Whilst on holiday I picked up a couple of short man fiction books, the first of which was Paying For It by Tony Black.
Set in Edinburgh this is an atmospheric and gritty novel, but also full of dark humour. Gus Dury is an ex-journalist and his wife is divorcing him as the demon drink has taken a strong hold of him. His friend Col’s son is found dead, but the police say that he committed suicide. Gus finds out this isn’t true and Col asks him to find the killer of his son and what’s with the cover-up? Gus endeavours to find the truth and along the way we meet some unsavoury characters, as well as a wolf, and see Gus facing his own demons regarding his upbringing with his cruel and harsh father.
What a fantastic crime novel, I found this exceptionally entertaining. At times it felt you could really warm to Gus, but then at others you just wanted to yell at him to get a grip, but then I guess that’s the way it can be with alcoholics. I found that characterisation was great, plot was superb and it was really fast paced and also contained emotional depth. For me this had everything that I love in a book, although be careful if you don’t like strong and sometimes course language. I have visited Edinburgh, but feel I only scratched the surface and there’s much more to it than meets the eye if this novel’s anything to go by. What I also find strange is that I’ve read Ian Rankin, but his books have never really shouted at me, but this book most certainly does!
Gus is definitely a character I wish to follow.