Tony Black


"Written with brio, Gutted is a rollercoaster ride from riveting start to exhilarating finish."


Ex-journalist, Gus Drury is so down on his luck that he takes a job hunting badger-baiters on Corstorphine Hill at the edge of the city of Edinburgh. He hears a scream. He runs towards it and trips over a body that has been freshly gutted. The corpse is Tam Fulton, former colleague of one the city’s most dangerous men, Rab Hart and Gus is quickly labelled as suspect number one. Tam was reputed to be carrying fifty thousand pounds, which has gone missing. So not only are plod after Gus, so is Rab Hart.

“Plod” in question is Jonny Johnstone, an up-and-coming Hugo Boss suited detective who happens to be engaged to Gus’ ex-wife, and for reasons completely unrelated to guilt, is determined to lock Gus up for the murder. The scene is set for a tale involving illegal dog fights, the underbelly of a beautiful city and a corrupt police force. As Gus fights to uncover the truth, the only witness that can testify to his innocence is run down in the street and between them Hart and Johnstone tighten the noose round Gus’ neck.

Purchase the book from Amazon.


Gus Drury is the kind of character who when faced with two settings on the self-destruct button goes for the one marked “slow”. Alcohol is his poison and he needs a good shot of it after the book’s opening, where he falls into a corpse. In between drinks he has a crime to solve and relationships to save before his life is completely ruined. Despite his obvious problem the reader is immediately engaged in Drury’s world and this is down to the skill of the writer. Tony Black, take a bow. This first person narrative is a super-charged, testosterone filled force of nature and I defy anyone not to get caught up in it. Drury’s struggle with the people in his life is emotive and described in a crisp effective prose. Despite his protestations and his Kafkaesque self-loathing we can’t help but feel that Drury is actually a really good guy. His friends attempt time and again to get him back to some form of normality and the flashbacks involving his ex-wife, Debs give Drury an added dimension and display that there is more, much more to this man than booze and violence. These events are displayed with real compassion and act as an excellent counterpoint to the hard-edged life Drury has driven himself into. Written with brio, Gutted is a rollercoaster ride from riveting start to exhilarating finish.

Reviewed By: