Douglas Skelton

Crow Bait

"..the strength in the author's writing is in his ability to create believable characters."


Jail was hell for Davie McCall. Ten years down the line, freedom is no picnic either. It's 1990, there are new kings in the West of Scotland underworld, and Glasgow is awash with drugs.

Davie can handle himself. What he can't handle is the memory of his mother's death at the hand of his sadistic father. Or the darkness his father implanted deep in his own psyche. Or the nightmares...

Now his father is back in town and after blood, ready to waste anyone who stops him hacking out a piece of the action. There are people in his way.

And Davie is one of them.

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After I enjoyed Skelton's debut, 'Blood City' so much, I was eagerly anticipating the follow-up. But what if he suffered from Second Book Syndrome? What if Davie McCall 2 just didn't do it for me the way the first one had? I needn't have worried. From the first sentence I was slammed back into that world as if Skelton had just had a coffee and cig break after typing The End in 'Blood City', before driving straight on. Davie McCall remains a fascinating creation. He never really had a chance of achieving any other kind of life than the one he inhabits in the Glasgow underworld. The men around him saw to that. From his friends, to his mentor, Joe Klein and worse of all, his father, there is only one way his life could have turned out. And yet, Skelton is savvy enough as an author, to give Davie a vulnerability that pulls you onside. Yeah, you definitely wouldn't want to cross him, but you still feel for his plight. Indeed, the strength in the author's writing is in his ability to create believable characters. Every one of them earns their space between the covers of this book and every one of them 'acts' on the stage of your imagination, propelling you through the story. This is a fast read and at times, an uncomfortable read such is the world the cast inhabits. There's no doubt that the author's earlier work in the true crime world has given him plenty of detail to make all of that utterly believable. This is crime fiction of the strongest quality, with all the elements I look for in a crime novel. People you are pulling for and a cracking story all served up with a healthy slice of gallows humour and the occasional turn of phrase that would have William McIlvanney purring.

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