RAIN by Stephen Gallagher. Review.

RAIN by Stephen Gallagher

The Brooligan Press, pb, £7.99

Reviewed by Pauline Morgan

The weather can influence not only the mood of a person but can affect the atmosphere in a story. It is very hard to evoke terror on a bright, sunny day. Authors often choose the weather to compliment the kind of story they wish to tell. It puts the reader in the right frame of mind. When a book has the title Rain, the effect is to invoke a sense of depression.

As this novel begins it is raining. It is also dark. Joe Lucas has been sitting in his car at a motorway service station watching a woman for hours. The atmosphere is cold, wet and sinister. She is Lucy Ashdown and she has spent the last year trying to find the hit-and-run driver who killed her older sister, Chrissie. Lucy is sure that someone who frequents the service station would have seen something. The fact that he has been watching her then offers to help by driving her around the places where truckers lay-up might initially seem sinister but as it turns out, she has recognised him someone who went to school with her sister. He has actually been asked by her father to dissuade her from her obsession. It doesn’t work, especially when Lucy discovers a clue to what happened to her Chrissie.

The reader is taken into the world of seedy clubs and call-girls as Lucy heads for London following in her sister’s footsteps – literally. She feels that this is the only way to understand the circumstances of Chrissie’s death and is prepared to go to any lengths to find her killer. This is a thriller with a crime as the background. Joe is determined to get Lucy back home to safety, by any means, and Lucy is just as determined not to go until she has some answers.            

The novel paints a clear picture of the seedier side of London life and both Lucy and Joe are very plausible characters. There are twists and turns within the plot as Lucy discovers dead ends and has her certainties challenged. The slight supernatural touch, of Chrissie’s ghost appearing to Lucy, can either be taken at face value of regarded as a hallucination brought on by circumstances and grief. Despite its original publication date of 1990, this reprint of Rain still holds true in all of its aspects and is a thoroughly good read.