As I understand it, tourists flock to visit the Edinburgh that Ian Rankin has created in the Rebus novels. Tony Black's Edinburgh, however, is something else and anyone embarking on the 'Gus Dury tourist trail' is likely to need their head examined - this dark Edinburgh underworld is not for the faint of heart.
This story opens in the dead of night on Corstophine Hill, where Dury is on the lookout for badger baiters - but he stumbles across a dead body instead. Reporting his discovery, it becomes apparent that the police would prefer to charge him with the murder rather than look for the real culprit. So, he takes it upon himself to do their job for him.
Dury drinks and smokes to stay alive. Food and human warmth are accidental incidentals - he'll enjoy them when placed in front of him, but he won't go looking for them. Impulsive and antagonistic, he approaches his task with all the finesse of a drunken bull in a china shop. But integrity is his middle name, and the battle, as ever, is between honesty and corruption.
This novel races along at a cracking pace, and is mostly set in the deprived areas of Edinburgh. There's a lot of fighting, which makes it quite a man's book (if there's more than two punches and two people, I struggle to follow the sequence and almost have to draw a diagram). It's very readable and whilst I probably wouldn't want to spend any time with Dury, I did enjoy the story and look forward to seeing how Dury develops in the series.