By Paul D Brazill
Truth Lies Bleeding by Tony Black.
The protagonist of Tony Black’s previous four novels is Gus Dury-a boozy journalist turned private eye. Dury is an antisocial, cantankerous, stroppy, trouble maker who lives on the cusp of catastrophe.
Black’s newest novel, however, is a police procedural featuring Edinburgh cop Rob Brennan, a family man. So, you may be forgiven for thinking that Truth Lies Bleeding will show us the lighter side of Tony Black. And how very wrong you will be.
Brennan may not be a boozhound but he’s got issues in spades . He’s playing away from home with the police shrink. His brother was mysteriously murdered and the case is still unsolved. He’s back on the force after a stint of psych break. And his boss hates him.
And, because there’s no one else available, his first case after his sick leave is the murder of a sixteen year old girl. Whose arms and legs have been cut off and who gave birth just before she was killed.
But THIS investigation is just Brennan dipping his toe into a very murky stream that leads to dark, dark waters. With plenty of savage twists and turns on the way.
TRUTH LIES BLEEDING is a brilliant read. Not as gleefully delirious as the Dury books –the different POVs give it a more measured feel – but much more gruesome and chilling. And more than a little sad too. Black has created a compelling character in Brennan but he’s particularly good at showing the lives of people on the margins of Edinburgh society, the grimy underbelly of smack heads and low lives.
Truth Lies Bleeding is another cracking slice of the dark side of life from Tony Black and proof that he’s got plenty of tricks up his sleeve.
KILLING MUM is a short, sharp shocker.TRUE BRIT GRIT!
The novella is as tight as a nun’s nasty and is a spin off from Guthrie’s cracking novel SAVAGE NIGHT. It’s the story of a man who is paid to kill his own mother.
Like SAVAGE NIGHT, KILLING MUM takes a violently absurd and tragically comic situation and gives it a couple of dark and bitter twists.
It’s like having BLOOD SIMPLE transported to modern day Scotland and is a rush of a read.
Five BLOODY stars.
Blood Crimes by Dave Zeltserman
Let’s face it; most vampires are big girl’s blouses. If Tom Cruise in ‘Interview With A Vampire’ is anything to go by then the typical vampire is about as scary as Adam Ant’s ‘Dandy Highwayman’.
But there’s nothing of the New Romantic about the vampires in Dave Zeltserman’s ‘Blood Crimes’. These are hard rocking creatures of the night. Indeed, the book kicks off with our heroes, Jim and Carol, driving along an archetypal American highway listening to The Doors ‘Riders On The Storm’. This sets the tone of ‘Blood Crimes‘ perfectly although there’s more than one ‘killer on the road’ in this hardboiled take on the vampire legend.
Jim and Clara are classic noir lovers on the run, like those in They Drive By Night, Theives Like Us,Badlands and Natural Born Killers. They’re trying to escape from Serena – a rich,vampire femme fatale – and Metcalf – an ex CIA hit man who performs experiments on vampires in an underground laboratory. Throw a world weary Private Eye and a biker gang into the mix and you have a really well written, blood splattered and very cinamatic page turner that fans of From Dusk Till Dawn and Near Dark will love. And not a lavender fop in sight!
BLOOD CRIMES is the first of a five part series and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the rest.