The Blood Is Still

Arcade CrimeWise. (Rebecca Connolly, Bk. 2). Jan. 2021. 336p. ISBN 9781951627317. $25.99. M
Of course, a body in full Highland dress, left on Culloden battlefield with a claymore through his chest, draws the attention of the media. Rebecca Connolly, an investigative reporter for the Chronicle in Inverness, Scotland, covers that story, asking questions of a historian who refuses to talk to the police. She’s also covering a protest in the Ferrys, led by Mo Burke, a reputed drug dealer, and her two sons, Nolan and Scott. Why would Mo call attention to her criminal family by heading up a demonstration against a pedophile moving into the complex? Mo loses the crowd’s attention when Finbar Dalgliesh, a lawyer running for office, shows up. The ultra-right-wing politician heads up the Spioraid group but refuses to condemn New Dawn, a possible terrorist arm of his movement. A second body, again in costume, might link the two stories, but Rebecca’s new corporate bosses only want content, not true investigative reporting. Unusual murders, a crime family, right-wing politics, and violence highlight this intricately plotted thriller.
VERDICT The issue-oriented second novel featuring Rebecca Connolly, after Thunder Bay, delves into pedophilia, drug dealing, and newspapers’ struggles to stay relevant. Despite the themes and violence, the writing is lyrical and thoughtful.
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