Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Good Son-Russel D. McLean

The Good Son
Russel D. McLean
Minotaur, Dec 8 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312576684

Farmer James Robertson finds his brother Daniel hanging from a tree. Although the siblings were estranged for decades when Daniel left home at sixteen after an argument with their father, James rejects the official opinion that Daniel committed suicide. Instead he hires former Dundee police officer J. McNee, who is still recovering from a car accident that severely injured him and killed his fiancée.

McNee quickly uncovers that the deceased worked as a thug for former gangster Gordon Egg, who owns a London nightclub. Meanwhile Kat from London arrives insisting she was close to Daniel while two more bad eggs follow her. McNee fears he is in over his head as a hardboiled detective battling crime kings because his throbbing leg keeps telling him.

Taking the injured hardboiled urban American detective to Dundee makes for an engaging refreshing tale though the lead character never quite feels like he is from Scotland rather than the United States. Still his inquiry, aching leg and all, makes for a fun tale as the cops tell him to stay out, the thugs warn him to stay out, and his common sense pleads with him to stay out; three strokes and he stays in. Fans will enjoy McNee as an avenger trying to survive the case of the dead farmer’s brother.

Harriet Klausner