Tony Black, Truth Lies Bleeding (2011)

This Scottish police procedural is the first DI Rob Brennan mystery.

The opening lines:

“The girl´s screams were enough to give away their hiding place. It took a lot of noise, a racket, to have heads popping out of windows in a Muirhouse high-rise but it wasn´t the noise alone that alerted the neighbourhood.”

A teenage girl has been killed and dismembered, and furthermore babies keep appearing in the story, just to be spritied away again. (Now you are warned, this is not a cosy, but it does not dwell on gore and violence either).

Inspector Rob Brennan is back on the force after a period on leave because his brother was killed. He struggles to worm his way back in while his ambitious, female boss and his incompetent colleage do their best to trip him up or steal his thunder.

Even though I have visited Edinburgh, I must admit I have never seen this dark side of it:

“Edinburgh took people from all points of the compass and used them for its own end. It was no place for the weak or the insecure, the lonely or the dependent. The city´s streets were bright under the street lamps but they hid the shadows and the darkness that lurked there.”

In many ways an interesting, though dark plot and a well-written story with a satisfactory ending, but the pessimistic mood of gritty noir will never be my favourite subgenre. If you are a fan of noir, you´ll enjoy this one more than I did, however, so don´t let my taste spoil it for you.

I won the book in a competition.

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in review, review 2011, Scottish, Tony Black. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Tony Black, Truth Lies Bleeding (2011)

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – Thanks for this review :-). I always find it interesting that cities like Edinburgh (and lots of others, too) are portrayed so differently depending on what sort of novel the story is, and who the author is. The story does sound intriguing if very dark. Something I may try the next time I’m up to real grit.

  2. kathy d. says:

    I haven’t read this, may not be of this mood now either, so it’ll wait. However, Denise Mina’s Garnethill trilogy sure showed the poverty, unemployment, boredom and crime in Glasgow and the books were darn good — and I learned a lot about the way working people live there at an economically tough time.

  3. It looks so good. I haven’t heard of these authors but I really like the cover and the plot.

  4. Kelly says:

    I, too, have to be in the mood for something like this. It sounds interesting, but I don’t think I will add it to my wish list.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    Tony Black seems to be a real up and comer. GRIT BRIT is really popular right now.

  6. Barbara says:

    I think I’ll stick with Denise Mina’s Edinburgh. That’s enough down and dirty grit for me. Besides, I am determined to get back to Edinburgh one of these days and I don’t want to be paralyzed with fear while I’m there. 🙂

  7. I think of Scotland as beautiful, but also cold and gloomy at times. I can see a noir novel taking place in those surroundings. A noir novel that took my breath away it was so good but also so NOIR, was Snow Angels by Jim Thompson. Some noir I can take if the novel is really good.

  8. Margot: I think my image of charming, beautiful Edinburgh clashed with this novel. It is much esier to accept a noir story in a city I don´t know.
    Kathy: The Garnethill books are the most brilliant noir stories I have ever read. And though they were dark, I could sympathise with the main characters. In this one, they didn´t make the same impression on me.
    Clarissa: the cover is brilliant, and if you like noir, you´ll probably enjoy this one.

  9. Kelly: well, Tony Black has lots of potential, but he is not at five-star level yet.
    Patti: yes I know, but I am a delicate little flower 😉
    Barbara: I won´t say Tony Black is more gritty, I just enjoyed Mina´s books more. The Garnethill trilogy is brilliant.
    Harvee: I also liked Snow Angels, and this one is not bad either, but for me they are both three-star books rather than five stars. But it just makes things interesting that we don´t always agree one hundred per cent.

  10. kathy d. says:

    I agree with your assessment of Mina’s Garnethill trilogy. I was with the woman protagonist on every page and every leg of her journey. I also learned a lot about Glascow and working-class suffering there where jobs are few and far between.
    I’m even thinking of rereading the three books but then again there’s my TBR list, all of the books so excellently recommended on various great blogs, which just lure me in.
    I want a friend to read this trilogy and I think if I take the books out of the library, I’ll hand them to her after I’m done.
    But so much to read, so little time — and rereads are a luxury when one has a TBR mountain.
    Oh, were there a 36-hour day or a few days a week just for reading or a reading clone!

  11. Petty Witter says:

    Not an author I know but one I shall keep an eye out for, thanks for an informative review Dorte.

  12. Beth F says:

    I’m not quite sure this is for me. But I’ll keep the author’s name in the back of my mind.

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