catches sight of the clown. Panic-struck by her phobic dislike she hurries into the first attraction she can find in order to get away. But there, in the Hall of Mirrors, surrounded by distorted reflections of her heavily pregnant body, Kira meets her killer. Forensic scientist Dr Rhona MacLeod is called to the crime scene which she finds a particularly bloody and shocking one - Kira's attacker has performed a brutal Caesarian and removed the full-term foetus. Now the search for the killer is even more urgent because the baby may just still be alive.

Meanwhile criminal psychologist Professor Magnus Pirie is visiting a maximum security psychiatric hospital in order to interview the magnetic and manipulative child killer, Jeff Coulter. Pirie is reading Coulter's diaries as part of his research into this psychopathic criminal's claim to be transformed. For Coulter now achieves a new kind of fame carefully fashioning what he calls "Reborns"; chillingly life-like dolls created to look like new-born infants and made to order for the bereaved and the childless.

THE REBORN is Lin Anderson's seventh crime novel featuring Dr Rhona MacLeod and her colleagues. The crime at the centre of THE REBORN is a dark and disturbing one involving as it does not only a cold-blooded murder but the crime of foetal theft. With this book Anderson takes us into the homes of Glasgow's affluent middle class; into a select independent school for girls; and past the security barriers into a hospital for the criminally insane. With atmospheric descriptions, good forensic detail, strongly written characters and tight plotting - this book is an exciting read. There is also a gripping sub-plot involving Rhona and her colleagues which continues from the previous novel, FINAL CUT. If I have any quibble with THE REBORN, it is that for me the final "who and why" of the central crime felt a bit engineered.

There is no doubt that Anderson's Rhona MacLeod books provide great "two-for-one deals". Not only do you get the core criminal investigation but the equally gripping back-plots involving MacLeod and her colleagues which run through the series. (It is no surprise that ITV has optioned Anderson's books for TV.) So if you can take the dark and disturbing on board and forensics is your fix, not only is THE REBORN the book to try but there is the good news that there are more Rhona MacLeod titles for you to read, although you might prefer to read them in sequence.

Lynn Harvey, England
November 2011

Lynn blogs at
Little Grey Doll.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 6/11/2011 08:55