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on 15 December 2012
Gus Dury, Black's protagonist in four excellent Edinburgh-set noir novels is back in a novella which more than punches its weight. Reluctantly taking a job from an old acquaintance, Dury is tasked with finding an old school friend who has gone to ground. As his quest takes him to dark corners of the city, he soon finds trouble with dangerous criminals and the kind of people who won't think twice about taking a life. Short and sharp, "Long Way Down" is a treat for fans, new and old.
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on 16 December 2012
I've been so worried about Gus. Has he managed to keep on the straight and narrow or is he dead, face-down in the gutter? Well, it was with great delight that I discovered that he was doing OK - not brilliant, the demons are still there, but he's trying, bless. That kind man, Tony Black, took the time to write an update, just for us folk that love Gus and want to see him get on with his life. It was like getting a postcard form a missing friend, just telling you that they're OK.
All the usual elements are here in Long Way Down and Black cleverly adds in some very up-to-the-moment comments - opinionated so and so that he is and all.
Go get this one - a wee treat.
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on 14 December 2012
I've read all of Black's books and I must say I really missed his protagonist Gus Dury who last appeared in 'Long Time Dead'.
Now the part-time jakey and ex-hack Gus is back, still hanging around in the city of Edinburgh!
Gus gets into trouble again when he is hired by Danny Murray to find Gus's old school mate Barry. Danny works for crimelord Boaby Stevens and Gus knows that things don't look good for Barry if Stevens wants him.
So once again Gus does his best to keep his head clean and to help a mate out.
Tony Black really has a gritty view on things in Edinburgh, may it be the city itself or its inhabitants. I hugely enjoy Black's fast and cynic storytelling even if the reunion with Gus was way too brief!
A cool and gritty piece of Scottish noir! Black is a true master of the dirtiest metaphors!
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on 13 January 2013
Gus Dury is a down at heel ex-reporter with a dark past. He's kicking his heels in life when Danny Murray, a runner for local gang boss Boaby `Shaky' Stevens, asks Gus to do a job for him - find an old friend, Barry Fulton. Gus is reluctant, but £3,000 helps sweeten the deal. Gus quickly learns Barry has got involved with Irish gangsters encroaching onto Shaky's patch and, unless he finds him soon, someone's going to end up dead.

This standalone novella is part of Black's Gus Dury series, the other four (Paying For It, Gutted, Loss, and Long Time Dead) are full length novels.

Long Way Down is a gem of a story. It's theoretically a quick read, however I found myself spending a lot longer than normal with it simply because I wanted to stay immersed in the prose. This was a challenge because the action starts on the first page, when Danny steps into Gus's sphere, and doesn't let up.

The characters are very strong, Gus himself clearly has a deep background with references made to a difficult upbringing. He drinks, swears, fights - not someone you'd want your daughter to bring home. But he's resolute, loyal, tough - someone you'd want at your back. The supporting cast of (few) friends and (many) enemies are equally entertaining - Gus mixes with some dubious company. A particular favourite is Mac the Knife, a man not to be messed with.

The dialogue is sharp and at times witty, despite the gritty and grimly sharp Edinburgh location which, is excellently described with a minimum of carefully chosen words and some local vernacular. For example:

The bar was dark, dingy. In days gone past there'd have been a pall of grey smoke you'd struggle to shine headlamps through. Now the nicotine-stained walls and ceiling looked painfully over-exposed - the woodchip papering would turn to writhing maggots after a few scoops.

And another:

I picked out the smell of p*ss and sickly-sweet Buckfast mingling on the grimy stairwell. Some of the young crew had been in to tag the walls since my last visit, and despite being a respecter of the creative urge I couldn't help but think their efforts sucked balls. Right into a hernia.

The only `disappointment' with Long Way Down? I finished it too quickly! Top drawer noir.

**Originally written for Books & Pals blog. May have received free review copy.**
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on 31 October 2013
Gus Dury isn't the sort of lead character you normally find attracting such a loyal fan base. He's heavy-drinking, amoral, and just this side of legal. And yet he's a masterful creation who you root for from page one.

In this short story, Gus takes on a job tracking down an old friend who has gone in to hiding. Along the way - via many a boozer - Gus gets dragged in to a dark, dangerous plot populated by some heavy-weight criminals.

Short but very, very sweet this whips along and had me wanting to turn the pages almost before I'd finished them!
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on 15 December 2012
Finally ... Gus Dury is back!!! Tony Black's protagonist, whom we've come to love from these brilliantly written thrillers such as PAYING FOR IT, GUTTED, LOSS and LONG TIME DEAD, has returned in a fast-paced and awesome novella. It's been a long wait for Gus' return ... but very well worth it! I missed Gus a lot and I can only give Tony Black the highest of praise that it would have been easy to simply write another book that would satisfy all of Gus' fans but Tony once again outdid himself in telling Gus' new adventure in a more-or-less 'short story' ... it grabs you from the first line to the last, so when I started reading it ... I couldn't put it down at all. Had to finish it in one sitting!

This time Gus takes a job from an old acquaintance to find an old school friend of his' who has gone 'underground'. Of course his manhunt takes him to various dark corners of the city again and Gus very soon runs into trouble with dubious and tenuous criminals as well as some guys who don't give a tinker's damn if other people live or die. Although being a novella LONG WAY DOWN is definitely a treat for fans ... new and old! It really marks a triumphant return of Gus Dury ... and what more can we ask for? Yeah, maybe another Gus story real soon, as his character is so unique, exceptional and special, that I really want to journey on with Gus wherever the LONG WAY may take us ...! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ!!!!
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on 3 February 2013
Tony Black just gets better and better with each new work he produces,
this is a brilliant example of a short story, if you liked this one try one of his novels,
they will blow you away 5*****
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on 31 January 2013
I hadn't read anything by Tony Black before this .. But I will be catching up with his other writings very soon!
Long Way Down gripped me from the very first page and for me was a very good introduction to the world of Gus Dury.
Highly recommend to anyone who loves crime thrillers, Edinburgh, The Stagger Rats, Polish women .. Or just life! ;-)
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on 19 July 2013
After reading yet another brilliant Gus Dury story, I can't help wondering when he will hit the mainstream? There are many crime writers all over the world creating characters of note but in my opinion Gus Dury has to be one of the best out there. As Irvine Welsh once said - Gus Dury is probably the most intriguing crime character out there!
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on 21 January 2013
This was my first ever read of any Tony Black novel.
A big surprise to me that it was such a good read and I'd never read any of his books before.
Loved it and now going to download RIP Robbie Silva.
Its good to find a new (to me) writer that gets it right.
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