P.I. J. McNee doesn't half get beaten up, kicked, punched, kicked again...but somehow manages to stagger his way through McLean's second tale set in the mean streets of Dundee, Scotland's hidden and strange secret city.
Crime fans will be very familiar with MacBride's Aberdeen, McIlvanney's Glasgow or Rankin's Edinburgh; but who would ever have thought of choosing Dundee as a setting for their novel? A city whose glory days are gone, whose future looks bleak?
McLean has grasped the persona of Dundee; the comic home of Desperate Dan of The Dandy fame, famous for marmalade and The Sunday Post, and brings to life characters who live out their lives in the grey and grim streets of a city that teeters on the brink of collapse whilst managing to retain a generous underbelly of self mocking humour.
McNee, a former police officer, has lost all sense of direction in his life after the death of his girlfriend in a car crash. A P.I's life in Dundee is certainly not glamorous and while still nursing the after effects of a serious injury, McNee is forced to face his enemies and his personal beliefs in The Lost Sister.
The story McLean hooks the reader into so effortlessly surrounds a missing teenager. Nothing especially interesting had happened; when her mother came home from the shop her daughter was gone. Surely a case of a family argument and the teenager taking off to her friend's house? But the police are trying to keep the disappearance under wraps which makes the journalist who involved McNee suspicious. Very soon McLean plants his first bombshell; the missing girl has a surprising uncle and godfather; David Burns, the local hero in some people's eyes, who wants to help rejuvenate the city; but to others, especially McNee, the local Mr. Big who is 'untochable. Except he's knuckle deep in drug money, extortion rackets, underground deals, blackmail. You name it, he's behind it.'
McLean takes the reader on a series of twists and turns, bewildering not only the reader but McNee himself. If you are a Tartan Noir fan then you will not be disappointed with The Lost Sister. If you are a noir fan living in the depths of Louisiana or Chicago and you know nothing of the world that McNee inhabits, you will be in for a rare treat. Scotland lends itself well to the noir tradition but Dundee basks and wallows in the bare knuckles and concrete landings of McLean's superb novel.