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The Death of Ronnie Sweets (and Other Stories) [Kindle Edition]

Russel D McLean , Sean Chercover
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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  • Length: 182 pages (estimated)
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Book Description

Before he introduced the world to Scottish Private Investigator J McNee, award-nominated crime writer Russel D McLean wrote a series of gritty short stories featuring PI Sam Bryson, a young investigator with a strong sense of justice that is tested to the limit as he walks the mean streets of Scotland's fourth largest city.

The Death of Ronnie Sweets collects all the original Sam Bryson stories in one volume, with an introduction by award-winning US author Sean Chercover and an afterword by the author.

Many of these stories first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine while others were published by Thrilling Detective Mystery Magazine, Spinetingler Magazine and Needle Publishing. They run the gamut from two-fisted tales of justice to studies of characters who find themselves in the darkest of situations. A heady mix of homage to the American hardboiled and the modern Scottish noir, these stories demonstrate why Russel D McLean is "not to be missed by fans of straight-up hardboiled noir." (RT Book Reviews)


"...the stories exhibit such a sharp and honest voice it’s hard to believe they were written by a man in his early 20s. They are dark stories – sometimes very dark – but that darkness is balanced by both a dry Scottish wit and a genuine sense of concern for the people involved" Sean Chercover (from his introduction)

"...filled with rounded, human characters - no cartoon characters, just people who love and hate and care." Steven Torres for Nasty, Brutish, Short.


"The future of Crime Fiction is in good hands" Crimespree Magazine

"An atmosphere of delicious gloom" Mystery Scene Magazine

"Stylish and atmospheric." John Connolly

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 337 KB
  • Print Length: 182 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005I6C0OA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #278,235 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

An exceptional talent" - - John Connolly

Russel D McLean is the author of five novels featuring Scottish PI J. McNee. In order of release, they are: The Good Son, The Lost Sister, Father Confessor, Mothers of the Disappeared and Cry Uncle.

McLean's short stories have been published in a variety of markets including Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, the 2007 anthology Expletive Deleted, where 'Pedro Paul' was singled out by Publisher's Weekly as "awesomely dark", the "Geezer Noir" anthology Damn Near Dead 2: Live Noir or Die Trying and the forthcoming (2015) Mammoth Book of Professor Moriarty Adventures.

He has previously run the highly regarded noir fiction ezine Crime Scene Scotland, and now writes reviews for newspapers in the UK and various other markets as well as working as a freelance editor and events chair. His reviews and interviews with authors have appeared in the Independent on Sunday, the TLS, The Skinny and he writes a regular crime column for The Sunday Herald (Scotland). In addition he regularly blogs with the Do Some Damage crew (, a collective of noir writers from the US and the UK. His official website can be found at, where his blog often reviews TV shows and movies.

He spent over a decade in Dundee, and now lives in Glasgow.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Original of McNee 15 Dec. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
I've got this theory on how you find good crime writers, purely non-scientific, but pretty reliable so far. Check out the author photo and if they look like a right piece of work, you buy the book. Nine times out of ten you'll get something decent. The other one you get Russel D McLean.
The Death of Ronnie Sweets is a collection of McLean's early short works featuring Dundee P.I. Sam Bryson - yes Dundee has P.I.s, alright, who do you think tracks down the city's unfaithful spouses and insurance frauds? Or, in the case of a more committed character like Bryson, skipped witnesses, nonce councillors and a solicitor with some rather destructive daddy issues.
Across ten short stories McLean builds a credible world around Bryson, the city is present without becoming overbearing and the cast of secondary characters is skilfully deployed, with many recurring right through; there's even a blink-and-you-miss-it cameo by the protagonist of McLean's novels, J McNee.
Bryson is an engaging character, less intense than some literary P.I.'s but he feels refreshing for that precise reason. So he's handy with his fists and he likes a drink - glass houses people - he's also sentimental, loyal and maybe a bit too understanding for his own good.
I was expecting a lot of blood and ruptures in this book, and I wasn't disappointed, but there's an emotional element here which is missing from a lot of gritty crime fiction. Mclean has a keen eye for human frailty and every story has a deep undertow.
This collection is uniformly strong, although you do get a sense of progression in McLean's writing as it continues, finishing with Flesh and Blood, a heavily freighted story about the responsibilities and abuses of fatherhood. Served up with plenty of violence and a surprisingly sweet ending.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent 14 Dec. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My main interest in buying was because of the novelty of stories being set in my home town and anything else in terms of content, readability or character development was a bonus. Having read this and the Good Son, I have stumbled across a great author who really knows how to write crime. Yes there's darkness and violence but characters are well developed, compelling and believable. Buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read it, loved it. 25 Mar. 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recommend this collection to anyone who enjoys a good yarn. McLean not only tells an engaging story but he also builds a relationship with his characters. These stories have etched themselves into my memory and I guarantee they'll do the same for you.
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This is a collection of short stories centred on Sam Bryson, a PI in Dundee, of all places. They are a bit off-the-wall in places, but the observation is pin-sharp, the settings pretty much authentic, and the morality, though not always the legality, impeccable. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 10 Aug. 2014
By Mel
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Loved this book. Great to read something based in my hometown & recognise the types of characters
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