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Hand for a Hand by T. Frank Muir
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Hand for a Hand (edition 2012)

by T. Frank Muir

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315357,052 (3.36)None
Member:cathyskye
Title:Hand for a Hand
Authors:T. Frank Muir
Info:Soho Crime (2012), Hardcover
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Mystery, ARC

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Hand for a Hand by Frank Muir

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When parts of a body start turning up with macabre messages attached on the St Andrews golf old course detective inspector Andy Gilchrist realises that not only does he recognise the victim but the messages are aimed at him. When Andy's daughter disappears it becomes a race against time to solve the crime and put the pieces of the puzzle together to find her. This is a well written crime novel, well paced and with interesting characters, although is it a rule of crime novels that all DIs must have an alcohol problem and a broken marriage? A quick and easy read - I look forward to the next in the series, especially to see how the character of Gilchrist develops. ( )
  cscott | Mar 9, 2013 |
"Hand for a Hand" is the second book in this series, the next is "Tooth for a Tooth". Once again, the protagonist is Andy Gilchrist, Detective Inspector in the small but famous St. Andrews of British Open fame. This series by the way has nothing to do with golf but the courses at St. Andrews do serve as back drop for the story. The story is all about vengeance and the lengths that people will go to to get even. As opposed to the first book which had an abundance of dead bodies, H4H is rife with clues - anatomical parts, notes, and even poetry - all clues. It is not long before the first clue pops up - any guesses as to what it might be ? Anyway, Andy and partner Nance are off to the races, with frequent stops at nearby pubs. As with the first story, the characters are interesting though a few of the bad guys might be a tad overdone, the tension runs high, there are many detours into Andy's personal life and relationships, including a new one. All together a book I recommend. I will note two minor disappointments however. The clues thing was way too much. (Do bad guys even leave clues on purpose anymore?) And again Andy is trying to save a damsel in distress in the closing pages. Hopefully that will not be a part of the next one. Looking forward to T4T. ( )
  maneekuhi | Jan 1, 2013 |
Hand for a Hand is author T. Frank Muir’s introduction to North American readers. The book is part of a crime series that also introduces Scottish DCI Andy Gilchrist, a seasoned homicide investigator faced with a case that will force him to revisit a personal history he would prefer to forget.

From early in the investigation, two things are clear to Andy Gilchrist. The killer dumping a female body part every twenty-four hours has a thing for the Old Course in St. Andrews – and he is personally challenging Andy to stop him. Andy’s life, whether he knows it or not, begins to unravel on the morning that a woman’s amputated hand is discovered in the Road Hole Bunker approaching the golf course’s seventeenth green. The fingers of that dismembered hand hold a one-word note with a rather obvious message: “Murder.” More chillingly, the note is addressed directly to Andy Gilchrist.

Despite each day’s delivery of a new body part and one-word message, Andy and his team are slow to make much progress toward identifying the killer. Andy, however, knows some things he is reluctant to share with anyone else – the killer has hinted at his next victim, Andy believes he knows exactly who that intended victim is, and the investigation has become his personal race against the clock.

As in the best of crime fiction, Hand for a Hand includes several interesting side-stories and back plots. In fact, one of the more intriguing characters in the book, an old nemesis of Andy’s, shares a particularly painful episode in both men’s past that will jarringly impact their hunt for the St. Andrew killer. Muir reveals details of that incident but, especially considering that two other books in the series have already been published in the U.K., one has to wonder just how much more there might be to their relationship.

Creators of fictional detectives, because of the multitude of characters preceding their own creations, are faced with the near impossible task of avoiding descriptive clichés. Avid crime fiction readers are certainly familiar with the generic fictional detective that has developed over time and, rather unavoidably, Andy Gilchrist has something in common with that model. He is a tad beyond middle-aged, a heavy drinker, and divorced because his wife grew tired of sharing him with the job. He is also a man who, despite his many regrets, is still prone to repeating the same mistakes that have already cost him so much.

Hand for Hand is a worthy introduction to a promising series. I am looking forward to future titles, including the two already released in the U.K. (Tooth for a Tooth and Eye for an Eye), because I would like to know more about DCI Gilchrist.

Rated at: 3.5 ( )
  SamSattler | Nov 19, 2012 |
First Line: Tam Dunn watched the golf ball take a hard kick left and slip into the infamous Road Hole Bunker, a sandy-bottomed pothole that fronted the seventeenth green.

What Tam Dunn finds at the bottom of the Road Hole Bunker gets Detective Chief Inspector Andy Gilchrist out to the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland on the double. A dismembered hand is lying in the sand, clutching a one word note addressed to Gilchrist himself. All the note says is Murder, but Gilchrist knows immediately that his nightmare has begun: a killer has him in the crosshairs.

The seasoned veteran is no novice to solving murders, but this one comes at a particularly bad time. His ex-wife is dying, his son's girlfriend is missing, his boss insists on pairing him with a detective whom he has good reason to hate.... But when it rains, it pours, because this one hand is merely the beginning of a parade of body parts-- all bearing messages for Gilchrist.

When I began reading this book, I have to admit that Gilchrist was the type of character I don't care for. He drinks to excess; he has no time for his family; and he falls into a very inappropriate relationship. But as the murder investigation progressed, DCI Andy Gilchrist started to grow on me. He's the type of detective who works on a combination of hard work and intuition. When his intuition helps him decipher the meaning of the cryptic messages found with the body parts, he knows he has very little time to solve the case because someone very dear to him will die if he doesn't put every molecule of his knowledge and strength into finding the killer.

Through watching Gilchrist at work, through seeing him realize the grave mistakes he's made over the years, and through observing his realization that he has to change, I went from disliking this character to feeling a grudging respect for him. Now I am very interested in reading the next book in this series, not only because I want to see if Gilchrist is the type of man who's strong enough to make those needed changes, but because I want to see if Muir does more to develop some of the other very intriguing characters he introduced in this first book. If you're a fan of British police procedurals, I recommend that you read Hand for a Hand. ( )
  cathyskye | Nov 13, 2012 |
I bought this book because it was set in St Andrew's in Fife, near where I live in the UK. It started off promisingly, but after a while I realised that the author was more familiar with Glasgow than St A. and so didn't have a real sense of place. The crime started gory and got more so, and the plot became more and more implausible and increasingly convoluted as the author tried to tie up all the loose ends. Can't say I'd rush to read another of his books. ( )
  herschelian | Feb 26, 2012 |
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Murder. It's the only word in a note clutched by the dismembered hand found on the lush green of a golf course in St. Andrews, Scotland. When DCI Andy Gilchrist learns the note is addressed to him, he realizes the thing he feared most has come to pass: a killer is deliberately targeting him. Though Gilchrist is no new hand at solving murders, this time he is overwhelmed by the flood of seemingly unconnected crises--the note clutched in the hand, his son's missing girlfriend, his ex-wife's failing health, and his boss's decision to pair Gilchrist up with a scumbag detective from his past, who in turn is hiding evidence. Worse, the hand turns out to be just the beginning, and soon he's faced with relentless parade of body parts.… (more)

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