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Black, Tony - 'Long Time Dead'
Hardback: 256 pages (July 2010) Publisher: Preface Publishing ISBN: 1848091834

LONG TIME DEAD is the fourth book from Tony Black featuring his ex-reporter turned investigator Gus Dury. Gus is back on the drink and wakes up in hospital after a hit-and-run accident involving a motorised wheelchair. The doctor’s advice to Gus is that needs to give up the drink or he has only months to live.

Then his friend Hod visits to say that he needs Gus to investigate the ritual hanging of Ben Laird (the son of actress Gillian Laird). Gus tries to avoid doing this as he needs to get off the drink, but Hod says he needs Gus to do this as he needs the money to get Shaky (an Edinburgh gang-boss whom he owes money to) off his back. So Gus reluctantly agrees to do an investigation into a death which the police are determined to label as a suicide.

When Gus and Hod visit Gillian Laird, they find her girlfriend there and she is very obstructive (Gillian Laird had recently publicly announced her coming out which had alienated some sections of the press from being sympathetic to her loss). So Gus starts to dig into the crime and in order to get close to the crime, gets himself a job as a janitor at the University. He soon finds out that there is a mysterious secret society to which Ben Laird was a member and also that the Masons are involved. He discovers that prominent policemen were in both the Masons and the secret society, and seem to want the investigation dropped.

Gus is busy trying to carry out the investigation while Shaky’s hoods are trying to get money off Hod. Gus ends up in hospital after being attacked and while his health is failing, he is drinking more. He knows he needs to sort things quickly to get the money for Hod who has helped him in the past but he doesn’t know if he has the strength to continue.

When there is another murder by the same ritualistic hanging, Gus knows he is on the right track. After some digging, Gus finds that there was a previous hanging when some of those connected to the Masons were at the university. Can Gus solve the murders before those trying to cover them up kill him?

Tony Black has produced yet another fast paced story that shows the dark side of Edinburgh. As in the earlier books, Tony Black has delivered a hard edged novel that always puts Gus in the most dangerous situations (which he seems to manage to resolve). If you were in trouble Gus Dury is just the person to have on your side, he may be a bit on the rough side but he certainly knows how to investigate. This is a great fourth book from Tony Black, I look forward to his next books (MURDER MILE and TRUTH LIES BLEEDING which are not Gus Dury novels).

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
July 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 10/10/2010 10:14