cover image The Second Cut

The Second Cut

Louise Welsh. Canongate, $18 (384p) ISBN 978-1-83885-089-0

This excellent sequel to 2002’s The Cutting Room, which won the British Crime Writers Association award for best first novel, is set in post-Covid Glasgow after the now middle-aged Rilke has become head auctioneer at Bowery Auctions. He’s grappling with the effects of getting older and changes to Glasgow’s LGBTQ community when Jojo, an old acquaintance now down on his luck, offers him a potentially lucrative lead on a client with a country house full of antiques. The following day, Jojo is found dead. Rilke takes it on himself to investigate, and Welsh braids his investigation with a dizzying number of other plot threads—the gruesome death of a dog, a fatal car crash, the disappearance of an elderly pianist, a cache of drugs, an artist chronicling the dark side of Glasgow’s gay scene, a ruthless gangster rising through the criminal ranks—and leaves readers to gradually draw connections between them. This offers the same nuanced characterizations and evocative, visceral prose that launched Welsh’s debut to cult classic status. The result is an unputdownable mystery that will make readers feel safe in the hands of a master. Agent: Sam Copeland, RCW Literary. (May)