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Monday, 2 April 2012
‘Bitter Water’ by Gordon Ferris
It is the summer of 1946 and ex policeman, ex Soldier Douglas Brodie is now working as a journalist for the Glasgow Gazette as understudy to Chief Crime Reporter Wullie McAllister.
The brutal murder of a Town Councillor has Wullie’s nose twitching - Wullie is old school heading towards retirement and looking for that one last scoop by which to be remembered.
Accosted by a Highlander who says ‘call me Ishmael’ Brodie is asked to help a man accused of stealing some food. The man like so many other’s who fought in the war for king and country, has returned home to …nothing. No job. No family. No future. Ishmael had heard how along with lawyer Samantha Campbell, Brodie had fought for justice for his old friend Hugh Donovan (see The Hanging Shed). And he wants Brodie to obtain justice for Johnson.
With rumours of corruption in local government the people of Glasgow are tired of corrupt officials, so the appearance of a group of vigilantes who start to mete out their own brand of justice, is at first welcomed by the people, pleased to hear that those whom the law has failed to put behind bars are getting their comeuppance, but then things go too far.
Unfortunately, the vigilantes have chosen the Glasgow Gazette to air their views of violence against those they think deserve punishment, and soon Brodie is caught up in a web of deception, as he suspects he knows the identity of the leader of the vigilantes.
Bitter Water, like The Hanging Shed, portrays starkly the post war years, the poverty and shortages, and in many cases little immediate hope of anything better. Beautifully written this is an enthralling thriller, and highly recommended by this reviewer as a book not to be missed.
Gordon Ferris is an ex-techy in the Ministry of Defence, and ex-partner in one of the Big Four accountancy firms. He writes about the important things in life: conflicted heroes and headstrong women embroiled in tangled tales of life, love and death. Other books are The Unquiet Heart, Truth, Dare, Kill and the highly acclaimed The Hanging Shed.