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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 December 2010
A cracking start to a potentially great series and a book which further compounds my disbelief that Russell is so underated in the crime genre as his Jan Fabel series is compelling reading! Anyway, I digress, `Lennox' does for 50`s Glasgow what Arnott did for 60`s London with the same assortment of dodgy gangsters, bent coppers and the wonderfully seedy underbelly of post war society. I think what sets this apart is not only the brilliant re-creation of the period but the strength of the characterisation and the blackly comic asides that permeate the book. I liked the fact that Lennox is Canadian and views everything that's thrown at him with the air of an outsider but by the same token how he has overcome this status to mix with some, by and large, unsavoury characters and who is man enough to take a beating! Teamed with a pacy plot this series is one to watch and I will be reading the follow-up 'The Long Glasgow Kiss' forthwith!
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VINE VOICEon 23 June 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Lennox is a hard hitting, no nonesense 'Enquiry Agent' who finds himself, through no fault of his own, in the middle of a turf war. Set in fifties Glasgow, Russell ably conveys the gritty atmosphere of the city - the Second City of the Empire - with only the smog removed today to suggest not much has changed. That's more than likely unfair but I am reminded of McBride and Rankin's description of their respective patches, so I can imagine Glasgow is similar.

However, Lennox has to battle on and he reminds me of a cross between Philip Marlowe and Paul Temple with added aggro. The story is complex if only because the Glasgow gangs themselves seem to fall out in droves, add in some shady foreigners, some flesh parlours and a good dose of police brutality, plenty of bodies, mostly tortured pre-death and this all makes for a great read. Russell wastes no space in keeping the action flowing - usually at the expense of Lennox's well beaten head and his motley collection of so-called friends seem rather less than friendly most of the time. Not to worry, Lennox makes up for this lack of bonhomie with a dry humour all of his own, usually aimed at the benefits of living in Glasgow.

As the final chapters approach, the missing link to these murders becomes clear and what was a murder turns out to be - well, read the book. It should keep you guessing although the clues are there, of course. Lennox will be back, thank goodness.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 18 August 2012
This is terrific crime noir set against the background of gritty 1950s Glasgow. Lennox is a private investigator who is looking for a client's missing wife. When a couple of seedy underworld brothers are murdered, one of Glasgow's crime bosses hires him to look into it. Soon it appears that there are connections between the two cases and that some genuinely nasty professionals may be involved.

The mystery is reasonably compelling, but what really makes this book shine is Lennox's sardonic sense of humour (reminiscent of Bernie Gunther in Philip Kerr's excellent books) and the wonderful sense of place that permeates the story.

This is the first in a series of (currently) four books.
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VINE VOICEon 19 November 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Is there lots of guts and gore in this novel ?
Is there violence and lots of body parts ?
Is there sex , women and prostitution ?
Yes ! Yes and Yes again.
Do not be put off by all this and consign Lennox to the `men`s books` pile. Craig Russell writes well in the first person as the autonomous character of the title. Set in 1953 Glasgow Lennox has to be tough to survive. The violence , sex and body parts are essential rather than gratuitous . Russell weaves a web on intrigue which is belied by the less than serious tone of the prologue.
Coming up against McGaher Twins may initially seem tough for Lennox. When they are removed by contract killing and Lennox looks a likely suspect he will start to meet men much more ruthless than the twins .Russell sets the scene for this and the others in the Lennox series with a professionalism that will rank him with MacBride and Rankin. Long may the Lennox series continue .
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on 24 January 2014
"Lennox" is a wonderful noir, with every classic element present and a clear love for the genre by the author. You can easily tell Craig Russell enjoyed writing "Lennox" and had fun and we as the reader share his enthusiasm. This is the classic hard-boiled story, a private detective with a chip on his shoulder, cynic and bitter with life but with a good heart deep down and his own set of moral rules he lives by.
Ultimately Russell's strict adherence to the genre's tropes is also the book's only flaw. "Lennox" lacks that special touch, something unique, its own identity one might say. This is a fantastic example of the genre in every way but lacking a bit of individuality.
Lennox itself, the anti-hero, is too Marlowe-like only not as likable. The plot is every bit as confusing and complex as Chandler's plots usually were and the genre somewhat requires but ultimately forgettable. The women are either "fatale" or characterization tools to demonstrate the hero's charms but Lennox is far too cold and sexist even for me and trust me, that's saying a lot. The book takes place in Glasgow but I never felt the city as a character. Sure, there's a lot about the Scottish people and the look of the city but you get the feeling the story could have taken place anywhere. Finally, the ending is satisfying but a bit too brief and not as climatic as it could have been. For me all these flaws were minor and boil down to a lack of originality that can easily be fixed in the next books. Russell needs to find his own voice and apply it to the tropes. That's his only flaw. Other than that, "Lennox" is incredibly entertaining, well written and unmissable for fans of the genre. Its a love letter to hard-boiled fiction. A superior read!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 30 May 2011
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, very dark, violent but with a good story attached. My one complaint is that the dialogue doesn't ring true. Although some efforts are made to describe Glasgow patois there is little evidence of it in the way the characters speak, an old tramp aside. It could well be that the "Glesga" accent has been watered down to make it understandable elsewhere at the behest of the publishers, but for me as an ex denizen of the city, I couldn't help thinking that all the "neds" were a touch too well spoken. Although the period setting is pretty authentic (I asked my dad) the author's geography is way out, for example you can't get to the North of Loch Lomond by the Drymen road, and you don't go to Bishopbriggs by the Dumbarton Road so this grated a bit with me. I'm sure that other authors take such liberties with locations which non-locals don't notice, but I just thought that as the author has been praised for his extensive research that this seemed a bit slack. Is he as cavalier with Hamburg in his other novels?

