Keep the Midnight Out by Alex Gray

Few Scottish authors have matched the quality and quantity of novels produced by Alex Gray over the years. I have read many of the books in her DCI Lorimer series, but rarely in order. This rarely matters because most of her novels work well as stand alones. Keep the Midnight Out is no exception.

Keep the Midnight Out is the twelfth novel in Gray’s long running DCI Lorimer series and it is, unsurprisingly, beautifully written. The book starts with an exciting and gruesome scene when poachers gather more than they expect when the body of a red-headed young man is caught in their nets.

Lorimer and his wife are on vacation on the Isle of Mull. Therefore the readers get a taste of a different part of Scotland. And since Lorimer is on vacation, someone else is in charge of the investigation. DI Stevie Crozier is a woman with a chip on her shoulder.

Gray has the ability to weave much about Lorimer and his wife, Maggie, into the ongoing police investigation. That results in a good balance of character development and plot progression. Gray also includes a good amount of description, characteristic of Scottish crime thrillers.

The mystery is a good one too, dealing with sexual preferences and how parents deal with something they don’t understand. There are several red herrings that make trying to figure out the villain a good challenge.

The only point I found difficulty with are flashbacks to a twenty year old case, an early one of Lorimer’s and how the author explains that this may have relevance to the current case. The flash backs are well done and includes how Lorimer and Rosie Fergusson came to know each other but some of the co-incidences, for me, were a bit of a stretch. However, on the plus side the reader gets to know Lorimer and his wife better in Keep the Midnight Out.

I recommend this book to thriller and mystery readers who enjoy a well crafted novel with a good balance of description, character development, and plot progression. It would make a good read for a book club. My reservations are far outweighed by the quality of Gray’s story telling.

The Author

Alex Gray is a Scottish crime writer who was born and educated in Glasgow. She worked as a folk singer, a visiting officer in the DSS and an English teacher. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.

Val Penny

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