cover image May God Forgive

May God Forgive

Alan Parks. World Noir, $18 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-60945-753-2

Set in 1974, Edgar finalist Parks’s superb fifth procedural featuring Det. Harry McCoy of the Glasgow Police (after 2021’s The April Dead) finds McCoy just out of hospital after a four-week stay to rest a perforated ulcer. Subsisting on a diet of Pepto-Bismol and alcohol, he fumbles around the edges of a fire-bombing case that killed five women and children in a hairdressing salon. Three young men are charged with the crime. Their subsequent kidnapping from the van driving them to prison raises the stakes. McCoy pulls at loose threads until connections to other murders—and to a longtime gangster friend of his—appear. Throughout the unrelenting violence and the pathos of abject mid-city poverty, Parks keeps the focus on McCoy. Deeply flawed and battered by life, he doggedly persists in the hope things will turn out well for him, though the reader realizes they likely won’t. A Glasgow native, Parks provides a crisp, authentic look and feel to the back alleys, rough neighborhoods, and ramshackle tenements of his hometown. This entry ranks with the best of Ian Rankin and Stuart MacBride. Agent: Isobel Dixon, Blake Friedmann Literary (U.K.). (May)