Bloody January by Alan Parks


Type: E-Book    Cost: £12.99 (For the Hardcover when released)

Release: 28th December 2017     Genre: Crime, Thriller


“When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence. With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops. McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas… In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow.”

My Review:

I would first like to thank NetGallery and Canongate Books for sending me an advanced copy of Bloody January in exchange for this review.

Bloody January follows Detective Harry McCoy through the dark underworld of crime in Glasgow in the 1970s. I have never read a crime book like this ever before, I loved the seeing the dark side of crime and the struggles in comparison to most other detective novels that I have read where they don’t delve nearly as much into the characters past as Bloody January does. The character of Harry McCoy is incredibly written, what starts off as a seemingly cliché alcoholic, slightly drug addicted and foul-mouthed Detective quickly deepens into a story of  a man with a troubled childhood who has dealt with child loss and relationship breakdowns. You can really sympathise with the character and he might just be one of my favourite written characters ever.

McCoy is called into Barlinnie Prison by the request of dangerous criminal Howie Nairn to be told a girl called Lorna who works at a restaurant somewhere near. McCoy disregards the brief warning at first before changing his mind and, with his new partner Wattie in tow, goes to investigate. McCoy manages to track her down but not soon enough, McCoy and Wattie witness Lorna being shot by a young boy who then quickly turns the gun on himself and kills himself. McCoy goes back to Howie Nairn only to find him dead too. With the body count mounting McCoy’s boss Detective Inspector Murray needs him to find out why.

I found the book’s setting to be very realistic, from what I know about the 70s, and extremely well written, from the weather and environment, to the excessive swearing and the little David Bowie moment in there, the setting for 1970s Glasgow was perfect and easy to picture.

Bloody January does include the typical idea of the rich and influential people and families being almost immune to the law and justice as most crime literary/movies show. However this one I found more enjoyable due to the nature of what it was concerning. The book just gets darker the further more you read into it and just grips the reader in not letting go. Bloody January’s characters also notably don’t have a defined ‘good’ and ‘evil’ role in which they play in the book, the characters are all a mix of both which I found much better and much more true to life.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and will be definitely purchasing myself a physical copy of the book when it is officially released on the 28th December 2017.

Would I read it again? Yes

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

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