Black, Tony - 'Gutted'
What is it about Edinburgh right now? It seems to be a real hotbed of crime fiction talent and Tony Black is no exception. Another very fine author indeed and this, his second book, is simply superb. Black's clever use of short, sharp sentences and tight punctuation makes the gritty, hard-core existence of Gus Drury, his main character, all the more real.
Set in Easter Road, Sighthill and other 'non-pretty' areas of Edinburgh, GUTTED is a captivating novel that exposes the city for what it really is: a far cry from its snobby, public school respectability and Greyfriar's Bobby cuteness that are much loved by its tourists but really fool no-one.
GUTTED is the second novel in the Gus Drury series. To summarise, Gus finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time when he goes up Corstorphine Hill to catch troublemakers involved in dog fights. Almost before he knows what has hit him, he is falling down the hill - and ends up landing on a corpse. The corpse is fresh and bloody and Gus, who calls the police pretty quickly, ends up both covered in blood and in the frame for murder.
In a former life, Gus was an up and coming journalist with a wife and home. His liking for the sauce doesn't do him any favours, however, it looks like the only place he can go is down.
Along the narrow and difficult path he now finds himself negotiating to clear his name, he uncovers corrupt policemen and all sorts of dodgy dealings - involving a high court judge and other 'respectable' characters. What seems to him to be hardest to bear is the fact that his ex-wife is now engaged to one of the DIs that are going all out to frame him. Things don't look that good for our Gus.
Fast-paced, exciting stuff, GUTTED really gets into your head and stays with you. Drury is a loveable rogue and you set yourself firmly on his side, all the while wondering how he will dig himself out of this mess - especially when witnesses start dying in front of him.
Tony Black is yet another fantastic Scottish author and is firmly entrenched in my favourites list. Impossible to put down and a rather easy read, GUTTED is black enough to keep even the hardest noir fiction lover happy.
Read another review of GUTTED.
Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland