A Glasgow mob boss seemingly returns from the dead to exact his revenge on those who brought down his empire and sent him to prison in this exceptionally brutal debut.
This gangster, James Machie—a particularly nasty specimen—was done in by a combination of intuitive police work and associates willing to turn evidence in exchange for being placed in the Scottish equivalent of witness protection. When those stoolies begin turning up as corpses, DCI Jim Daley, whose young partner also had a decisive hand in the case, is confronted with evidence that the villain he believed long dead is still among them. The race to find this resurrected baddie before he can cross off every name on his kill list would be much more compelling if the plotting didn’t keep stumbling over itself. The novel favors after-the-fact explanations of events, which would be fine if the explanations weren’t often so unclear. Still, the book might have gotten by if it weren’t for the violence which, though it appears intended to alert us to just how brutal an opponent the gangster is, is merely revolting. Before even 10 pages have passed, a nurse attending a patient has her face pierced by flying metal and then her teeth kicked out. A young cop sees his partner’s head blown apart before he’s killed. A man is macheted to death and his bound-and-gagged wife shown the corpse before her own head is blasted off her neck.
Meyrick takes the low road.