Now that you're gone - Julie Corbin
What the publisher says .....
When the body of Isla’s brother, an ex-Marine and private investigator, is pulled from the River Clyde, she is convinced he was murdered. When the coroner declares Dougie’s died of accidental drowning and rules out foul play, the police are happy to close the case. But Isla has other ideas.
Determined to find out what really happened the night Dougie died, and why he was even in Glasgow, she starts looking into his unsolved cases. What she finds will put her in grave danger and force her to question everything she thought she knew about those closest to her . . .
Try and imagine you're a twin (I'm an only child so it's not easy) If you had a twin brother, whom you adored, who supported you through lifes ups and downs, who had always been there for you, since before either of you saw the light of day and if that brother died suddenly and prematurely, you'd feel that loss very keenly wouldn't you? Then, if even the tiniest of doubts arose in your mind regarding the way he died, you'd put everything aside to find out exactly how and why he was torn from your life so cruelly.
Well, that's what Isla McTeer does. This is very much a character driven novel with a strong and exciting mystery running through it and I so related to Isla, she's a single parent of two great kids, she works hard and has a rather fractured family who nevertheless provide a secure framework for her life.
When her twin brother Dougie a private investigator is pulled from the river Clyde (yes it's set in Scotland - didn't you guess from the names?) she is devastated and angry, he was an ex-marine for goodness sake how could he be so foolish as to get drunk and fall into the river after a night boozing in Glasgow and drown?
After the funeral a her grief subsides into dull dismay she re-examines the facts about his death (something she has learnt to do very thoroughly in her job as an insurance investigator) and she decides it can't have been an accident, and when she enlists the help of her ex-husband, a police officer, despite his insistence that her fears are ungrounded, more doubts begin to arise and she begins her own amateur investigation and becomes far more involved than she bargains for. Her search for answers takes her to the seedy world of homeless youngsters Dougie was searching to try and find a missing teenager, she comes face to face with thugs and villains, drug addicts and violent debt collectors and still the answers she is seeking remain elusive.
When I read back what I've just written it makes this sound like some kind of amateur sleuth/ detective drama and it really isn't - I dislike that kind of book. This is a tense well peopled family drama with elements of psychological suspense and thrills, peopled with many well created characters, which will have you feeling as though you know them, they're the family next door, but can anyone really know their own family as well as they think?
Islas on the verge of a new relationship and her boyfriend Ritchie is the only person who seems to support her wholeheartedly at first, her younger sister Marie, living overseas nevertheless still manages to rub her up the wrong way. She finds an unlikely ally in the reckless Tania, Dougies ex wife, who wants to avenge his death.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and have an inkling we may meet Isla and her family again in some future novel (surely the author can't create such detailed and believable characters and not use them again?)
The ending was pretty unexpected and some readers may feel it leaves several issues unresolved but for me it was just right and believable - in real life not every single thread IS firmly tied in a undoable knot.
My thanks to Netgalley, Julie Corbin and Hodder and Stoughton for the advance galley copy which I enjoyed immensely.