After attending Lin Anderson’s book launch of The Reborn, I was excited to read her seventh crime novel featuring Rhona MacLeod, a forensic scientist based in Glasgow. Anderson promised a fast-paced story full of elaborate forensic detail and certainly did not fail to deliver a cracking read. The Reborn will have you on the edge of your seat.
When a pregnant girl is found murdered with her unborn baby removed, Rhona MacLeod is on the case to find her killer. Meanwhile, a psychopath baby killer in jail attempts to redeem himself by making lifelike dolls called ‘reborns’. In addition to working on the murder case, Rhona tries to come to terms with the loss of her close friend DS Michael McNab, who was murdered in the previous MacLeod novel Final Cut.
Anderson’s commitment to realism is evident: she has done extensive research for her novels and describes forensic methods and post mortem examinations in immaculate detail. Anderson illustrates the importance of computer technology as a useful tool to track and subsequently present forensic evidence to the various police departments. Anderson’s background research and eye for detail is paramount to her original and individual writing style.
Characterization in The Reborn is overall satisfactory. Rhona is a strong and sensitive lead and new characters like David develop at a realistic pace. However, Dr Magnus Pirie’s hypersensitivity to smells won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. His enhanced sense of smell is used as a tool to set his character, but I found it excessive and alienating.
As with any crime series The Reborn harbours several loose ends, with enough scope and material for another murder mystery. Some questions remain unanswered: who did David really lust after at the party? What happened to Rhona’s temporary boyfriend? DS McNab’s death offers an exciting twist and will appeal to many readers, who won’t have to wait long for the next installment. Anderson’s eighth novel, Picture Her Dead, came out earlier this month and promises another macabre but fascinating murder investigation.