Mind you that is a minor quibble. This is an excellent thriller and with reference to a decent atlas next time Lennox could well enter the pantheon of unmissable British 'tecs.
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on 21 November 2012
I had never come across this author before but was very pleasantly surprised by this book. I was brought up in Glasgow in the time the action takes place and it brought back many memories - both good and otherwise! I will certainly be giving Mr Russell another try
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VINE VOICEon 6 August 2009
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Using a unique setting, 50's Glasgow, Criag Russell's new character, Lennox looks like having real staying power, given the opportunity for storylines which haven't been explored before, as we encounter the City and its inhabitants as they were before Glasgow got a makeover - tough and uncompromising, with violence never far from the surface.

In this series opener, (and there will be a series) we meet Lennox in a very compromising position, and then we're off and running into a riddle which sees him some into contact with all manner of villians, some of whom are in uniform, all fighting for their place in the crime heirarchy of post war Glasgow.

Russell has created a very believable "hero" in Lennox, and a truly original plot, with only a couple of moments where you might need to suspend disbelief, as the various strands are drawn together. I think we will be seeing a lot more of Lennox.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This thriller pleases me no end. However I am the very kind of reader it ought to please, as I shall explain in a moment. As a reviewer I must at least try to imagine how it may go down with a diverse public. So I shall for now discount my own predilection for this kind of detective story, and withhold the 5th star to be on the safe side.

These days Glasgow is at last getting its due as the locus of crime fiction. There is the long-established Taggart series on TV, Denise Mina has moved in with some really powerful novels, and now here is Craig Russell introducing us to his Lennox, whose acquaintance I am more than pleased to make. Lennox is my adored Philip Marlowe (slightly disguised) from the city that is my second home making his debut in the city that is my first home. Marlowe famously goes down the mean streets of LA: Lennox can be found in Argyle Street, Maryhill and the Cowcaddens. Marlowe's quests also take him to the social stratosphere of Bel Air and Beverly Hills, and Lennox's bring him similarly to Bearsden (pron as a spondee `Bear's Den'), Milngavie (pron MulGuy) and Newton Mearns in all their tweeness. You have already spotted the first significant difference from Taggart or the Garnethill novels - this is not contemporary fiction, it takes us back to the early 50's. Raymond Chandler was still alive, drinking and writing then, and your reviewer was in his early teens in Glasgow then. I never encountered the razor-slashers but we used to enact them at school, and that tells you something else about the culture of the place and time. Play-acting violence, really horrific violence, was culturally accepted. The grotesque Glasgow drunkenness was at least mentionable. But anything to do with sex? - not in the kind of background some of us came from.

The book recaptures the atmosphere really quite well. This is one view of the underside of a city that was mainly underside. However you can't help noticing that the narration carries this burden of squalor lightly; and that is the Glasgow paradox - to know the city is to love it. I am very fond of Los Angeles too, but I don't think even native Angelinos relate to it the way Glaswegians, however long exiled, sentimentalise over their mother-city. Renfield Street, Blythswood Square, Bishopbriggs and of course Sauchiehall Street - these names are siren music to the ears of those who knew them in infancy.

Glasgow, Los Angeles and Chandler - this is a magic brew to me. How well do you like Chandler? If you know and love him, I think you will welcome and not resent this quite blatant take-off. Craig Russell has enough originality of his own to be able to carry it off successfully. He is not yet as good as Chandler with the gag-lines, but even some of the most Chandleresque are excellent, like the one about Sneddon's gold cigarette case probably weighing more than the gun that Lennox momentarily feared Sneddon was going to produce. Let me be a spoilsport and tell everyone that the joke about Twinkletoes reading the Readers Digest by moving his lips is actually another of Chandler's own bons mots, albeit not from one of the stories. However if Craig Russell thought up the line about Glaswegians mainly killing each other in the kitchen and then mainly by their cooking he deserves full marks for insight as well as wit, and indeed there are a good number of sharp and even startling insights throughout the book.

