THE HANGING SHED

Written by Gordon Ferris

Review written by Carole Tyrell

Carole Tyrrell worked in the theatre for nearly 10 years and was always fascinating by the way death and the supernatural formed many of the greatest and most enduring works. She has read crime fiction for many years and enjoys the broad range of the genre.


THE HANGING SHED
Corvus
RRP: £15.99
Released: 1st March 2011
HBK
It's post-war Glasgow, full of smoke and muck and people surviving on their wits.  Protestants against Catholics in age-old rivalry and razor-wielding gangs roaming the streets.

Douglas Brodie, a fledgling reporter on the London Bugle, returns to Scotland in response to an urgent phone call from an old friend, Shug Donovan, who has been sentenced to hang in 4 weeks for kidnapping and murdering a 7 year old boy, Rory, and 4 others.  He swears that he didn’t do it.

Both Brodie and Donovan wear their battle scars; Brodie has a limp but Shug is a walking horror.  He's scarred with burns across his face and has had to resort to injecting and selling morphine to dull the constant pain. He was in a drug induced stupor when the police forced their way into his flat and discovered the incriminating evidence.

So Brodie starts asking questions which several interested parties would rather he didn't.  It appears to be an open and shut case which they would like closed forever.  Brodie questions Rory's mother, Fiona, who they fought over as teenagers and she reveals that Rory is in fact Shug's son.  So why would he kill him?  Brodie is now convinced that Shug is about to pay the price for another's crimes and he joins forces with Shug's solicitor, Advocate Samantha Campbell.  She is also convinced of

Shug's innocence.  The boy from the tenements and the middle class girl begin to uncover what's behind the plot to make sure that Shug hangs. They discover vanishing witnesses, double dealing priests and a criminal network that extends  beyond Glasgow.

This is the first in a planned series featuring Brodie and it's a great opener.  The setting of post-war Glasgow is well evoked and brought vividly to life.  Brodie is an engaging character with a lot more back story to come.  I hope that Shug's story is also resolved in a future book as he was one of the Guinea Pigs of World War II and I did wonder what would happen to him next.  The characters are very believable as is the dialogue which gave a convincing flavour of dialect without being unreadable. The pace doesn't flag as it builds towards a satisfying climax.  I look forward to the next Brodie case.
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