Not having read Tony Black's first outing with Gus Dury, I didn't quite know what to expect, though the reviews and blurb suggested nothing if not an interesting new character to take on board. I was not disappointed. Dury is, of course, a deeply flawed man, an alcoholic ex-hack with a nose, when not oblivious to the outside world, for a good story.
That the story he unveils brings him into conflict with both sides of the law, only causes pain and grief for just about everyone. Even the dog is not immune but Black manages to bring most of his characters to a satisfying conclusion.
I'm just wondering if there are any cheap and cheerful authors from Scotland these days? The principal cities detailed in the current throughput of novels suggests Scotland is far from the glowing adverts and haunting music of the pipes generally portrayed. However, this story of dog fights, heavyweight criminals, corrupt police and, of course, dissolute anti-heroes didn't have to be set in Edinburgh; I can think of plenty of English cities where such conditions exist today.
Anyway, the story is a good one. Dury is an oddball character who manages, against all received wisdom, to sort out a result. I know there is the third book now available but I am wondering if Dury's liver will last the length of the new book. He drinks for Scotland, it seems causing much anguish for his close circle of friends, his ex-wife and some concern for his new found friend, the dog.
As a stand alone book, it works well. Dury's past is set out in bits and pieces throughout this book so newcomers, like me, get to understand the background of his relationships. This helps considerably and makes me want to find a copy of 'Loss' as soon as I can.
All-in-all, another Scottish writer to add to my growing list of 'must reads'.