Review: Murder in the Gallowgate (Detective Lola Harris #1) by Daniel Sellers


Print Length: 445 pages
Publisher: Joffe Books (November 15, 2022)

From Detective Lola Harris returns from a miserable solo holiday — an effort to get over her useless ex — only to find herself in charge of a high-stakes investigation.

She rushes to a crime scene in the historic Gallowgate neighbourhood. The smell in the basement is thick and sweet, even through Lola’s forensic mask.

The old wooden chair and the rope hanging from its arms are stained red. The earth below is saturated with blood. Six candleholders, their lights burned out, lend the scene an air of a completed ritual.

And yet there is no sign of a body.

A smashed-up phone in the corner puts the investigators on the trail of a local politician who has vanished without trace and a controversial artist who died thirty years ago on a remote Hebridean island.

Lola will have to work with the most obnoxious detective in Glasgow if she’s going to stop the killer from striking again.


My Rating: 1 star out of 5

This book didn't work for me for a lot of different reasons. To begin with, even though this is the first in the series, I felt like we were missing huge chunks of backstory where the main characters were concerned, and therefore I felt no connection to any of them. 

In addition, there was nothing (in my opinion) at all likable about our main character Detective Lola Harris. For starters, the synopsis doesn't mention that her "useless ex" is a married man with whom she has been carrying on an affair for years, and only ended things because he finally made it clear that he wasn't going to leave his wife for her. Even with this, whenever he is mentioned during this story, he tells her he loves her, and she knows she loves him too. And please don't get me started when he showed up at her house (you know, the one she bought when she was convinced she would leave his wife for her). 

Then there is the conflict between her and one of her subordinates. Honestly, other than being told that he "cheated" on a test of some sort and that he had "messed up" an investigation - things we as a reader didn't see firsthand. We were also told that he was insubordinate because he only responded in one-word answers and looked at his commanding officer in a way that she didn't like. 

Honestly? It was hard to see him as the bad guy, and I'm sad to admit that Detective Harris DID come across as an antagonistic bully. Yes, there were times the reader got to witness Pierce neglecting to mention things to her, but on the whole, it was a lot of Harris TELLING people that Pierce wasn't fit to be a cop. A lot of her griping to herself (and anyone who would listen) that she "wanted rid of him," even going so far as to threaten to file a complaint against HR for not taking her seriously when the only person who had filed a complaint was Pierce. 

When I look only at the story itself, it also had problems. For the most part, I found the pace to be very slow, to the point where I became bored. I didn't feel a sense of urgency, and I felt the points of view bounced around too much, and the shock factor that I'm certain the author was going for just never happened for me. 

At this point, it is very unlikely that I will continue on with this series, but if the synopsis appeals to you, I encourage you to give it a shot anyway. What didn't work for me may work fro you. 

DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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