** 3.5 Rounded Up **
This was my first book by a new-to-me author. It is a very diverting mystery, but, in my view, it isn’t a cozy mystery which is more what I was looking for – it is darker and grittier. Be aware that the book is written in third person/present tense – and it took me a while to become accustomed – however, once I did it wasn’t a problem. I do understand that all of the other books in the series are written in third person/past tense – which is more what most of us are accustomed to.
Vivian (Viv) Fraser is a hairdresser/journalist/Dr. of Anthropology and she’s extremely sensitive when anyone refers to her as ‘just’ a hairdresser. She very quickly takes offense. She’s alone and finally beginning to come to grips with the death of her lover, Dawn. She’s finally begun to feel pangs of attraction again, but I can’t decide whether she’s more attracted to Sal Chapman (she’s a profiler at the police headquarters) or DI Marcus (Mac) Marconi (he’s the inspector investigating the case). At any rate, I had a hard time warming up to Viv – she was a little too ‘in your face’ and didn’t appear to be a very caring type of person. Perhaps I’ll find her to be different in the next book I read, but, in this one, I didn’t particularly care for her.
Juliet (Jules) Muir, editor at a national newspaper, and an old friend of Viv’s calls to ask Viv to take on a writing/investigative assignment. The task is to investigate the circumstances around a missing young man, Andrew Douglas, to find him if possible and to write an article for the newspaper. Jules asked Viv to take the assignment because she was familiar with the after-hours gay scene in Edinburgh and would be able to move freely in that environment.
As Viv investigates, she finds herself investigating more than just a missing young man. There are drug dens, murders, sex trafficking – pretty much everything on the darker side of life. People are not who they seem to be and it reaches right up into the affluent sections of society. There were many villains involved with many different parts of the crime and I didn’t feel ‘finished’ with a couple of them. The murderer came out of left field – you definitely won’t guess who it is because you don’t really meet them until they are revealed.
The bottom line for me is that it is a good mystery, well written, well-plotted, but it wasn’t my normal cup-of-tea. I will try another book or two in the series to see how things progress and whether I can come to like Viv.