Friday, August 5, 2016
Review of The Long Glasgow Kiss by Craig Russell (Quercus, 2010)
The Long Glasgow Kiss is the second book in the Lennox series. Russell transplants the PI genre across the pond and adapts it for 1950s Glasgow to good effect. It helps that Lennox is Canadian, with his street-smarts and fighting skills honed through some of the bloodiest battles of the Second World War and black market in peace time. As an outsider he can operate across sectarian and criminal territories and he can hold his own in a tight spot, and he can occupy the traditional genre figure that might seem false on a Scot. Russell though is a native and his knowledge of the geography and history of the city is evident in the story's strong sense of place and time. Indeed, the narrative captures well the hard edge and criminal underbelly of post-war Glasgow, its social divides and landscape. In this outing, Russell weaves together a handful of engaging and intriguing plotlines centred around a murdered bookie, a missing man, a new shady operator, and a threatened boxer. It’s fair to say that there’s a lot going on but there’s never a sense of getting lost, with Russell keeping a firm hand on the tiller leading to a well figured denouement. Certainly, Lennox manages to get out of scrapes that really should have seen his demise, but one expects as much in tough-guy PI tales. The result is a taut, entertaining tale that kept the pages turning. It’s always a good sign when the first thought on finishing a book is, ‘I need to get my hands on the next in the series’.