Many thanks to the author who kindly supplied a copy for review.
One of the characteristics of working in the 21st century appears to be that, despite all the technology that is supposed to help us work smarter, workloads are increasing. If you are in law enforcement, it doesn't help if the crime rate appears to be spiralling out of control either. As in many other professions early retirement by burnt out workers is reducing the number available to do the work.
That's the situation that Detective Superintendent Colm McEvoy finds himself in. McEvoy works for Ireland's National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the branch of the Gardai that investigates the country's most serious crimes. He's looking at the body of a young man, discovered on the banks of the River Boyne, when his boss contacts him about a suspicious death. An old man, 91, has been discovered dead in his bed. The local doctor says natural causes, but an observant policeman has his doubts.
It's not just the detectives who are stretched either - so are the technical crime scene people, and the pathologist, who are too often required in a number of places at once.
THE WHITE GALLOWS is not just a police procedural. Kitchin manages to build into it a number of elements - a story about German immigration to Ireland after World War II, another about modern gangs who are determined to see that the forensic evidence against them never makes it to court even if it means murder, and Colm McEvoy's own struggle to be a single father after the death of his wife from cancer only a year before.
I like McEvoy. He's a workaholic, but in his situation he needs to be - it is the only way he can cope. He often rubs people up the wrong way, and he's a bit worried that one of his female officers has designs on him. So there is a very satisfying "human element" to this novel, in addition to the mystery element.
The style of THE WHITE GALLOWS reminds me a lot of Susan Hill, Pauline Rowson, and Charles Todd. If you like any of them, then I think you'll like this.
THE WHITE GALLOWS is #2 in Kitchin's series, and I can see I really must get my hands on the first THE RULE BOOK. The references in THE WHITE GALLOWS to the case that is central in THE RULE BOOK are intriguing.
My rating: 4.6
Other reviews of THE WHITE GALLOWS can be found at Reactions to Reading, Crime Scraps, International Noir Fiction, Mack Captures Crime, just to name a few.
Rob Kitchin has 2 copies to give away of THE WHITE GALLOWS, and if you read this before July 1, you might just be in time to enter. Rob blogs at The View from the Blue House.
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