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Sunday 10 August 2014

‘Gallowglass’ by Gordon Ferris

Published by Corvus,
3 April 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-7823-9075-6

Gallowglass (Scots Gaelic): an elite Scottish mercenary warrior

Glasgow: June 1947. Douglas Brodie, chief crime reporter on the Glasgow Gazette, is anticipating a quiet few months at his job and enjoying his relationship with advocate Samantha Campbell when he is contacted by Sheila Gibson, wife of the wealthy banker Sir Fraser Gibson. Gibson has been kidnapped and the kidnappers are demanding a ransom of £20,000. If the police are contacted Gibson will  be killed so Sheila asks Brodie to deliver the ransom money with the utmost discretion. Brodie is initially unwilling but Sheila is desperate so Brodie agrees and accepts the small payment that Sheila offers him. But when he finally gets to the rendezvous he is attacked by an unseen person and knocked out; when he recovers consciousness Gibson is there all right - but dead. The police arrive almost at once: Brodie is the obvious suspect. Bad enough that his fingerprints are on the gun that killed Gibson and that the investigating officer is his old adversary Detective Chief Inspector Walter Sangster who would be quite happy to see Brodie hang. Worse still is that Sheila denies all knowledge of Brodie. Worst of all is that Brodie, still haunted by his experiences in the war (North Africa, Normandy, Berlin) and in post-war Glasgow (see Ferriss earlier novels The Hanging Shed, Bitter Water, Pilgrim Soul) cannot be sure that he did not after all kill Gibson. He is arrested and detained in prison and so cannot himself investigate what actually happened. So he, Samantha and his MI5 contact Harry Templeton concoct a brilliant deception which will free him from jail and free him to find the truth about Gibsons death the heart of which, Brodie believes, lies in the vaults of Gibsons bank.

This is an exciting and ingenious thriller in the vein of Raymond Chandler with a strong sense of period in particular Britain’s parlous economic condition at the time.
Reviewer: Radmila May

Gordon Ferris was born and bred in Kilmarnock. After school where he enjoyed writing and rugby he took a job working for the Ministry of Defence, procuring guided missiles and a tactical nuclear weapons system, before moving to global accountancy firm Price Waterhouse, making partner in seven years. But something inside was calling him back to writing. On a long haul flight with a laptop and hours to kill, he began the internal journey that led to Truth Dare Kill and its sequel The Unquiet Heart. With the launch in early 2011 of the first 'Brodie' book - The Hanging Shed , which was followed by Bitter Water.
Pilgrim Soul is his latest book

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