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Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Reviews Tony Black

Review: Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black

Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black

Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black

 

 

Black, Tony

– ‘Truth Lies Bleeding’
Paperback: 384 pages (Aug. 2011) Publisher: Arrow ISBN: 1848091907

TRUTH LIES BLEEDING is the first book about Detective Inspector Rob Brennan from Tony Black who is best known for his Gus Dury novels.

Rob Brennan is a Detective Inspector in Edinburgh who is returning from psychiatric leave after the shooting of his younger brother. He returns to work to face a hostile Chief Superintendent who is up for promotion and wants everything to be very smooth until she has her interview – this is a problem with the discovery by four teenagers, of the mutilated body of a teenager in a dumpster in Muirhouse, with the only other Detective Inspector tied up on another case. Initially she wants to leave the case in the hands of Detective Constable Stevie McGuire but Brennan persuades her that the best thing for him is to get involved in a case straight away. Brennan asserts his authority over McGuire straight away by getting him to return to the incident room and gets a uniformed office to drive him out to the crime scene.

The murdered girl turns out to be a teenage runaway who is very far from home and had a baby with her – a fact that her Presbyterian minister father is trying very hard to hush up.

At first glance you might feel that this is a fairly standard piece of Tartan Noir, but Tony Black is a very skilled writer who can depict the grim, darker aspects of life with realism and yet still be highly readable. The switching of narrative viewpoint between the pursuer and the pursued works well here – it doesn’t always. My only real issue with this book is that, for me, the multiple sub-plots didn’t quite gel together and some get tidied up very quickly at the end; perchance, they will be dealt with in more depth in another book.

Would I pick up a second Rob Brennan? Yes, I would.

Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland
November 2011

Originally published at EuroCrime

Categories
Crime Fiction Euro Crime Mark Bailey Reviews Tony Black

Review: Murder Mile by Tony Black

Murder Mile by Tony Black
Murder Mile by Tony Black

Black, Tony – ‘Murder Mile’
Trade Paperback: 336 pages (Apr. 2012) Publisher: Preface Publishing ISBN: 1848091923

MURDER MILE is the second book about Detective Inspector Rob Brennan from Tony Black who is best known for his Gus Dury novels.

Rob Brennan is a Detective Inspector in Edinburgh who finds himself investigating a murder when the brutally mutilated body of a young woman is found in a field on the outskirts of Edinburgh. This case seems to have links with an unsolved case from 5 years ago when another woman was strangled with her own stockings, sexually mutilated and had her eyes gouged out. This case was investigated by a colleague of Brennan who doesn’t like him, is about to retire and would like to leave the force in glory.

The work of Brennan is made worse by his Chief Superintendent who is obsessed with budgets and dislikes Brennan, whom he sees as a troublemaker. On the home front, Brennan’s marriage has collapsed after some of the events in the first book and he is living in a bedsit with minimal and increasingly abrasive contact with his daughter.

Though a very well written piece – as Tony Black is a very skilled writer who can depict the grim darker aspects of life with realism and yet still be highly readable – I didn’t like it quite as much as TRUTH LIES BLEEDING. I feel that there are two reasons for this: the switching of narrative viewpoint doesn’t work as well here as in the first book in my opinion and I found it very hard to like any of the characters.

Despite these criticisms the last 50 pages or so of the novel are gripping but they do lead one to the suspicion that a third Brennan could be darker still which might make it less of my cup of tea.

The question I suppose is whether I would pick up a third Rob Brennan novel – yes, I would but perhaps with a bit less enthusiasm than I looked forward to this one.

Mark Bailey, Northern Ireland
August 2012

 

Originally published at Eurocrime