Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Lennox (Lennox) by Craig Russell
If you like PI novels (and since you're visiting this site you must) you have to read this one.
The only new thing this novel brings to the PI game is probably it's fifties Glasgow setting, but the story is brought in such an entertaining way it's going to be one of my favorites of the year for sure.
Lennox is fixer for the Three Kings, a bunch of Glasgow mobsters. He's hired to find out who killed gangster Tam McGahern and gets suspected of the murder himself. During his investigations he gets beaten up, beats other people up, discovers dead bodies and uncovers dangerous secrets. Everything a good PI should. And Lennox is one tough example. Armed with a sap and a Webley he really knows how to deal with Glasgow's thugs. And quite some scary thugs at that, like a guy called Twinkletoes who got the name cutting off people's toes.
There's some very funny writing and wisecracks (like, 'I kept as low a profile as a foreskin at a rabbi's convention')to go along with the violence, making sure it all doesn't get too dark. Lennox is enough of a conflicted character to make the story be about more than just tough guys and femme fatales, though.
I really thought it read like a homage to Raymond Chandler, on every page Craig leaves us, consciously, some great bit to enjoy,just like Chandler did. Also, I've got a feeling that it isn't a coincidence one of the character's in Chandler's The Long Goodbye was named Terry Lennox.
Craig Russell has been having some succes with his Jan Fabel serial killer style police procedurals, but with this new series he's really found his voice. Tony Black and Russel McLean already showed us the best noir is coming from Scotland these days. Craig Russell continues this tradition.