From Publishers Weekly
In McLean's uneven debut, PI J. McNee, a former Dundee cop, still bears the physical and emotional scars from the car accident that killed his fiancée nine months earlier. When a local farmer, James Robertson, discovers the body of his estranged brother, Daniel, an apparent suicide, McNee reluctantly takes the case. Even though the pair hadn't spoken in 30 years, James can't believe Daniel killed himself. As McNee starts digging, he discovers that Daniel worked as a heavy for Gordon Egg, an ex-gangster turned club owner in London's seedy Soho district. When a woman claiming to know Daniel arrives in Dundee, followed by two vicious thugs with ties to Egg's empire, McNee realizes he may have stepped into something bigger than he can handle. McLean relies too heavily on American noir clichés—the tortured investigator, lost loves, crime bosses and their femme fatales—and never puts his distinctive stamp on the formula, despite the moody Scottish setting. (Dec.)
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Private investigator J. McNee is hired by a Scots farmer to investigate how his estranged brother lived his life in London. The farmer wants to understand why his brother returned to Dundee to commit suicide. McNee learns that the dead man was an enforcer for Gordon Egg, a notorious London criminal; his inquiries quickly bring Egg’s wife to McNee’s office, followed by a pair of sociopathic hard cases. Egg’s wife ends up brutally murdered, and McNee and his client may be next. At first, McNee seems a throwback to the classic American lone-wolf PI, alone but self-sufficient, at odds with the local cops, and utterly determined to follow his PI ethos, regardless of risk. But as the story proceeds, McNee’s personal demons—he mourns his late girlfriend and has shut himself off from friends—are winning the war for his stability and soul. The Dundee locale, some mordant Scots wit, and the plausibly clumsy showdown with the sociopaths in an ancient graveyard make this a promising debut. --Thomas Gaughan