THE SECOND CUT by Louise Welsh (Canongate £14.99, 384pp)
THE SECOND CUT
by Louise Welsh (Canongate £14.99, 384pp)
This sequel to Welsh’s award-winning debut, The Cutting Room, again features dissolute gay auctioneer Rilke. It opens with the cheerful marriage in Glasgow of two Bobbys, but it gets progressively darker.
The Gothic flavour of the original persists as Rilke and his boss, Rose, are tipped off by a young man, Jojo, about the possibility of selling the contents of a grand house in the Scottish borders, owned by the Forrest brothers.
Then Jojo turns up dead and Rilke is caught in the midst of a brutal battle between two gang leaders in the city’s underworld. It turns out the grand house is also the HQ of a trafficking and drugs ring.
Superbly drawn and exquisitely written, the story moves at an exceptional pace: this is modern Glasgow at its most compelling with a contradictory, flawed hero who tugs at the heart strings. Do not miss it.
A KILLING IN NOVEMBER
by Simon Mason (Riverrun £14.99, 352pp)
Forget Inspector Morse, this Oxford-based story features DI Ryan Wilkins: young, mouthy and born in a caravan park, he’s no respecter of persons or position and arrives in the city under a cloud of suspicion.
On his first day he stumbles upon a murder in (fictional) St Barnabas’s college, where the body of a young woman has been left in the Provost’s office while he is entertaining a powerful Arab Sheik who might donate a huge sum to the college.
The investigation into the death shows Wilkins in his true colours — irascible, intuitive and quick as lightning. His colleague, a Balliol graduate with a taste for expensive jackets, is appalled by Wilkins’ approach. Nevertheless, the two prove that an iconoclastic outsider can be trusted. This has a TV series written all over it.
THE GOSLING GIRL
THE GOSLING GIRL by Jacqueline Roy (S&S £14.99, 400pp)
by Jacqueline Roy (S&S £14.99, 400pp)
Fourteen years ago, young black girl Michelle Cameron killed her white friend, Kerry, for no reason and paid for it with a lengthy period in juvenile detention.
It was a crime described as evil by the media — think James Bulger. Now she is out, trying to rebuild her life.
She manages to do so until a young friend, sex worker Lucy, is found dead — in a hoodie that belongs to Michelle.
She becomes a person of interest to the police, and the media reveal her original identity and address. Michelle is cleared, but the damage is done, and a black policewoman, DC Natalie Tyler, tries to protect her from the world’s suspicions.
Written with compassion, and an exceptional sense of identity by Roy — born to a Jamaican father and a British mother — it is both striking and powerful.
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