Forgetting Chandler and Marlowe, this is a very well-told story. The plot is probably a bit contrived if you think too much about it, and the simple solution to that problem is just to be carried along with it and not think too much about it. It is very clever indeed, it is intelligible for all its complexity (more than I can say for Chandler's own plots), and it is a genuine page-turner - I stayed up well past my bedtime out of sheer curiosity to get it unravelled for me.

Jings! Crivvens! Help ma boab! What would the Broons of Glebe Street have thought of this harlequinade of gangsters, sadists, brutes and perverts? The Broons were there to spread over Glasgow a benison of impoverished working-class heart-of-gold saintliness, never using a rude word. They were contented with their lot, and the menace of socialism red in shop steward and strike-meeting was made to seem unreal and distant. That was the real threat that the Sunday Post was combating, and really the Three Kings of Glasgow crime in this book were probably on the same side as the paper when it came to the bit. In passing I may say that a tetrarchy is four kings not three, and the word we want is triarchy. One of the pivotal characters in this book disclaims any political motivations, but the way it turns out that is not so, and it is the political undertone, even when I don't like what I think the politics probably are, that suggests to me that Craig Russell has more to offer us than he has chosen to show in this book. It is a very good book, and I hope I have made that opinion clear. Nor am I trying to incite him towards a more openly political kind of narrative, which could be entirely the wrong course for him. All I say is - he lays down a very good challenge to Chandler, and I hope he plays it the right way. It's a tricky path that he's on, but I for one will be very interested to follow him down it from a safe distance.
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on 1 September 2016
Ok…so I was chatting to Graham Smith – whose books, by the way…are bloody awesome– on social media and he asks if I have ever read any of Craig Russell‘s books. I immediately did what any self respecting blogger would do …..and checked my kindle…NOPE. Mr Smith proceeds to totally big up this Craig Russell guy…and then suggested I would enjoy the #Lennox series. So yeah…I downloaded book 1. I was easily persuaded….

OH-MY-FRIGGIN-GOD #bookjunkies! Where the hell have I been!? This book was published in 2010 and I have only read it now!? I have to give a MAHOOSIVE thanks to Mr Smith for pointing me in Craig Russell’s direction as this book rocked!

As the synopsis states, this book is set in 1950’s Glasgow and has a very hard-boiled / noir-ish feel to it, if that makes sense! It reminded me of a Philip Marlow-type story and I was immediately drawn in. A twisted sense of justice, retribution, truth-seeking, betrayal, gang-land violence, power and loss were just some of the themes I came across.

Now can we talk Lennox!? OMFG!!!! I am not going to lie…I was Eeeeek-ing…A LOT!! This character is just awesome! Whether we gals admit it or not, we do like a bad boy…and Lennox…he is baaaaad…but oh so gooood!!! I may have a wee #FictionalCrush..Born in Glasgow, but raised in Canada – he returns to Glasgow after his time in the war and works as a somewhat unorthodox private investigator. Lennox has a darkness about him. His dry wit and ability to uncover the truth, while finding himself in pretty scary situations, just had me reeling with excitement and fear at the same time. It was exhilarating following this characters journey…and what a bloody (literally) thrilling journey it was!

We also come across a slew of other intriguing characters which make your skin crawl but keeps the reader turning the page at a fiery pace! The Three Kings, Helena (loved her!) Mr Andrews and his wife Lillian – superb characterisation. There is also McNab – a copper…but I do not like this guy! There is no love lost between him and Lennox yet I am desperate to know more! Jack Ferguson, another copper – is someone Lennox has a bit of trust in and they serve/complement each other well. But I must admit, I loved the complete irony of the brutes named Tiny (who was not-so-tiny at all) and Twinkletoes….do NOT be fooled by their names…this pair could break you like a twig! I could go on and on…oh, and De Jong! Laughing my ass off just thinking about this guy…you will have to read the book though, to find out why!

I devoured this book. It was raw, gritty, dark, violent and intoxicating – just my cup of tea! Will I be reading any more in this series? Hmmmmmm….HELL YEAH I will! I have a lot of catching up to do and cannot wait to see what Lennox is up to next!

So thanks Graham Smith! You were RIGHT! I adore Lennox and would recommend it to anyone who likes a crime thriller with a twist!
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