REVIEW: The Suffering of Strangers by Caro Ramsay (Anderson & Costello #9)

Series: Anderson & Costello

Book Number: 9

Read this book for: police procedural, Scottish mystery, female detective, this time its personal, multiple investigations, child abduction, kidnapping thriller

Quick Review: A twisting kaleidoscope of related investigations; a must-read for fans of the series!

***

DI Costello faces a disturbing child abduction case; a six-week-old has been stolen and replaced with another baby. The swap took cold and meticulous planning, so Costello treads the seedy, Glaswegian backstreets for answers. She’s convinced that more than one young life is at stake.

Promoted into the Cold Case Unit, Colin Anderson reviews the unsolved rape of a young mother, whose attacker is still out there. Each case pulls Anderson and Costello in the same direction and, as their paths keep crossing, they begin to suspect their separate cases are dangerously entwined.

THE SUFFERING OF STRANGERS is the newest booking in the Anderson and Costello series written by Caro Ramsay. It is a procedural that borders on thriller, with an extremely satisfyingly complex plot.

This is the ninth instalment in this series that centres on Glasgow, and I have not read any of the prior novels. Unfortunately, that meant I missed a lot of what was going on between the characters, and therefore missed a big part of what would make this novel important to fans of the series, as it feels like the characters and what happens to them are central to the series. I would highly recommend reading the rest of the series before picking this one up — you’ll appreciate it so much more!

There’s still plenty to appreciate if you are unfamiliar with the series, though — especially the intricate plot! With half a dozen or more intersecting storylines happening at any one point, this novel is absolutely tantalizing with its story. As a reader, you know that they have to be related in some way, but every combination and intersection you think that is the correct answer turns out to be wrong. This is definitely one of those plots that will keep you turning pages, desperate to know how it all turns out.

Even without knowing the characters as well as fans who have read the series, the characters are also engaging and add to the page-turning nature of this book. They are an interesting and varied cast, and convincingly written — you come to care about them over the course of the novel, partly for who they are and partly for the situations that they are placed in.

There is a sense of grim reality about this procedural, really capturing the depressing fact of the lack of resources available to police, but especially to social workers who are working to prevent crime in the first place, and that makes all the other elements of the novel seem more believable.

THE SUFFERING OF STRANGERS is a thriller that you will not be able to put down, particularly if you have already read some of the other novels in the series!

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