A decomposed body washes up on a beach near Glasgow. The victim, Tracy Eadie.
Junkie. Prostitute. Fourteen years old.
The Dead Won’t Sleep by Anna Smith, is the first of a series published in 2001 by Quercus Books. It introduces Rosie Gilmour, a tabloid journalist working for a fictional Scottish newspaper. As the back matter suggests, a young girl is found dead on a beach near Glasgow. The basic premise of the book is who is she, and how did she die?
What follows is a complicated trawl through Glasgow’s underbelly as Rosie tries to uncover the dead prostitute’s background. As Rosie progresses through her investigation, she uncovers a well-connected network of corruption and abuse. Her challenge is to navigate her way through the network and expose those at the top of it, while at the same time staying safe.
Smith does well describing the rotten underbelly of Glasgow and the characters which inhabit it – it’s all well drawn and richly described. There’s a fair few characters in the book, but they’re all pertinent to the story and not overdone. The plot is a fairly familiar one, with an underlying anti-establishment theme, but it’s well constructed. My only minor gripe is the use of vernacular Scottish at times – it just doesn’t do it for me, but this is a very minor criticism.
Anna Smith has, to an extent, based the character Rosie Gilmour on her own experiences – they’re both reporters, they’ve both worked in war zones – so she’s well qualified in that respect, and this does come through in her writing.
Would I recommend this book? Yep, definitely. It’s a good read all round. A solid 4 stars.