Thursday, February 7, 2013

Review: LONG WAY DOWN (Gus Dury) by Tony Black

Long Way Down (Gus Dury #5)As I read LONG WAY DOWN I kept trying to place it within the existing Gus Dury continuity - the result being somewhere in-between GUTTED AND LOSS as there is no mention of Amy (prominent in LONG TIME DEAD) or the events proceeding LOSS (where Gus’ personal life is thrown to the wolves and his left with little more than macerated scraps of an existence). LONG WAY DOWN is a perfect standalone story made more meaningful by reading the full lengths. Gus isn’t the traditional PI, more an accidental finder by virtue of his loose association with the underworld and being mates with Mac the Knife and Hod – his cases are usually personal or to help out a friend in need.

In LONG WAY DOWN, Gus is tasked by one of Shakey’s subordinates, Danny Murray, to locate the whereabouts of a recently released former friend from jail suspected of getting into bed with some shady characters that threaten Shakey’s criminal empire. Barry Fulton has information, Shakey want it, Gus is forced to be the intermediary.

This is a simple enough scout and retrieve sort of tale with a distinct nod to the grimy Edinburgh Black so masterfully creates. The omnipresent grey clouds every judgement making a character interaction fall short of genuine (re: Barry’s former girlfriend), to the extent that even Gus’s motives and intention aren’t clear. Good stuff.

Despite being a novella, LONG WAY DOWN is very satisfying. It’s a well written self contained story that marks a solid entry point to the life of Gus Dury for new readers while providing a nice sidebar for those well into the series.

Hit up the labels to read my reviews of other books by Tony Black.

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