There is a hopeless quality to LOSS, one that breads and multiplies through Gus Dury’s quest for vengeance over his brother’s untimely death. Author Tony Black has delivered one of the most emotional evocative noirs I’ve had the pleasure of reading – it’s tense, brutal, unforgiving, and entirely depressing. If a book could be described as a colour, LOSS would be grey. Every pages oozes noir, each chapter a nail in the coffin for hopes of a happy ending. Quality and completely endearing storytelling.
Gus, for his part, continues to grow as a strong minded character trying to make the best from a situation where the cards are constantly staked against him. He’s managed to dodge the drink, is back with his missus (at least temporarily), and has given up the PI gig. A visit to the local station at the request of Fitz soon turns all of that around and before long Gus is knee deep in the caper, indulging in illicit drugs and seeking a shrink to save his relationship with Debs.
The twists and hidden agendas provide the smoke and mirrors to keep you guessing while Gus and his accomplices trudge through the past in order to solve the present day mystery. More heart than previous instalments and more personal than other semi-PI related novels I’ve read, LOSS comes across as both a great piece of fiction, and an all too easy slice of reality. One could easily see how the actions of Gus could transpire into a real world situation. This isn’t all about guns, glory and babes. It’s guts, determination and loss.
As common as it is to say, LOSS is a real page turner. It’s like that car crash you cant look away from. No hope lies herein – pain is commonplace and Gus is just about ready to jump back on the Jack Taylor-like wagon to self made oblivion. Safe to say, LONG TIME DEAD has jumped a few places in my TBR. I can’t wait to read more of Gus Dury.
In a word – exceptional.