Lin Anderson - The Reborn
A baby sliced from the womb in a fairground hall of mirrors; Jeff Coulter, a charming psychopath luring girls into a pact of sex and murder while he creates baby dolls from his prison cell for bereaved parents; dark, disturbing rituals; the Russian mafia; an enigmatic, driven and irresistible investigative journalist; lost love and longing. This is the life of forensic scientist Rhona MacLeod as she attempts to decipher the ‘daisy chain’ code that appears to link the murders with only the minutest clues. All she has to do is catch the killer and find the man she once loved and believed to be dead.
Set in Glasgow, The Reborn is a chilling, absorbing chase through contrasting worlds: a middle-class pretence of respectability, the darkness and cruelty of mafia dealings, police cover-ups and gory murders. Lin Anderson has clearly done immense research into forensic science and while such dedication is refreshing and all too rare, the information gathered is used too heavily in the novel. Instead of maintaining focus on her characters she has a tendency to insert unnecessary, lengthy clinical explanations, which often detract from the intensity.
Using a mentally-ill man as the masterminding villain is unoriginal and unlikely to improve the public perception of or sympathy towards mental illness. A psychologist visiting Coulter in prison fleetingly remarks on unfortunate public misconceptions, but thereafter he is dismissed as a sadistic lunatic. More intriguing would have been to drop Coulter and create greater mystery around the girls, making them responsible for the tangle of events.