This is the second in Ferris' Douglas Brodie series which started as a Kindle sensation with The Hanging Shed
. Tartan Noir at its finest, putting Brodie's Glasgow right up beside Rebus' Edinburgh.
Brodie is now working as a crime journalist in Glasgow when a spate of vigilante attacks hits the city. At the same time, his colleague, senior reporter Wullie McAllister is covering the murder of a councillor and suspects corruption at the heart of Glasgow Corporation. Brodie's relationship with Sam Campbell is still on-off as she struggles to get over the after-effects of their last adventure.
Ferris doesn't stint on violence and gore as the attacks and murders mount up and in true thriller style the climax is explosive. But along the way we are treated to some great humour, much of it very black. However the thing that makes these books really stand out is Ferris' descriptions of post-war Glasgow (Brodie has only recently returned to Glasgow after serving as a major in the Second World War) and his completely authentic use of Glasgow slang. No psychopathic killers here - these men are murderin' bampots. I'm not old enough to remember Glasgow in the forties, but the language and attitudes of the characters chime in with my own memories of how people of my parents' generation talked and felt. The locations are so accurately described they whisk me back in time, though some of the places still exist today. The Horseshoe Bar, for instance, is still a thriving institution. Ferris writes so well that you never get the impression he's researched the period - you feel certain he must actually have lived in it.
In my view, Ferris is the most exciting new Scottish crime writer on the scene and in Brodie he has developed an attractive, compelling lead character whose second outing is even better than the first. Highly recommended.