THE MAN WITH NO FACE by Peter Turnbull


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Briskly, as usual, Turnbull buckles down to a ninth Glasgow police procedural (The Killing Floor, 1995, etc.), presenting at curtain the unprepossessing corpse of one Ronnie Grenn. Small both in stature and in the scope of his criminal aspirations, Grenn comes as rather a surprise to the people at P Division, where the feeling is inescapable that he wasn’t important enough to kill. Who’d want to go to the trouble? Still, someone did, and Detective Inspector Donoghue and his colleagues are nothing if not professional, which means they do what they always do: investigate meticulously. It’s a process that soon ties petty thief Grenn to some very high-profile stuff indeed. Like, to multimillion-dollar insurance fraud, to a kidnaping that’s never been solved, and to a group of confederates who are ruthless, efficient, and totally atypical of Grenn’s usual partners in crime. As P Division’s cops indefatigably pursue villainous secrets, they reveal bits of their own private lives. Some of these are poignant, some painful, some funny, and none sentimentalized. All that hard slogging has its effect, of course, leading to a resolution generally regarded as successful, though not without bitter overtones. In the aftermath, relationships are changed, old friendships are strained, and it’s probable that life in the division will never again be quite the same. A bit overdetailed and, therefore, occasionally repetitive, but this is honest craftsmanship and, as procedurals go, up there with the front-runners.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1998
ISBN: 0-312-19298-3
Page count: 240pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1998


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