I recently read Neil Broadfoot’s The Storm. It’s the second book about crime reporter Doug McGregor (following Falling Fast) as he’s thrown into another whirlwind of a case. From the minute a bullet rips open the chest of Doug McGregor’s editor right in front of him, I was hooked. Broadfoot expertly weaves together a mystery that takes the reader from the gritty underside of Edinburgh all the way to Skye. What I loved in particular was the ensemble of characters who populate Doug’s life; some are endearing (such as Doug’s friend D.C. Susie Drummond, a clever and intuitive detective investigating the case), others are tragic or simply terrifying.
One of the unique elements in The Storm is the realistic role trauma plays in crime, for both the witnesses and those directly involved. Even though Doug and Susie are both seasoned crime investigators, the brutality of murder is still able to torment them as they are forced to deal with the trauma of witnessing crime, either at the moment or later on the morgue table. Broadfoot’s careful handling of how trauma manifests itself makes the reader much more sympathetic to both the protagonists and criminals themselves as we learn more about their own histories and motives – nothing is black and white.
After reading The Storm, I went back and read Falling Fast, which is equally compelling… and horrifying. The books do not need to be read in order, but Doug’s complicated relationship with Susie does evolve from the first book to the second and I am very excited to see how it will play out in the third. Whether you’re a crime aficionado or not, I would highly recommend Broadfoot’s The Storm for a thrilling, fast-paced, ride through an intriguing mystery set in urban Scotland. Readers beware though, this book is not for the faint of heart… or those who are squeamish!