Title: Red Light
Author: Graham Masterton
Rating: 3 out of 5
In a grimy flat in the city of Cork, a burly man lies dead on a bloodstained mattress. His face is unrecognisable: seven gunshots have shattered cartilage and bone. Yet DS Katie Maguire, of the Irish Garda, knows exactly who he is. Amir Xaaji Maxamed, a Somali pimp she has unsuccessfully been trying to convict for years.
Katie knows it’s her job to catch the killer. But Maxamed was an evil man who trafficked young girls into Ireland to be sold for sex, and now that he’s dead, the city is a safer place. When a second pimp is killed, Katie must decide. Are these vigilante murders justified? And how can she stop them spiraling out of control?
This is the third Graham Masterton novel featuring Katie Maguire and, just like the others, it’s pretty gruesome. I’d expected that as I’ve read the other two books so I’m not complaining, although it isn’t the type of book I read that much anymore – I had my fill really a few years ago and have moved away from too much blood and guts. I had enjoyed the other two books, though, and found Katie interesting – a strong woman in a still pretty misogynistic world of the Irish Garda – so wanted to find out what happened to her next.
Unfortunately, she hadn’t moved on much from the previous novel. There were still relationship issues and she still seemed to drink too much and sleep too little. I had hoped some things would change but it wasn’t to be. That said, the book is well written and moves at a good pace. It’s actually not quite as gruesome as the previous two books and that is a good thing, I think, as it means Masterton has to focus on the plot more. And it’s a good plot, with some nice twists and turns. The ending, however, lets it down somewhat as it’s another story where the bad guy is as good as invincible. It’s one of my pet peeves and it meant I spent the last third of the book frustrated. Seriously, how many times can someone convince a policewoman not to shoot them?
All in all, then, a good read if not brilliant. One for the plane, train or beach I think.