A disturbing hanging with a backstory of secrets and
shaming highlights outdated attitudes within Aberdeen’s
After past skirmishes with the police, PI Maggie Laird
is determined to steer clear, but her partner Wilma
Harcus goes rogue, with leads up her sleeve and grandiose
ideas to expand their PI agency into the romance
fraud and cybercrime. Then troubled schoolchild Frankie
Bain goes missing.
As the clock runs down, the two investigations collide. Was
the hanging the last, desperate act of a tortured mind or a
calculated murder? And will Frankie Bain be found alive?
In this fifth Harcus and Laird novel, Claire MacLeary
fashions a fast-paced, fresh and topical new adventure for
her inimitable PI partnership.
About the Author
Claire MacLeary has called Aberdeen, Fife and Glasgow
home, but now lives in Edinburgh. Following a career in
business, she gained an MLitt with Distinction from the
University of Dundee. Payback is her fourth novel and
continues the Harcus & Laird series, which has garnered
Firstly, thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for organising the blog tour and sending me a copy of the book with a request for an honest review.
Death Drop intrigued me as I haven’t read many crime novels with PIs, and I know that Scotland does produce some fantastic crime writers!
The story is told through multiple POVs and it took me until over a third of my way in to the book to figure out who is who. I’m wondering if that was down to the fact this book is part of a series and, although the plot of the book stands alone, I do think crime series are best read in order so you get the full breadth and depth of each character. I was seduced by the quote on the front cover about how “These are two of Scottish fiction’s most engaging characters” in reference to Maggie Laird and Wilma Harcus but with the cacophony of other characters, I just couldn’t get my head around them and what they actually brought to the story. They felt more like secondary characters than stars of the show as they didn’t play any major part whatsoever in solving the main two crimes (unless I completely missed something).
The two main crimes of the novel – the hanging and the disappearance, did intrigue me and I was keen to find out what happened which is what led me to finish the book rather than DNF. However, unfortunately the resolutions did fall flat for me. I was expecting the two to be intertwined in some way from the blurb, yet they were separate instances which were investigated by similar police officers, with Maggie and Wilma sticking their nose in every now and again.
I did find the writing style really engaging but the plot let this book down. I felt like it was trying to do too much which is a shame because the premise has so much potential! The book features really short chapters and it did read like a TV series to me and it was east to visualise the characters.
If you like character driven crime, this may be a novel for you to check it. It just wasn’t for me this time! Lots of people on the tour have enjoyed the book so I’d definitely stop by their blogs or bookstagrams and have a gander.