cover image Tooth for a Tooth

Tooth for a Tooth

T. Frank Muir. Soho Crime, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-61695-318-8

The plot of Muir's third mystery featuring Scottish Det Chief Insp. Andy Gilchrist (after 2012's Hand for a Hand) feels more contrived than the previous books. Right after Andy's ex-wife passes away, he is saved from awkward contact with the man she left him for by a professional call reporting that a woman's skeleton was found concealed in another's grave, with its skull was bashed in. As Andy begins to tackle this cold case, he is approached by the notorious American psychic Gina Belli who wants exclusive access to his life story for her next book. Belli tantalizes Andy with hints that her powers have yielded information about the death 35 years earlier of his older brother Jack in a hit-and-run accident. The storyline takes another improbable turn when his brother's initials are found on a cigarette lighter discovered near the skeleton, raising the disturbing prospect that Jack was her killer. The combination of this discovery along the entry of Belli and her supposed paranormal gifts into Andy's life will likely suspend disbelief too far for many readers, especially among lackluster writing and a poorly paced plot. (Nov. 2013)