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Absolution: A Novel of Suspense [Hardcover]

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Item description for Absolution: A Novel of Suspense by Caro Ramsay...

Police detective Alan McAlpine is haunted by a decades-old case as he returns to Glasgow's Patrickhill Station after a long absence to investigate a serial killer who positions his victims' bodies as if they have been crucified.

Publishers Description
It's twenty years since police detective Man McAlpine has set foot in Patrickhill Station - and more than twenty years since he fell forever in love with the mute, faceless woman he called Anna as she lay dying in Glasgow's Western Infirmary. Daily he'd watched over her, and they had begun to communicate with each other, she by moving her wounded fingers. Her fingers could not tell the sad, unseasoned police cadet her name, however, or name for him the father of her newborn baby girl or identity the assailants who had flung the acid in her once incomparably beautiful face. Or tell him how she'd smuggled a cache of uncut diamonds into Scotland.
Now McAlpine is back in Patrickhill, where he's been summoned to head up the investigation of a disturbing murder case. Two women - their arms outstretched, their legs together and feet crossed at the ankle - have already died at the hands of a man the press has tagged the Crucifixion killer. More gruesomely, the third victim is also violently disfigured when her body is discovered up in Whistler's Lane, coincidentally (perhaps) the scene of an equally brutal murder four years earlier.
The face of another woman, though - a strikingly beautiful young woman, blond - has taken hold of Detective McAlpine's consciousness, and soon the consequences of a case cold for two decades are commanding - and dangerously thwarting - the course of his team's current, already desperate investigation.
With crimes in the present continually detouring both McAlpine and the elusive killer he pursues into an unredeemed past, the mystery in this steely piercing psychological thriller is as gripping as its twists are surprising. And absolution proves to be extreme.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   401
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9.5"
Weight:   1.5 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Nov 6, 2007
Publisher   Pegasus Books
ISBN  1933648414  
ISBN13  9781933648415  

Availability  0 units.

More About Caro Ramsay

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! CARO RAMSAY was born and educated in Glasgow, Scotland. She has always harboured a keen interest in crime fiction and has been writing since she was very young. She is an osteopath and acupuncturist who runs an alternative therapy clinic on the west coast of Scotland. She is currently at work on the second novel in this series.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Psychological & Suspense
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Thrillers > Suspense

Reviews - What do customers think about Absolution: A Novel of Suspense?

unremarkable indeed  May 2, 2008
Somewhere in Mark Twain's short stories, there is a character with a horsewhip. This character should be resurrected and introduced to Ms. Ramsay's editor. This is a story badly in need of a rewrite. The Publisher's Weekly review hits the nail on the head in calling it "unremarkable". And when it refers to the McAlpine character as a series protagonist, it also tips its hand - the reviewer gave up on the book and did not read it to its conclusion. So will many readers, I think.

The book fails on a number of fronts. Clearly intended to piggy-back on the success of Ian Rankin's Rebus novels which are set in Edinburgh, Ms. Ramsay does not get past the mimicry in style and into a territory of her own. She flounders. In the first half of the book she creates some interesting plot lines and does a creditable job in developing several interesting characters. But she is unable to carry this forward. The second half of the novel stumbles badly, she wrecks most of her characters and takes the book to a poor and mostly unbelievable ending.

Although the book runs to 400 pages, the story ends incomplete and unsatisfying. The first half of the book promises more than the author can deliver. The pains taken in developing the start of the tale are wasted in her rush to cram in everything else she has planned for the story. Her editor should have let her run the tale to six or seven hundred pages like an Elizabeth George novel, or he should have insisted on better discipline in tightening the story and its direction.

Finally, while the novel (and some of its reviewers) claim that it offers the color and flavor of Glasgow, I found this lacking. The story really could have been anywhere. Rain and street names do not make a city.

All in all, the failures of this novel do not bode well for Ms. Ramsay's future efforts. The story falls apart badly , and her editor has failed to get her to come to grips with the basic issues of pacing and development.

Let me also vent a personal gripe here. At one point, Ms. Ramsay has a character recovering from a car accident; he is mobile but bruised. She describes him by stating that "healthier people had walked out of Belsen". Like her prince cavorting in a Nazi uniform, I found this to be in the poorest taste, showing the both a lack of knowledge and good judgment. She, her editor, and her reader friends should all be ashamed. There is film footage of concentration camp survivors. They should bother to watch it.
"We all have choices, Costello"  Feb 2, 2008
Beautifully capturing the windy, chilly streets of Glasgow, this dark and gritty crime drama centers on two crimes committed over twenty years apart, with Detective Chief Investigator Alan McAlpine somehow holding the key to a series of brutal murders involving three young women who have been horribly disemboweled and then left for dead.

