Struggling with his demotion back to DI and his concern for the grieving DS Andrea Fletcher, Jim Carruthers is thrown in at the deep end when the body of an old man is discovered stabbed to death in a nature reserve- a ball of cloth rammed into the back of the victim’s throat. The only suspect is a fifteen-year-old neighbour who is known to the police for antisocial behaviour. But the teenager has an alibi.
When a second elderly man is also found dead at the same locale, with the same MO, Carruthers starts to wonder if they have a serial killer on their hands.
On discovering that the first victim, Ruiridh Fraser, has an estranged son living in Iceland, Carruthers flies out to interview the man, now convinced that the reason behind Fraser’s death lies in his past.
But what does the disappearance of a twelve year old boy forty years before, the brutal murder of a former journalist and a bitter local dispute about a nature reserve, have to do with the investigation?
Can Carruthers and Fletcher solve the case while battling their own demons?
And are they hunting for one killer or more?
Care to Die is the second book in the Carruthers series and I recommend that you read the first one to understand the back stories of Carruthers and Fletcher.
** Potential spoilers if you’ve not read Robbing the Dead **
Care to Die picks up a few months after the investigation into the murder of 2 Welsh RAF airman and the attempted murder of a professor at the local university in Robbing the Dead.
Due to his actions in the last book, driven by personal demons that Jim wasn’t been dealing with, he has been demoted to DI. DS Fletcher is also continuing to deal with personal issues of her own.
In this second instalment, Carruthers, Fletcher and the team are investigating the murders of two elderly gentleman whose bodies are left on the grounds of a nature reserve. Looking into these deaths brings up a number of secrets, both from the victims past as well as some of the people around them.
Some of the scenes in this book are harrowing but sensitively handled by Collins to bring alive the anguish and anger that is still present in some of the characters.
Whilst I enjoyed Robbing the Dead, I preferred this book as I found the general plot easier to follow. Alongside the investigation itself, what I also enjoyed in this book was the way the author shares the dynamics of the team and how they are trying to build working relationships and rapport. The first book focused mostly on Carruthers and Fletcher whereas in this one, Collins gives us an insight into the rest of the team.
I hope there is a third book on its way and I look forward to reading it!
Tana Collins is an Edinburgh based crime writer and author of the best selling Jim Carruthers detective series, set in Fife. Her debut novel, Robbing the Dead, published 14th February 2017 by Bloodhound Books, was described as ‘A police procedural that delights the reader with its strong sense of place. Tartan Noir at its best,’ by crime writer Sarah Ward. It was a top 10 kindle bestseller for Scottish Crime and Thrillers and has already racked up 60 reviews on Amazon.
Care to Die, which is the follow up in the series to Robbing the Dead, is being published on 1st June 2017. Peter Robinson writes of it “A finely plotted mystery. Tana Collins racks up the suspense on this one. DI Jim Carruthers is a cop to watch.”