Book review: Walk in Silence by J.G. Sinclair

Ruthless gangsters, heart-stopping danger and a kick-ass Glasgow lawyer who killed a man when she was only eight years old'¦
Walk in Silence by J.G. SinclairWalk in Silence by J.G. Sinclair
Walk in Silence by J.G. Sinclair

Actor turned thriller writer John Gordon Sinclair – still remembered as the star of the acclaimed 1981 football-themed film Gregory’s Girl – is on scintillating form as his memorably lethal legal eagle Keira Lynch dices with death in the heart of Albania’s brutal underworld.

Over thirty years as a screen and stage actor have blessed this clever, observant writer with a gift for high-octane, visually exciting drama and crisp dialogue… and Walk in Silence harnesses those skills with breathtaking power and bone-rattling energy.

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Keira Lynch isn’t your typical Glasgow lawyer. She has a reputation as a scrapper and troublemaker, is haunted by demons in her past, is a deadly accurate knife thrower and is at her most dangerous when she is threatened.

Keira is recovering both physically and emotionally after getting caught in the crossfire from her last case which saw her fail to save the life of her client, 20-year-old Albanian prostitute Kaltrina Dervishi, who had agreed to give evidence against a feared drug dealer, trafficker and pimp, but was shot dead by his hired hitman.

Determined to track down Kaltrina’s five-year-old son Ermir in her home country to give him the money his mother left for him and ‘somehow make his life better,’ Keira has jetted out to Durrës in Albania to begin her search.

Informed by one of the hotel staff she has befriended that ‘one of our main industries is corruption,’ Keira joins forces with his son, local policeman Pavli Variboba, but is soon in danger and under the close eye of the notorious Clan.

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Keira had naïvely thought money would help her find the boy but in a terrifying mafia gangland where anything can be bartered – trust, loyalty and even lives – his kidnappers have other ideas. They want the freedom of their gang member back in Scotland, the man she is about to help to bring to trial and who once put three bullets in her chest.

Can she walk away in silence, and save Ermir? Or will she have to play the game, fight and risk losing everything?

An overwhelming sense of menace, spine-tingling tension and a plot that moves as fast and unexpectedly as a rattlesnake make the two-year gap since Keira’s last appearance in Blood Whispers well worth the wait for her impatient fans.

There is a thrilling, raw intensity to Sinclair’s taut prose which drives this hard-hitting, edge-of-the-seat rollercoaster ride through death and danger as our fearless, doggedly determined Keira runs the gauntlet of a brand of gang violence that would send the rest of us running for home.

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With its dark themes, frenetic pace, intriguing star player, remarkable evocation of lawless Albania, and gobsmacking twist in the tail, this exhilarating slice of Tartan Noir confirms Sinclair as a fully paid-up member of the Scottish thriller writers’ five-star club.

(Faber, paperback, £12.99)

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