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4.2 out of 5 stars21
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 January 2004
I have read and enjoyed all Manda Scott's crime novels but this is by far the best. In fact it is one of the best crime novels I have ever read. Scott's prose style is strong, her characters are all well rounded and fascinating, she has a good sense of location and she is a master of suspense and drama. This is the only crime novel I have read three times (and counting) - even when you know who dunnit it is still well worth reading again.
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on 13 May 2001
A taut well written thriller.
A change from Manda Scott's earlier offerings but if you are a fan of her previous ones, don't let this put you off. From page one you are taken on a journey through the scottish underworld with emotion and skill.
The attention to detail is gratifying and a lot of research has obviously gone into this book. In my opinion, this should be trabslated to TV... but then I like the genre!
I hope there is a sequel.
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A dark, sharp thriller with admirable pace and gripping action, this will satisfy all your requirements for realism and tension-filled action. It involves a female cop who goes under-cover to the get the information needed to put away a very nasty gang of drug-smugglers Posing as a prostitute Orla is present when the gang discovers that one of them is an under-cover cop. There is a nasty scene of death, two other women are given overdoses, including the mother of a small boy of nine, who helps Orla to escape.

There’s no way to get soft-pedal the sheer horror of the situation, and those of a sensitive nature must prepare themselves for a no-holds-barred read. Orla is touched by the plight of the child, and flees from the gang with another under-cover operative, Murdo. They think they are safe, but all bets are off when another of the team is killed. They hole up in the house of Orla’s mother in the Scottish Highlands, but there is a leak in the information that warns them that the unknown protagonist is still after them.

This thriller ratchets up the suspense to a level where you just cannot stop reading. However, there were, I thought, some implausibilities, such as the nine year-old being involved in the tense and violent denouement. Surely someone from social services would have intervened with such a young child involved? Still, it’s a cracking good read with several twists towards the end.
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on 18 July 2008
This is one of the better crime novels I've read, and the reason for that is that the author has stepped off the beaten track to produce something a little darker, grittier and less black-and-white than normal.
The storyline is relatively simple - a cop in Glasgow is working undercover in a drugs and prostitution racket to try to ensnare the brutal ringleader when her cover is busted. She avoids execution with the help of an emotionally stunted nine year old boy whose addict/prostitute mother has overdosed and subsequently flees to the highlands with him. A game of cat-and-mouse ensues alongside the emotional recovery of the woman and boy.
As another reviewer has said, this is not a comfortable moral tale and you will have to reconcile yourself to the questionnable morals and behaviours, but I think the complex motivations and emotional responses are part of the strength of the book. The author has in my opinion done a marvellous job with the characterisation of the leading two characters, with some other notable cast members in support. It is perhaps (and necessarily) only the villain who is underdone.
So a very respectable effort all round - well written, involving, engaging and with unexpected depth of character.
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on 10 August 2012
I love Manda Scott's writing style. It is a thread that captivates me through each book, from one book to another. 'No Good Deed' is a stark, gritty and dark drama, that the, almost poetic, writing style softens. Undercover cop stories are not necessarily what I look for, but I was curious. The more I was reading this one, the more intrigued I felt. The characters were the right mix of complex psychology you actually meet in daily life. They were likable, believable, totally imperfect, and can inspire respect.
Orla MacLeod is the central character, who has to make choices of various sorts, while taking on the responsibility of nine-year-old Jamie, a child who has seen more than a child should see and whose life as a consequence is in danger.
I am so glad I gave 'No Good Deed' a second chance (I wasn't into it when it was first published), as this time it gave me food for thought, something I always look for in a book
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Not a comfortable read, this thriller involves so many suspect practices by Glasgow undercover police, and downright stupid ones occasionally, that it is best to suspend disbelief and read it as complete invention. Once that is done, the gritty unpleasantness of the first crisis-ridden chapter is such that we want to keep reading to see how the characters get out of this situation. Certainly we don't need much more convincing that being a drug-addled prostitute is not a nice way of life. The sheer brutality of the criminals when they capture, torture and kill an undercover officer seems overdone - why would they bother? And the female detective, Orla McLeod, shouldn't need this as an incentive to arrest the drug lords; that is what she is being paid for, after all.

The saving of the whole story is the silent nine-year-old boy Jamie rescued from the criminals' flat by Orla - once he has rescued her. Jamie can't trust anyone but gradually begins to trust the crew of detectives who look after him (not Social Services?) and goes into hiding in the snowy Highlands where he learns to talk a little and absorbs lessons about stalking and tracking. The complete contrast with his early life makes him a very sympathetic character as he begins to blossom.

A tangent involving faking computer records and a master criminal's seizing a hacker and forcing her to hack for him is much less convincing and comes across as padding the story. Perhaps the author couldn't think of another way that the detectives and Jamie would be found.
Some of the writing is excellent and brings scenes and people vividly to life. This book is often compared to Ian Rankin's Rebus series and is a good fit for grittiness but Rankin is a whole lot more realistic about policing.
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on 11 June 2015
By chance I came across this earlier work of Manda's. I refuse to lay words on paper that would open this box of delights for a potential reader. It deserves instead to be READ. Find a copy, read it... This, without doubt, is one of the best crime thrillers I have ever read.
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on 30 May 2015
Tense and fast-moving, an excellent thriller - and beautifully written. It tugs at your emotions and presses every "Oh, NO" button. Make sure you set time aside for this book - you can't stop reading.
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on 8 September 2014
Excellent read. Manda Scott writes so well - really feel you know the characters. She draws you into the story and keeps your attention right to the end. So sorry when it was finished.
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on 11 June 2015
Excellent. Just the sort of book I love. Intelligent, possibly bit soppy with child involved but really great escapism which is top of my fiction requirements
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