Joseph Staines, an unemployed chef, has left Edinburgh with the tallybook of the late debt collector, Isa Stoddart. Her son Lachie thinks Stainsie killed her, but Lachie has apparently committed suicide. To his surprise, Stainsie is the sole beneficiary of Lachie’s will and has inherited a dilapidated mansion. Isa’s debtors and the local priest who paid Stainsie to leave town want him gone. A certain young mum, Marianne (whose uncle, Wheezy, is Stainsie’s drinking buddy) does too, and his old school-friend, Detective Sergeant Jamieson, wants to interrogate him about the deaths. Why are the lawyers lying to him, and who’s the bruiser asking about him down the pub?
My Rating: 5/5
I was fortunate enough to be chosen this year as a Bloody Scotland reader and this book was one of five given to me to read in exchange for an honest review. A big thanks from me for that, as OMFG it was a gem of a read!!!
Set in Trinity, this book had a real 1940’s feel, at times, for me – and I loved that! Full of woe, past mistakes, regret, justice, the righting of wrongs – to name but a few of the themes, you are really drawn into the mood/atmosphere of this book. And for a debut novel…WOW…this really stood out for me.
The plot was fast-paced, gritty and full of twists that kept me on my toes. I loved how the story was revealed through the main characters recollections of the past.
The characters in this book really leapt off the page for me. Particularly the main character, Joseph Staines –OMG this guy is trouble with a capital T! The backstory was fabulous and cleverly written. Staines is the type of guy you really should not like – a criminal, drugs & alcohol a daily staple and a bit of a rogue. But, he is not one to let things go and when questions about his ex-employer’s death as well as his friend’s suicide come up …well he just cannot leave it alone. Marianne was also a great character – vulnerable but with a strength of character shown only to a few. She really grew on me. I also thought DS Jamieson was a relatable character — on the right side of the law, but grew up with Staines, so almost torn – does he trust him? Does he help him? Well, you will just have to read this book to find out!
The wit, fantastic banter and revelations were bloody brilliant so this piece of #TartanNoir was a definite winner for me! I was thrilled to hear that it was long listed for the Mcllvanney prize as it definitely deserves it. Do I recommend it? You bet you arse I do!! I will definitely be reading more from this author! To grab a copy for yourself, head over to amazon by clicking the link below! Doooooo it!!!
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