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His Father's Son
His Father's Son
by Tony Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: 8.08

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and emotional, 28 Aug 2013
This review is from: His Father's Son (Paperback)
Didn't really know what to expect when I sat down to read this. After all, it was Tony Black - the ambitious prince of tartan noir - and it wasn't hard-boiled, spit and sawdust crime.

As a huge fan of Tony's Dury series as well as his Brennan books and other crime shorts, I admit it was with a little trepidation that I slowly breathed in the first few pages.

Within minutes I'd forgotten who the author was - and I think that's the biggest compliment I can pay Tony.

He has completely reinvented himself here and it works - big time. He's written a tender, touching novel, dripping with emotion and feeling. He puts the reader right on the page - I could almost feel the sun on my face during the early chapters set in Australia, then wanted to shelter for cover as the driving Irish rain bounced off my nose as the story developed - with fierce, native dialogue and painstaking descriptions of scenery

Joey Driscol, who's forced to quit his home Down Under in pursuit of his wife Shauna and son Marti (who will tug and tug on your heartstrings), who have returned to Ireland, is a compelling character, full of faults, but ultimately one of life's good guys who just wants to do right by his family.

The bond between father and son, and the complications that come with sustaining that relationship, is fully exposed and examined, revealing what makes a boy the man he becomes.


The Storm Without: A Doug Michie Novel (A Doug Michie Mystery)
The Storm Without: A Doug Michie Novel (A Doug Michie Mystery)
by Tony Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dramatic study of character and setting, 15 Oct 2012
Cracking tale which gets right under the skin of the character and setting.

Rare to see hard-hitting modern fiction set outside main cities, so it's good to see an author command such control while taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride.

Dramatic, pacy and full of depth.


Truth Lies Bleeding
Truth Lies Bleeding
by Tony Black
Edition: Paperback
Price: 10.90

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to Black, 28 Feb 2011
This review is from: Truth Lies Bleeding (Paperback)
It may only be February, but I find it hard to believe I'll read a better book this year.

Tony Black is a superb young writer. You could almost say he was born to do it. His first four novels - the Gus Dury series - produced a thrilling rollercoaster ride, but with Truth Lies Bleeding, Black is scraping the stratosphere.

DI Rob Brennan is almost unique to the Scots police procedural model. Ok, so he's got a complicated love life and he likes a drink and a smoke. But, get this, he's NOT an alkie, and he DOES live with his wife (albeit in a relationship strained to the brink). Black's almost subverted the entire genre right there. Brennan is no Rebus, Skinner or McRae; the closest comparison I can draw on is William McIlvanney's Laidlaw. It's crime fiction, but in a sense, you know, it's not really. While the main plot thread tugs at criminal investigation, Black's fifth novel is a study of the wealth divide, duality and the human condition. It could easily be stacked on the Scottish fiction shelves.

Back on the force after psych leave following the death of his brother, Brennan faces the most challenging case of his career. The mutilated body of a young girl is found in a Muirhouse dumpster. But as the story develops, you'll look back on the dismembering of a teenager as one of the more wholesome aspects of the grisly tale.

The prose is clean and conscise, but also thought-provoking, detailed and insightful. A split narrative, the baton being passed to several characters who are laced between Brennan's movements, you're kept in tune with all aspects of the case, and while this unveils the "bad guys" long before the denouement, it takes nothing away from the level of suspense Black threads throughout. That's because this isn't just a story about a cop and those bad guys; it's a study of a man's life and the complications that come with simply being human.

Black, for me, is the best Scottish crime writer going. He just ... gets it.


Loss (Gus Dury 3)
Loss (Gus Dury 3)
by Tony Black
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Your Loss if you don't buy this, 13 Jan 2010
This review is from: Loss (Gus Dury 3) (Hardcover)
The Gus Dury series is taken to another level in his third outing. The language is more biting and simply dripping with emotion. It might only be January but I'll be very surprised to read a better book this year.

Loss simply has everything. Reeling from the death of his brother, Gus is fighting the temptations that left him a broken man; without a wife and a home. Off the booze, he's back sharing a flat with his ex-missus Debs and things are going as well as he can expect them. When Michael is shot, you know the whole house of cards is going to come crashing down.

Reunited with his ever-loyal, tooled-up buddies, Mac and Hod, Gus sets out on a rollercoaster ride of a revenge mission. He drives ever deeper into the Edinburgh only its most scarred population even know exists, behind the tourist traps, away from the castle's shadow.

The dark heart of the matter is brought to the fore in a thrilling, twisting denouement that will have you, like Gus so often in the past, reaching for the 12-year-old Macallan.


Gutted
Gutted
by Tony Black
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gutted if you miss it, 4 Jun 2009
This review is from: Gutted (Hardcover)
If Edinburgh were Gotham City, Gus Dury would be Batman. Cape-wearing, he's not, but a crusader in the name of justice, he sure is. The problems plaguing him in his previous outing, Paying For It, continue to haunt Gus, though in a perverse way he seems to enjoy the challenges and strains that come with his hard-hitting alcoholism.

Gus finds himself drawn in as number one suspect in the murder of a man found on Corstorphine Hill. Discovering the cop leading the investigation is shacked up with his estranged wife, things aren't looking good for Tony Black's dark, brooding hero. But with the keen eye and attention to detail his days as an investigative journalist gifted him, Gus sniffs out an illegal dog-fighting ring operating in the city and sets about unravelling the truth.

Black's frantic style hooks the reader right from the get-go and, like a starved and slapped pitbull, sinks its teeth in for all it's got. Another fine effort from a top writer and one who's sure to go on to great, great things in the future. Buy it, read it, or you'll be Gutted you missed it.


Paying For It
Paying For It
by Tony Black
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 15.53

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't mind Paying for It, 31 July 2008
This review is from: Paying For It (Hardcover)
It doesn't happen often, but sometimes you're completely blown away by a book. It's even rarer for it to happen with a debut novel... but Tony Black makes a myth of all that with Paying for It. It's a stunning tale, narrated by a character who, in reality, you'd cross the road from, but whose life sparks a deep and unrelenting fascination. Edinburgh-based PI Gus Dury is a drink away from destruction, his marriage and career in tatters. He needs a focus and when he's asked to probe the brutal murder of a young man, his dedication and deep desire for justice comes to the fore. Gus wades through prostitution, Eastern European gangsters and even comes face-to-face with a wolf. Tony's stark portrayal of modern Scotland and its rulers is hard-hitting, yet blisteringly recognisable. Buy this, read it, then make your friends read it. When you finally, bleary-eyed in the small hours after one sitting, put it down, you'll tell yourself you had no problem Paying for It.


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