Black, Tony - 'Paying for It'
Tony Black, in his first novel, PAYING FOR IT, introduces us to Gus Dury a washed up ex-journalist who lost his job after headbutting an MSP, Alistair Cardownie. Gus is now living in his friend Colin's flat and avoiding his wife Debs who is wanting him to sign the divorce papers. Following the brutal death of his son Billy, Colin asks Gus to investigate the murder and find out who killed his son. As a way of paying Colin back for looking after him, Gus agrees and soon finds himself involved in political corruption and illegal people-trafficking.
Gus soon finds that there are very many suspects including Billy's girlfriend Nadja, a Russian prostitute and Benny Zalinskas, a Russian gangster who seems to have the police in his pocket. The more Gus digs, the worse things get for him (and those around him). With the help of a former work experience student Amy and his friend Hod, Gus sets out to unravel the mystery of Billy's death. After being warned off by the police, Gus is more certain that there is something to find (particularly as Cardownie who as Minister of Immigration seems to be protected by the police and linked to Zalinskas).
As Gus makes his way around the Edinburgh, he shows the seamier side and the characters who inhabit the dark side of the city away from the posh hotels and bistros of the tourist side of the city. The story runs at quite a speed until the shocking ending. The characters are well written and you start to care about them.
This first novel by Tony Black brings a new detective into an Edinburgh already very familiar to Ian Rankin's Rebus fans. I am certainly looking forward to the next book to see if these characters are developed further. Tony Black is a very welcome addition to the Tartan Noir genre adding to the strength of Scottish crime fiction.
Paul Blackburn, Scotland