After a rather lengthy wait in my TBR, I finally got around to reading the second Gus Dury novel by Tony Black. 'Gutted' definitely shows some character growth and pushes the series in the right direction. My review is as follows:
Gus Dury, the unfashionable PI of sorts returns for a second go-round in 'Gutted' - an apt title if ever there was on. Since taking on Col's bar, things have gone down hill - living life through the bottom of a pint glass has not only deteriorated Gus' health but also his cash flow. Unfortunately for Gus, life is about to go a whole lot more complicated when he discovers a grisly murder while trying to rescue a dog from a bunch of hoods pent up on animal cruelty.
The body turns out to be that of a gangster who trains pit bulls for dog fighting - one of his pit pulls had earlier been responsible for the death of a three year old girl - a judges daughter. Immediately the murder looks to be a clear cut case of vengeance served until the cops finger Gus for it.
There is a lot to like about 'Gutted'; the free flowing dialogue really puts you in the thick of the environment, the characters are all tainted (those on both sides of the law), there is a splattering of reader references through Gus' past-time, and a likeness to the damaged protagonist not too dissimilar to Ken Bruen's Jack Taylor. The ex-wife returns with a bombshell and the cops are ever persistent in making Gus' life hell - no wonder he seeks solace in the bottom of a bottle.
Not only is 'Gutted' a well plotted whodunit murder mystery, it also portrays the growth (err, perhaps I mean slow demise?) of Gus and meets his addition head on. This is by far the best book I've read by Tony Black to date - 4 stars.
My review of the previous Gus Dury novel, 'Paying For It' can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/122469437