Well, Amazon says for the synopsis of Gutted:
“When the gangland owner of a pit bull that killed a three-year-old girl is found gutted on an Edinburgh hill Gus Dury is asked to investigate, and soon finds himself up to his neck in the warring underworld of the city’s sink estates. Amidst illegal dog fights, a missing fifty grand and a police force and judiciary desperate to cover their links to a brutal killing, Gus must work fast to root out the truth, whilst the case sinks its teeth ever deeper into him.”
So what does the novel deliver?
There will be inevitable comparisons with Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre and Allan Guthrie, but Tony Black’s Edinburgh-set crime novels have a unique voice and character of their own. Gutted, his second novel, more than lives up to the expectations generated by his 2008 debut, Paying For It.
Gutted sees the return of ex-newspaper hack Gus Dury, anti-hero and alcoholic, playing a dangerous game of snakes and ladders with low-life criminals and questionable members of Edinburgh’s police force alike. There is a disturbingly realistic darkness at work here, partly tempered by some grim humour along the way; Dury moves in an Edinburgh of a semi-underclass, with an ex-wife the only reminder of a slightly more salubrious past-life. She is here as his conscience, but on that score Dury is well past the point of no return.
As in Ian Rankin’s Rebus series, Edinburgh is a major player in Gutted, and it is on one of the city’s seven hills that we find Dury literally falling on to the spilt innards of a fresh corpse. If black and grey can be called real colours, then this opening chapter sets the trend for bringing Edinburgh to a very colourful life. Tony Black hit the ground running with Paying For It; with Gutted, he offers an excellent and worthy successor, full of taught energy and thrust, and surely one of the best crime novels of 2009. This is a one-sitting read, with no superfluous prose; no comfortable tourist guide, this: you’ll be looking over your shoulder next time you wander off the Royal Mile after dark…
With thanks to ScotKris for the review.