I have never been into crime or detective fiction before but was drawn to this author because of his friendship with fellow Scot the hugely talented and late and much lamented singer Jackie Leven. I was not disappointed.
The plotlines interweave like a cat's cradle. The disparate scenarios are brilliantly drawn together, coalescing into a stunning whole. Never less than involving, this is unputdownable. Written in an easy style, with dialogue that crackles and fizzes with dark humour. Conversations sound authentic, each character with a distinctive voice. And one of the characters in Edinburgh itself, the constant background, whether it be the skuzzy estates, the narrow back streets or the splendid New Town.
Rhebus himself - semi-alcoholic,unhealthy, dishevelled, bitter, morbid, self-loathing,obsessional, selfish,a loose cannon, the bane of his superior officers, with a ton of agonising personal history and present woes on his shoulders - is a delight. A cliche perhaps? - more an archetype. Every character in the book is well drawn. We know these people , or someone like them.
This isn't glamorous police work -it is plodding, grueling. And real. People eat - often in grimy cafes - drink - a lot - sleep in their clothes, and - the running pun - try to bleed radiators.
In the intro the author says that his US publishers insisted o a final chapter to clear up the loose ends. I didnt mind the loose ends, but I would have liked that extra chapter because I didnt want the book to finish.
Quibbles ? You don't commit "harry-carry". And its "imply", not "infer". But how can you not like a book where squashed bodies lie on the mortuary slab looking like "hairy jam"