I am delighted to share my review today for Bloody January by Alan Parks. This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, I started this series part way through so it was great to go back to the beginning.
This is the 12th of my #20booksofsummer reading challenge.
When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.
With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops.
McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .
In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and establishes Alan Parks as a new and exciting voice in Scottish noir.
This is the first book in the Harry McCoy series, it is not however the first one I have read! I first came to this series by reading book 3 -Bobby March Will Live Forever, then The April Dead and May God Forgive. I still have February’s Son to read.
Because I am already aware of Harry McCoy and his mate Wattie I think I had an advantage. Because I know what has happened in future books I was able to see things from a slightly different perspective than if I had started at the beginning of the series.
Going back to where it began with Bloody January was a good move for me. Wattie is the newbie and Harry is already established in the Glasgow Police. Harry is known to have an opinion, have dubious friends and seems to have a knack for winding his boss Murray up. Wattie is naive, and it is fun to see how naive he actually is, this doesn’t mean he is daft but doesn’t understand the streets of 1970s Glasgow as Harry does.
When a woman is shot in broad daylight in front of Harry and the shooter then shoots himself questions are obviously a priority. Who are the victims, why was she shot, what is the connection and why on earth would a prisoner give Harry an early heads up as to what was going to happen?
The case is one that has possibilities as to why things happened, for some, it would be a quick and easy case to deal with, but Harry doesn’t work like that. His contacts give him some extra info to work with. However, trying to get to the people and question them is a different matter especially when those people are wealthy, influential and do not want any publicity.
Harry is a tough copper, he isn’t scared of taking a punch and standing his ground. He has Wattie now, he is the voice of reason, well he is a whisper of reason as he finds his feet. These two are a good team in future books and it is great to see how the series started out.
Take my word for it when I say this is a good series, this first book is full of action, it is dark, brooding and dangerous. 1970s Glasgow is not a place for the faint-hearted, it’s a good job Harry is made of tougher stuff.
This is one for those of you who like a gritty, tough, dangerous and shady police procedural. It is one I would definitely recommend.
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