cover image Bloody January

Bloody January

Alan Parks. Europa, $17 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-60945-448-7

Det. Harry McCoy, the protagonist of Scottish author Parks’s tautly woven first novel set in 1973, doesn’t put much stock in information he gets from a criminal like Howie Nairn, but when Nairn—locked up in Glasgow’s Barlinnie Prison—tells McCoy that a woman named Lorna is going to die the next day, the copper takes notice. The subsequent murder of 19-year-old waitress Lorna Skirving at a bus station by 17-year-old small-time thief Tommy Malone, immediately followed by Malone’s suicide, sends McCoy on a hunt through the city’s dankest slums and brothels all the way up to one of Glasgow’s richest families, the Dunlops. McCoy’s personal connection to the Dunlops—who are nearly untouchable when it comes to the police—makes him all the more determined to find a link between them and not only Lorna but also the other bodies that soon pile up. Stevie Cooper, McCoy’s childhood friend who now makes less than savory business deals in the city, gives even the good guys a glossy sheen of blood and corruption. A worthy addition to the tartan noir canon, McCoy is a flawed hero to watch, as is his creator. Agent: Tom Witcomb, Blake Friedmann (Mar.)