A driftnet catches everything.
A teenage boy is found mutilated in a Glasgow flat. Forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod is called to the scene, but her grim task is even more unsettling than normal by the boy's remarkable resemblance to her - Could he be the son she gave up for adoption seventeen years before?
Amidst the turmoil of her own love life and consumed by guilt from the past, Rhona sets out to find both the boy’s killer and her own son. The powerful members of an Internet paedophile ring have nothing to lose and everything to gain by Rhona MacLeod’s death.
This time round I wanted to read a book whose main character was not a police officer or detective operating from a police station. Rhona MacLeod is a forensic scientist (yes, granted, she works for the police, but she's not a police officer!) She takes samples of other people's lives, mistakes and crimes, to the lab and examines them. She's the main protagonist in a Glasgow-based series by Lin Anderson. Written quite a number of years back now, 'Driftnet' is the first book.
The mutilated, naked body of a teenage boy is discovered in a small flat. It seems he has been killed during some sort of sex game, and the injuries and signs of abuse found on his body point to a vicious, demented killer. When Rhona is summoned to the scene to take her samples, she's shocked to notice that the victim bears an uncanny resemblance to her. Someone later tells her that he looked so like her, he could have been her younger brother! Unbeknown to everyone else, seventeen years earlier, Rhona had given up a baby boy for adoption. Without an ID for the victim and stunned by the horrible possibility, Rhona becomes desperate to dig deep to help the police find out who this boy was, why did he end up there, who did this to him. She also suddenly wants to trace her son in the hope that he's still out there alive and well. But could this really be her son? Racked by guilt, Rhona is determined to find out. Not so eager is the man who fathered that boy, lawyer and by-election candidate Edward Spencer, who's now married with children. He warns Rhona that he doesn't want a scandal to crop up now and ruin his prospective future career in politics. Still, Rhona doesn't care, with or without his help, she will find out the truth.
Well, I've known about author Lin Anderson for a long time now, but for one reason or another I'd never read any of her books. I found this one quite intriguing and brilliantly written. Even though it was written a number of years ago, it doesn't feel dated at all. The author's vivid descriptions and the way she puts her words kept me interested throughout. The possibility that the victim could be Rhona's son kept me hooked till the end, wanting as much as herself to find out if that was the case or not. Was he, or not??
The book deals with paedophilia and paedophile rings, a theme not everyone is comfortable reading about, however the author treats it very sensitively. The crime scene's description can be a bit disturbing to go through, however there aren't any violent scenes of children being abused in the book.
All characters and dialogues are realistic. Rhona is quite likeable, a brilliant scientist who has not quite put her past behind her. The guilt feelings and regrets of abandoning her child have never left her. I'm now keen to learn more about her and some of the other characters like Chrissy, her assistant; DI Bill Wilson who leads the investigation; and Sean, the man she loves, in the following books.
All in all, I thought for a debut, this book was very good, however the ending felt a bit rushed and certain questions remained unanswered, or not clearly answered. Having said that, I really enjoyed it and will certainly be reading more books by this brilliant author.
Lin Anderson is best known as the creator of the forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod series of crime thriller novels, and for her part in founding the annual 'Bloody Scotland' crime writing festival.
There are 13 novels and one novella in Lin Anderson's Forensic Scientist Rhona MacLeod Series:-
Novella - Blood Red Roses (prequel to Driftnet)
Book 1 - Driftnet
Book 2 - Torch
Book 3 - Deadly Code
Book 4 - Dark Flight
Book 5 - Easy Kill
Book 6 - Final Cut
Book 7 - The Reborn
Book 8 - Picture Her Dead
Book 9 - Paths of the Dead (Shortlisted for Scottish Crime Book of 2015)
Book 10 - The Special Dead (Longlisted for Scottish Crime Book of 2016)
Book 11 - None but the Dead (Longlisted for Scottish Crime Book of 2017)
Book 12 - Follow the Dead
Book 13 - Sins of the Dead
Lin has a second mystery thriller series featuring private investigator Patrick de Courvoisier, set in glamorous Cannes (think 'The Rockford Files' meets James Bond):-
Book 1 - The Case of the Black Pearl
Book 2 - The Case of the Missing Madonna