Marvelous book. Wonderful book. I can say that it truly hit the spot - with a baseball bat of course. The story is classic - when the daughter of a very hard man meets a tragic end, he wants to know why. How he gets his information is through a journey filled with broken noses, kicks to the ribs, and, yes, a little vomit. At first, one thinks the story is just a delightful romp through very dark places (perhaps not delightful for the characters, but entertaining for the reader, to be sure)but toward the end there are revelations and discoveries and doubts brought out that raise the hard man to a level of pathos almost* reaching to that of the tragic hero. I didn't expect that the last ribs to be broken would be my own.
Of course, dark as this book is, it does feel like an introduction to life in Scotland -- just like the writings of another favorite, Russel McLean or another, Ian Rankin, or another, Val McDermid. With these representatives, Scotland will not soon be confused with a happy ending land like Hawaii.**
*I say almost, because the hero does not die (I don't think that's a spoiler since the hero himself seems not to care whether he lives or dies).
** Not that there was that much chance of confusion to start with.