Book Review; After the Fire by Karen Campbell
Jamie Worth, career cop with the Scottish Police is due to go on holiday with his wife (an ex-cop) and two kids when there is an armed call out on the other side of town. Newly qualified to respond to firearms incidents he is detailed with another young recruit to assist officers already on the scene who advise of shots fired in a poor part of town and reports of a young girl brandishing a gun. In the high tension moments that follow Worth guns down the threat only to be shocked she was not armed at all.
What ensues is a case of his comrades closing ranks to make an example of him as a public increasingly concerned by firearms incidents demand their pound of flesh and Worth and his family have their life turned upside down as one by one their friends, their colleagues, and the system they served and believed in seemingly conspires against them, and ultimately Worth is imprisoned for murder.
Serving time is hard for anyone, imagine being a cop who put some of these criminals away? Going against everything he believed in civvy street, Worth must live to a new order to survive while his wife does likewise as she struggles with two kids and a community which has turned on her.
But someone steps in to help. Across the Atlantic, Anna Cameron, a Scottish officer serving the UN hears of Worth’s plight and comes home to investigate the investigation. There’s one small issue; she’s the former mistress of Jamie Worth, a fact that Worth’s wife is well aware of.
In a brilliantly written novel the reader is taken from the mundane to the unbelievable in the life of the police force, the normality of domestic life to the seedy underbelly of the child sex trade, and how far people will go to save their own skins, whether by fight or flight, or by altering the facts.
For 400-odd pages you could not ask for a better book to read as it builds to a climax that must surely be of biblical proportions, however in the one letdown in the book, the end came to quick. I felt somewhat ripped off not having more detail on the aftermath as Worth’s conviction was appealed and those who conspired against him, both in prison and in the police force, and still, a day later I feel like a chapter was forthcoming. But regardless, a great crime novel for anyone, and dare I say it, in poetically written Scottish which conjures up none other than Billy Connelly..