Tuesday, January 03, 2006

I Dinnae Like Mclean...

I've just read three of Russel Mclean's short stories in three issues of AHMM that I happened to have lying around. (Actually on a bookshelf.) I didn't like them, I LOVED them.

The stories "Coughing John," "Regrets," and "Dudman's Word," center around the work of P.I. Sam Bryson of Dundee. Here's the thing: even though these are short stories - Sam Bryson is fully fleshed out in each of the stories. You get to know him very quickly - you know he takes the "private" part of his title very seriously - like it's his personal task to see that justice is done. You also get to know that his girlfriend Ros is everything to him.

More than that, Mclean is gifted with a talent for making all his characters come alive in just a few short lines. The criminals, the victims, the police officers who sometimes make use of Bryson's talents, and the people who work in Bryson's office. They all quickly become real in Mclean's hands.

And then there is the realism factor - bad things happen in this world. Even though it is AHMM (recently criticized as too cozy in other places which I can't link to only because I can't recall who said it) a head gets blown open in "Dudman's Word," a story that also features an abused wife, and a homeless man is callously murdered in "Coughing John." Also, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it but, "Arse" and some variations on that word get sprinkled in liberally. The three stories are quite Noiry if you ask me with "Coughing John" being most Noir in my opinion.

Anyway, a full interview with the man will be posted on my website in a week or two. I'll keep you informed.


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