Blood, Salt, Water
An Alex Morrow Novel #5
Back Bay Books, March 2017
From the publisher: A wealthy businesswoman disappears from her Glasgow home without a trace, leaving her husband and children panicked but strangely resistant to questioning. Tracing the woman’s cell phone records, police detective Alex Morrow discovers a call made from an unlikely location. A sleepy seaside community, Helensburgh is the last place you’d go looking for violence. But Morrow’s investigation uncovers disturbing clues and a dead body in a nearby lake. When a connection to someone close to her surfaces, the case gets more personal than she could have imagined.
In this newest book featuring DI Alex Morrow, she is assisted by DCs McGrain and Thankless [the anticipated jokes I looked for never appearing, surprisingly], working out of the London Road Police Station of Police Scotland. There is a lot made of the upcoming referendum on independence, with every inhabitant apparently wearing stickers identifying which side they were on.
There are a number of men and women introduced who indulge in local crime, many of them having spent time in prison. It became a bit difficult to distinguish among them after a while, I must admit. One who stands out, however, is Danny McGrath, Morrow’s half-brother, “a well-known and feared Glasgow gangster until he was sentenced to eight years for conspiracy to commit murder . . . who was carrying on his business vicariously from prison,” who appears almost exclusively in Morrow’s preoccupation with him. “They all knew that the black economy was essential. Men like Danny were responsible for twenty percent of global GDP. If justice was done and they were all imprisoned, the world economy would collapse. Civilisations would fall.”
The title references the two substances, salt and water, that can wash away the first of them, blood.
The novel is engrossing, although I found this entry in the series somewhat hard to follow, as were its characters. However, this author always provides interesting narratives, and as all her earlier novels, it is recommended.
Reviewed by Gloria Feit, December 2016.