Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

Rat Run – Caro Ramsay

Crime Thriller 4*s
Crime Fiction

In an insular community just seven miles from Glasgow the shadow of the murder of Sue Melrose and her two young sons back in 1992, still casts darkness over a row of houses. Up on the hill above the street Jock Aird sits and surveys all that he owned, watching the current inhabitants of the street. The man convicted of the young mother’s murder and that of the two boys and the family dog sits in prison protesting his innocence.

Meanwhile DCI Colin Anderson is waiting to hear if he is to be allowed back to work after a year on sick leave since his last case which saw him lose his lover and nearly his life. DI Costello is anxious, not sure whether he is fit to come back to work or not, but also longing to get away from her desk bound job and back to action.

Fortunately a new discovery means that action is about to come DI Costello’s way, and against a brooding backdrop of relentless rain which only serves to increase the claustrophobic atmosphere we meet the characters who live in the street in August 2015. The old case is reviewed with an aim to shore up the conviction against the man sat in prison, Andrew Gyle, reviewing those horrific images from twenty-three years before, combing the files and carrying out the necessary traces on those who were connected to the case.

Caro Ramsay executes this dark tale with a deft pen. The plot is fairly complex with many characters from the past and the present all seemingly with something to hide or infected by dark minds makes this far from a cheery read, but one that digs deep into the souls of all those involved. This is an author that doesn’t depend on left-field revelations, the clues are there for the denouement and I’m proud to say that I used these to work out the whodunit although I wasn’t quite there with the why. Not an easy task when there are many suspicious events, lots of people with nefarious intent but also some shining examples of the better side of human nature to keep this story from becoming so bleak that it seemed impossible to finish.

This is the seventh in the Anderson and Costello series and none of the books I have read, and no I didn’t start from the beginning (just for a change) read like the more traditional police procedural. Aside from Anderson’s return to work interviews and the brief that as much information about the new discovery was to be kept from the media, this story doesn’t concern itself with police politics. The members of the team are all individuals borrowing little from the stereotypical police cardboard cut-outs that are commonly used in such tales. We do hear a little about the protagonists private lives, mainly about Anderson’s struggle to overcome the psychological damage inflicted on him, and his family, but refreshingly the core of the story is kept to the forefront at all times.

If you like your crime thrillers to be full of thrills, you can’t go far wrong with this one but be warned, there are fairly graphic descriptions and if rats freak you out, this is not a bedtime story for you!!

Published UK eBook: 1 August 2016
Publisher: Severn House
No of Pages: 256
Genre: Crime Thriller
Amazon UK
Amazon US


A book lover who clearly has issues as obsessed with crime despite leading a respectable life

17 thoughts on “Rat Run – Caro Ramsay

  1. Hmm. This was a decent read but I much preferred the preceding entry in the series. I felt the first half could have been tightened up and the second half felt a bit rushed.

    Oh, and you’ve got the publication date wrong – it was out in the UK in April. I think you’ve put the US date…


    1. Thank you – I had the eBook publication so I’ve updated that part. I find these quite different to most police procedurals so much of my enjoyment came from that and I have a fondness for small community crimes.


  2. Very glad you enjoyed this, Cleo. I think with police procedurals it’s always a balance between how much detail to provide about ‘station life,’ and how much about home life. And of course, that past-case-coming-back plot point is interesting!


    1. Eaglesham? Thortonhall? Although if you live in the latter you must be awfy flush FF! I want to read this, but the last I read was The Night Hunter – I think that’s the title – and it was easy to work out the baddie, although the rest was pretty scary stuff! I’m convinced she lives in Argyll; it always features in some way! The first event at Bloody Scotland is her and Stuart McBride. I’ve been reading her books from the start, but I have missed a couple – it’s hard with so many books. She’s an unusual talent. But Denise Mina remains my favourite. And Catriona McPherson second!


        1. Ah, Kirkie! Our GP is from there. And you do know, I’m sure, Lenzie is on the Stirling line should you fancy popping through next weekend? (You’ll probably find us in the bar!) Last year I missed the footie match, which Len and Ed went to and “hung out” with Linwood Barclay, so I missed meeting him – not that I’m a huge fan, but he’s a good name to – Clang! – drop. It was because I wanted to see Sophie Hannah. And this year they’ve scheduled the footie at the same time as the spy writers, which is my no.1 choice! I do know what you mean about listening to authors talk about their books being dull – it depends on who’s asking the questions, I think. It could make you very bigheaded, all these people paying to listen to you! And Ian Rankin is paired with Quintin Jardine this year…🙅😭 Are you a fan…?


          1. No, not really – I’ve read a couple of his books but never found them addictive. OK would about sum it up for me. I’ve realised BS will be conflicting with the US Open finals, so I definitely won’t be going. Have fun though – looking forward to seeing what names you’ll be able to drop this year! 😉


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