Author – Craig Robertson
Published – 2011
Genre – Crime fiction
A series of high-profile shootings by a lone sniper leaves Glasgow terrorised and police photographer Tony Winter – a man with a tragic hidden past – mystified. Who is behind the executions of some of the most notorious drug lords in the city? As more shootings occur – including those of police officers – the authorities realise they have a vigilante on their hands. Meanwhile, Tony investigates a link between the victims and a schoolboy who has been badly beaten. Seemingly unconnected, they share a strange link. As Tony delves deeper, his quest for the truth and his search for the killer lead him down dark and dangerous paths.
Snapshot is the second crime thriller by Scottish author Craig Robertson whose debut novel, Random, was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award in 2010.
Unusually the main character, Tony Winter, is a police photographer. Involved in the detail of the crime scenes he’s sidelined by the investigators and excluded from the investigations. Tony is a dark character with a troubled past. Photographing the aftermath of crime isn’t just a job to him, it’s more of an obsession.
A serial killer is on the loose in Glasgow and he appears to be on the side of the police, killing some of the city’s most notorious criminals. Initially not assigned to the investigation because of some “unusual” behaviour, Winter pleads with DI Addison, his closest friend on the force, to be given access to the case. When his wish is granted Winter gets more than he bargained for as the killer increases the death toll.
Spotting what may be a vital clue in his photographs which could link a number of crimes Winter is reluctant to share his news with the police. When he feels Addison has snubbed him, he decides to keep the information to himself. Then the killer seems to be getting close to Winter and those he cares about so he uses the information he has withheld to start to investigate the crimes himself.
There is a second mystery running in parallel to the serial killer, as Winter’s policewoman girlfriend investigates the death of a prostitute, an opportunity to see yet more of the seedier side of Glasgow. Although not the main case, this is as intriguing and surprising as the main story.
Both the plots have numerous twists and turns and keep you guessing right to the end. Set in a seedy and dark Glasgow this is a gritty thriller, and not for the feint hearted. The language is pretty strong throughout and descriptions are gruesome.
Although this book features the same characters as the first novel, you can read Snapshot without feeling that you’ve missed anything crucial.
Score – 4/5