Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review of Lennox by Craig Russell (2009, Quercus)

Rather than heading back to Canada after being demobbed, Lennox settles in Glasgow, creating a role for himself within the underworld as a private investigator.  In the spring of 1953 one of the McGahern twins, a pair of vicious gangsters, is murdered.  The second twin wants Lennox to find his brother’s killer, but shortly after he’s also found dead.  The three kings, the crime bosses who run the city’s three main gangs, want the killers found.  The police think Lennox is a likely suspect.  A little probing reveals that there is far more to the  deaths of the twins than first meets the eye.  It seems that a fourth criminal gang is operating in the city and they’re well organized.  Moreover, they’re leaving a trail of bodies in their wake, erasing possible leads before Lennox gets a chance to talk to them.  With the police turning the heat up against the three kings and Lennox, he tries to keep one step ahead of the law and to run down the McGahern’s killers.

Lennox is a gritty PI tale set in Glasgow not long after the end of the Second World War.  Naturally cynical, hardened by the war and tenacious, Lennox is well able to look after himself on the tough streets of the Scottish city, offering services to shady characters, including the three kings, the rival leaders of the main three gangs.  Russell tells the tale of Lennox’s attempt to solve the murders of the McGahern twins in a first person voice that is genuinely engaging and brings 1950s Glasgow to life.  Moreover, the plot rattles along a jaunty pace, with plenty of action, tension, and twists and turns.  The story is all a little far-fetched, especially the denouement, but it little matters as it’s a rip-roaring read.  Overall, an entertaining tale that introduces a tough-guy, wise-cracking PI who has some depth and substance.

1 comment:

Mathew Paust said...

This sounds right up my alley. It's going on the list!