The first of my summer holiday reads this year was The April Dead by Alan Parks. It's the fourth in the Harry McCoy series and it's another stunner in my humble opinion.
Things kick off with an explosion in a flat where the dead body of a bomb maker is found and there's evidence of a wounded victim who is nowhere to be seen. Later explosions will put Glasgow on full alert and everything seems to point to a full-scale outbreak of carnage when April finally arrives. Matters become more pressing when links to the Irish paramilitary are suspected and the British secret services decide they're not happy about McCoy sniffing around too closely.
Steve Cooper, childhood friend of McCoy, is about to come out of prison and something seems off. There's internal wrangling in the underworld and the only certainty is that things are not going to be sorted with handshakes and pats on the back.
And there's a missing American submariner from the US naval base whose father manages to grab McCoy's attention and has him investigating the case when he senses there may be overlaps between this and his other work.
The April Dead is thoroughly entertaining. Time and place are created very strongly and it can seem as if Parks has picked you up and placed you directly in the scene so you can see, hear, smell and feel what's going on around you (think virtual reality without any technology). McCoy and Cooper are terrific characters and the way that loyalties and morals are played with when they get together adds a great extra dimension. Plot is also terrific and the pacing is bang on.
There are places where apparent coincidences are stretched to the point of causing raised eyebrows, but those moments can be easily forgiven on account of the strength of the story and because of the complexity that these elements bring to the plot.
Seriously good and very entertaining. Cracking Scottish crime.