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Lorimer and Brightman Books In Order

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Publication Order of Detective Lorimer Books

Never Somewhere Else (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Small Weeping (2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Shadows of Sounds (2005)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Riverman (2007)Description / Buy at Amazon
Pitch Black (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Glasgow Kiss (2009)Description / Buy at Amazon
Five Ways to Kill a Man (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Sleep Like the Dead (2011)Description / Buy at Amazon
A Pound Of Flesh (2012)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Swedish Girl (2013)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Bird That Did Not Sing / The Silent Games (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
Keep the Midnight Out (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Darkest Goodbye (2016)Description / Buy at Amazon
Still Dark (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
Only the Dead Can Tell (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Stalker (2019)Description / Buy at Amazon
When Shadows Fall (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
Before the Storm (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon
Echo of the Dead (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
Questions for a Dead Man (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon
Out of Darkness (2024)Description / Buy at Amazon

The combination of police procedure and psychology is a hallmark of the crime fiction genre globally. In detective novels from the North America to Europe to Asia, more often that not, the strait-laced thinking of police investigation clashes with the subjective nature of psychological profiling. These strange bedfellows of crime investigation often create a sub-plot often as intriguing the very crimes itself, creating memorable character partnerships and creative methods to approaching and solving mysteries that continue to hook readers.

This often tense yet ultimately beneficial relationship between law enforcement and psychology is explored in depth in Alex Gray’s Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer series of crime novels. First started in 2002 and 13-volumes strong, author Gray continues to make the often bleak and always intriguing city of Glasgow, Scotland, pounce of the pages and bring the author into a post-industrial landscape of a transitioning urban scape. It is Scotland’s largest city serves as the multi-layered backdrop for the investigations of Detective Chief Inspector Lorimer and his partner in (fighting) crime, psychological profiler Solomon Brightman, a combination that has and continues to win many fans across the globe.

The characters are first introduced in Gray’s debut novel, Never Somewhere Else. From the series first instalment, the two men are positioned as a somewhat odd couple of homicide investigation with a yin and yang dynamic. The two men frequently define one another by their contrasting personalities, conflicting personal lives and clashing approaches to procedure and situations.

The binary natures of both Lorimer and Brightman are also highlighted in a range of character developments, including subtle explorations of Christianity contrasted with Judaism, the oppositional drivers of the working class with the academic class, and the dance of conservatism versus eccentricity. Furthermore, even devices such as the speed at which the two men speak are designed to show the stark contrast of the two protagonists.

As one would expect, the relationship is uneasy at times and other times, outright tense. However throughout the series though, the relationship between the men moves beyond the initial mistrust to one of quiet respect and genuine rapport. While it is obvious that Larimer and Brightman will never be the of best friends, they do come to rely one another more than either would have anticipated.

Detective Inspector Lorimer is established as the primary protagonist in this series, although given Brightman’s popularity with readers, some would question this argument. Gray’s description of Larimer is that of an affable, attractive and committed family man. He is also a blue blood policemen in the trust sense of the expression. He is driven, committed and believes in the codes of law and the position of the police force as a clearest line of defence in a chaotic world. He is a career cop and take his job and role in society with the utmost of seriousness.

Physically, his piercing blue eyes are frequently referenced throughout the series. As is his frame, described as bulky and solid. His marriage appears healthy, but his commitment to his job and the cases he works around Glasgow does provide an element of strain with his wife, Maggie. All and all, he is a fairly typical police character – principled, polished and straight down the line in most aspects of his life. In comedy terms, he is, without a doubt, the straight man.

It is these stock cop characteristics that initially position Lorimer in direct contrast to the less straight-and-narrow character of Brightman. If Lorimer fits the profile of the clean cut lawman, then Brightman surely conforms to the idea of the more eccentric academic. Jewish by decent, also setting Brightman as somewhat of an outsider in Glasgow, his appearance is clearly more suited to lecture halls than crime scenes.

Described as swarthy, Brightman sports rustic facial hair and dresses in a way that could be described as bookish. Several years Lorimer’s junior, Brightman combines an effective mix of cheekiness and intense intelligence that pits him against many characters in the series. However, despite his well-written eccentricities, Brightman is generally liked and respected in his day job as a college professor of psychology.

However, it is this immediate clash of personalities and styles that forms a major subplot in Never Somewhere Else. Lorimer and Brightman are brought together somewhat reluctantly by a horrific series of crimes gripping Glasgow. A killer is on the loose in the Northern city, severely unhinging Lorimer through his modus operandi of scalping his female victims, who are mostly young women.

True to the form of doing things by the book, Lorimer believes that cracking this case will rely more on procedure and investigative work than profiling. It is due to his steadfast views that he treats the arrival of Brightman with an enormous degree of skepticism. From the onset, it is clear the Lorimer is extremely unconvinced that a psychological profiler will have any significant bearing on his ability to solve the crimes and halt the carnage.

He eventually changes his tune as the reader expects. Constrained by internal politics within the Glasgow police force and a mounting list of victims, Lorimer buckles against his own reservations and enlists the help of Brightman. Initially, Larimer becomes even more unsettled by the enthusiasm shown by Brightman, who’s contrasting approach he treats with suspicion. However, after many of Brighton’s psychologically based theories prove correct, the two develop a functional working relationship and ultimately, a high level of trust.

In subsequent titles such as A Small Weeping and Shadows of Sounds, the relationship between Larimer and Brightman evolves further, more akin to a trusted partnership of equals as opposed to the cop enlisting the academic dynamic found in the first title. Brightman’s personal life and relationship with pathologist, Rosie Fergusson, places the profiler on a more even keel with Larimer in some senses, showing an affinity to maintain a romantic relationship.

While not groundbreaking fiction by any stretch, within the detective genre the relationship between Lorimer and Brightman is by no means boring or poorly-framed. Both characters are competent, likeable and driven, but it is their stark differences that does make for a very readable relationship

Book Series In Order » Characters » Lorimer and Brightman

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