cover image February’s Son

February’s Son

Alan Parks. Europa, $18 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-60945-494-4

Set in Glasgow in 1973, Parks’s serviceable sequel to 2018’s Bloody January finds morally conflicted Det. Harry McCoy back on duty after having been declared psychologically fit for his part in pushing a man off a roof to his death. His ability to stomach gruesome crime scenes is tested immediately when he’s called to the scene of the horrific murder of celebrity footballer Charlie Jackson. Jackson was found shot, with one eye removed, his severed penis stuffed into his mouth, and the words BYE BYE carved into his chest. The sports star was engaged to Elaine Scobie, whose father, Jake, is a powerful local gangster. The nature of the mutilations suggests a personal motive, and McCoy pursues the theory that Jake ordered that Jackson be butchered for cheating on his daughter. That angle leads to a hunt for Jake’s main hit man, Kevin Connolly. A chance discovery reawakens a childhood trauma for McCoy, which complicates the murder inquiry. While the streets of Parks’s Glasgow are certainly mean, he offers little that hard-boiled fans haven’t seen before. Agent: Tom Witcomb, Blake Friedmann Literary (U.K.). (Feb.)