Saturday, January 19, 2019

Review: The Silent Games by Alex Gray

The Silent Games (DCI Lorimer, Book #11)
by Alex Gray
Release Date: March 13th 2018
2018 Witness Impulse (first published March 13th 2014)
Softcover Edition; 432 Pages
ISBN: 978-184744
Genre: Fiction / Mystery
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

DS William Lorimer has a lot on his hands. The Commonwealth Games will soon begin in Glasgow, and there’s been a credible threat of homegrown terrorism. 

When a big explosion, perhaps a trial run, causes extensive damage in a wooded area, Lorimer is seconded to help the counterterrorism force in their investigation. At the same time, he can’t resist an invitation to attend a school reunion run by his first love, Vivien Fox Gilmartin, whom he finds just as lovely as she was when she broke up with him to pursue an acting career. 

After their reunion, Vivien phones him hysterically to say that she’s found her husband, Charles, a famous theater director, dead in the flat they’re renting while he works to bring African theater groups to Scotland. His death appears to be a heart attack, but forensics show that he was poisoned. In addition, the police learn of the discovery of the body of a young African woman who has only a small tattoo as a clue to her identity. They suspect that she was part of a scheme to provide sex workers for the influx of visitors to the games. Since Vivien has no other friends in the area, Lorimer and his wife, Maggie, take her in while her husband’s murder is under investigation. Maggie berates herself for feeling that Vivien is less interested in her late husband than in Lorimer, who must hand off the case because he’s personally involved. 

Tracking down the tattoo leads to more stolen girls and a man who may be involved in both the trafficking and the terrorism, but Charles’ death remains a mystery.

My Thoughts
The Silent Games, the eleventh book in the DCI Lorimer series, definitely had an interesting premise which is what drew me to the story.  With all of the terrorism going on in the world and with recent bombings at important events, I was curious as to how this author would approach the subject in her story.  And while it was quite interesting, and took a turn I wasn't quite expecting, there were still elements I thought were left unexplored and I was not quite satisfied with the conclusion to this book.

First of all, I enjoy DCI Lorimer as a main character.  He is definitely competent at his job, dedicated, and always means to do the right thing.  He is very aware of his position as a leader of men and tries to ensure that his behaviour is beyond reproach as he knows that his men look up to him and want to learn from him.  That being said, he is also no push-over and can be quite aggressive when he needs to be; he has just learned when to push and when it is necessary to take a different route to get the answers he needs.  I was very pleased to see a character from a previous novel show up in this one and is now playing a bigger role, Kirsty Wilson.  She is now working for Lorimer, learning the ropes, and is as dedicated to the job as her father and Lorimer.  It was kind of interesting to see how she is learning the job and her frustration at being held back at times simply because she dd not have the experience to be involved in certain delicate situations; and when she did mess up, she got into trouble.  I really like her character and hope to see much more of her in the future.

This story can be pretty gritty as it deals with human traficking so of the scenes are hard to read, but there is so much of this sadly going on in our society it is almost scary and I feel that we need to face the issue.  The scenes probably don't do the ordeal these girls face justice to be honest, but I honestly don't think I could read them if it was any more explicit.   Unfortunately, while I did like the story, I did feel like there were quite a lot of holes in it which was a bit frustrating to read, somewhat predictable, and I didn't like the ending.  I really felt like the writing was too light for the subject matter in this one.  Bombing and human trafficking are serious subjects and can't be written about lightly.  I also was not crazy about the whole ex-girlfriend scenario - I think the whole thing could have been written right out of the book and it wouldn't have made a difference.  Maggie, you are one amazing woman!

The Silent Games was no my favourite book in the series although there were definitely some good moments in it.  I enjoyed the continuing character development: I was happy to see more of Kirsty and Maggie in this one and learn more about them.  The overall plot was interesting but I just felt like there was too much going on and the author kind of lost track of some of the plot lines throughout which made it feel loose and unconnected at times.  Will I read another book by this author?  Oh, definitely.  There was enough good stuff in this one to keep me going and I am not finished with DCI Lorimer as of yet.