Back in 1984 McAlpine is just a rookie cop, a naïve twenty-year old when he is called upon to investigate the identity of a pregnant girl who goes by the name of Anna, and who now lies in a hospital bed, all bandaged up, a victim of a terrible, acid attack, her face neck hands and stomach, brutally scared with the acid burning deep.

Alan hadn't expected Anna to be so young and so fragile, and he's surprised that no one is asking about her and that there are no visitors. On his first night on duty by her bedside, he sits among the detritus of the evidence and discovers in her little black handbag, wrapped in a web of sellotape, a ring, plain silver with a single diamond, a lover's ring. Who could have given her this ring? Was perhaps her husband or her fiancé involved in the attack?

Soon after her daughter is born, Anna abruptly suicides, her injuries and scars just too much for her to bear. Alan is grief stricken, and now with his brother Robbie also gone, he falls into an inconsolable maelstrom of sorrow and heartache. There was something about Anna that entranced him even as the individual and the circumstances behind the attack on her remains a mystery that is never solved.

But it is these memories that stretch and yawn, uncoiling from sleep that come back to haunt McAlpine when in 2006 he returns to his old stamping ground to investigate the brutal slaying of Elizabeth Jane Fulton Lynzi Traill, both found murdered, ripped open and left to bleed to death, with no forensic evidence found at either site, only the blistering of chloroform remaining round the mouth and nose.

Together with his colleagues Detective Sergeants Anderson and Costello, McAlpine is sure that he can crack the case, after all, Costello brings many unique talents to the investigation, especially her female intuition, and Anderson is certain to provide a fresh and younger eye, someone who can rise to the occasion and perhaps even keep the errant McAlpine focused.

The young and handsome and recently paroled Sean McTiernan is an obvious suspect, but his current whereabouts remains unknown. He knew both Elizabeth Jane and Lynzi. Soon enough it is discovered that Elizabeth Jane had let someone into her flat, someone she knew and trusted. Lynzi also left Glasgow Central at night again, with somebody she knew and trusted, but not her husband and not her boyfriend.

When A prostitute known as Arlene, well known in the area is discovered in a back lane with her head smashed in, the police are certain that McTiernan is responsible as he has a history of carrying out this type of violence. Things have certainly turned sadistic, the killer thorough and relentless in his Modus operandi and the media even labeling him the "Crucifixion Killer."

Eventually Costello and Anderson start to piece the case together and realizing that all of the girls, behaved deceptively and dishonestly, each knowing the power of their femininity in some way and each using it to get their own way. Perhaps there is even is religious connection, especially when it is revealed that Elizabeth Jane, Lynzi and even Arlene were frequenting the Phoenix Refuge, a type of half-way house cum church well known in the community for looking after those who were down on their luck.

Certainly the Reverend Leask who works at the Refuge and who lives right across from Lynzi's boyfriend, knows Elizabeth Jane's parents, and even Father O'Keefe the founder of the Church, had a connection to all three of the girls. One thing is certain, McAlpine, Costello and Anderson are sure that this combination of women, anger, power, and hatred is tied to the smell of morality, the perpetrator determined to kill women whom he perceives as "immoral."

Set against the cold constant dark and dirty Glaswegian rain, Absolution is a shadowy and subversive police procedural, with author Caro Ramsay brilliantly juxtaposing Anna's death with McAlpine's ghosts, and the current investigation of the murdered girls. The actions of the three main detectives and their rationales behind the Crucifixion Killer drive much of the plot while also revealing much about inner workings of the Glasgow police network. Mike Leonard February 08.
strong psychological police procedural  Dec 9, 2007
Glasgow Detective Chief Investigator Alan McAlpine returns to his police cadet roots in Patrickhill Station to lead the official inquiry into the murders of two women by the serial killer dubbed Crucifixion Killer by the media. Alan avoided the town for two decades ever since he was assigned to keep safe the dying pregnant woman named Anna whose face was erased by acid and no longer could talk. Anna killed herself shortly after giving birth; no one involved in the heinous crime was ever caught, but Alan never forgot the woman he considered his beloved angel.

Still Alan focuses on the current serial killer homicides in an attempt to prevent more gruesome murders from this vicious predator. However, he begins to link the current investigation to the cold case that haunts him. His subordinates Detective Sergeants Anderson and Costello are confused by Alan's actions and directions as he makes a difficult case that much more convoluted because he sees ABSOLUTION as his objective.

Mindful of Ian Rankin's dark Glasgow thrillers, Caro Ramsay provides a strong psychological police procedural that grips readers once Alan begins connecting the past with the present. Readers along with the two DS will wonder whether Alan has gone over the edge or found a real connection; which premise makes this a deep read. Although the climax takes the audience back inside the sub-genre's norm, fans will appreciate the dark background that mirrors Alan's even darker revelations.

Harriet Klausner

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