It’s not that unusual to see a novel start with a song lyric, but until now I don’t think I’ve ever come across one that uses a line from an Alvin Stardust song! That’s the case in this new work by Scottish crime writer Alan Parks. This is his second novel, and I guess you’d describe this as tartan noir – a gritty police procedural set in the Glasgow of the seventies, with lots of drinking, drugs, swearing and ultra violence – all the ingredients you might expect in fact. Detective Harry McCoy, a man with a troubled past, is the main protagonist, and the novel is set against a background of rival gangs competing for control of the city as new drugs flood in to the market. With a strong supporting cast of colleagues and underworld characters, some of whom he has dubious connections with, McCoy has to track down a serial killer, whose calling card is to carve grisly messages into the chests of his victims. The policing is definitely of the ‘Life On Mars’ vintage, but the characters are well developed and there are some evocative descriptions of the city of Glasgow itself, which almost becomes a character in its own right. A good read, provided you don’t mind the language – if there’s a criticism it’s that the author almost tries to cram too much in, and has maybe too many storylines running simultaneously alongside each other. There have been comparisons made to the mighty William McIlvanney, which would be a very big pair of shoes to fill. Personally, I think it’s a little too early for that, but I’d certainly read the next one in this series.
Bloody January, Parks’ debut novel and the first in this series, has just been published in paperback, and is also well worth reading.
Length of Read:Medium
Might appeal to people who enjoyed…
One thing you’ve learned
With no new Rebus novel this year and speculation that Stuart MacBride is to wind up the Logan McRae series, these two novels mark the start of a potential replacement, and is a series that I feel will improve as it progresses.