It's been twenty years since Police Detective Alan McAlpine has set foot in Patrickhill Station-and more than twenty years since he fell forever in love with the mute, faceless woman he called Anna as she lay dying in Glasgow's Western Infirmary. Daily, he'd watched over her, and they had begun to communicate with each other, she by moving her wounded fingers. Her fingers could not tell the sad, unseasoned police cadet her name, however, or name for him the father of her newborn baby girl or identify the assailants who had flung the acid in her once incomparably beautiful face. Or tell him how she'd smuggled a cache of uncut diamonds into Scotland.
Now McAlpine is back in Patrickhill, where he's been summoned to head up the investigation of a disturbing murder case. Two women-their arms outstretched, their legs together and feet crossed at the ankle-have already died at the hands of a man the press has tagged the Crucifixion Killer. More gruesomely, the third victim will also have been violently disfigured when her body turns up in Whistler's Lane, coincidentally (perhaps) the scene of an equally brutal murder four years earlier.
The face of another woman, though-a strikingly beautiful young woman, blonde-has taken hold of McAlpine's consciousness, and soon the consequences of a case cold for two decades are commanding-and dangerously thwarting-the course of his team's current, already desperate investigation.
As crimes in the present intersect with iniquities committed in the past, the mystery in this steely, piercing, psychological thriller is as gripping as its twists are surprising. And absolution proves to be extreme.
Caro Ramsay was born and educated in Glasgow. She has been writing stories since she was five years old, developing a keen interest in crime fiction and a passion for the genre that lead her to write Absolution, her first novel.
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Caro Ramsay was born and educated in Glasgow. She has been writing stories since she was five years old, developing a keen interest in crime fiction and a passion for the genre that led her to write Absolution, her first novel.From Publishers Weekly:
Scottish author Ramsay's atmospheric and melancholic novel is a solid but unremarkable debut. Deeply flawed Glaswegian police constable Alan McAlpine is obsessed with an unsolved case more than two decades old, involving an acid attack on a young pregnant woman who committed suicide shortly after giving birth. As McAlpine investigates a bizarre series of Crucifixion murders, in which all the victims have been disemboweled and laid out with arms spread and feet crossed at the ankle, he begins to suspect that this killer is somehow tied to the mystery of his blonde angel. The pacing is sluggish, but Ramsay manages to paint a vivid picture of rain-lashed Glasgow. The stark late autumn landscape is a fitting backdrop to the brutal murders as well as McAlpine's dark epiphanies. Ramsay has tremendous potential, but there needs to be more to McAlpine than formulaic angst if he's to succeed as a series protagonist. (Nov.)
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