Skip to main content


About a year ago I heard that Russel McLean's first novel had been released in paper in the UK. The Scottish born author keeps a fairly entertaining blog, and has until now been known for his short fiction. His first book THE GOOD SON has now been released here in the States.

McNee was a copper. His wife, his father-in-law, and McNee were in a car accident 9 months ago. McNee seriously hurt his leg, but his wife lost her life. The father-in-law blames McNee, but then again so does he. In McNee we follow him as he picks up the pieces of his life and sublimates his desire for redemption in unraveling the misery of others. McNee has gone private, and as THE GOOD SON begins James Robertson asks McNee to look into the recent suicide of his brother who Robertson hadn't seen in 30 years until he discovered his body with a noose around his neck.

So what works especially well about THE GOD SON is the lived in quality of Mr. McLean's prose. A big problem with much of the Crime Fiction I have read over the last few years is the heavy handed approach to plot, character, and setting . Things are happening, but only because the writers says so. Yes, it is fiction and everything is a construct, but a good author should be able to draw you organically into the story. To Mr. McLean's credit he has a gentle hand. Of course this praise is tempered with the feeling that THE GOOD SON suffers from a lack of reach. Yes, THE GOOD SON is well written, but I've read something like this before. The story feels worn and lacking in inspiration. The prose is never lazy, but never soars. It is a first novel, and I hope the next one just takes a few more chances.


Popular posts from this blog

The Very Best of Mr. Dennis Lehane

I thought this post would appear in October. Ya, know when SHUTTER ISLAND: THE MOVIE was supposed to be released. And then it wasn't. Something about Leo not being able to do 'press' for the movie. Doesn't really matter the reason, a February release date has one of those fancy Hollywood meanings: Not Good.

Look I'll be honest, I didn't connect with SHUTTER ISLAND. I loved the fifties setting, the haunted house atmosphere, and impending doom of the Hurricane. Even the set-up of the story was intriguing but how it played out just didn't work for me. Some interesting characters, a bunch of great set pieces, but the ending announces itself with an expected, thud that went nowhere.

Am I still going to the movie? Its Lehane, Scorsese, Leo, and Ruffalo of course I am. Anyway the list.

8. Prayers for Rain - 1999
The last Kenzie-Gennaro book follows our heroes as they investigate a guy who is terrorizing women into committing suicide. The book played like an episode o…

The Very Best of Mr. Michael Connelly - Part I

I was about 50 pages into the latest Michael Connelly book, THE SCARECROW, when I flipped to the front. This is the 20th novel. I decided that rather than write a review of the novel, pretty good by the way, I would write a think piece about the relationship between a highly regarded crime novelist and how reader's take for granted the author if the high standard to which they have become accustomed to is not maintained over a lengthy run of books.

This idea was quickly abandoned out of laziness. Instead, I decided to take a cue from my friend, Peter, who recently ranked all of the James Bond films. I didn't feel I could tackle all 20 novels so the list below is just the non-Harry Bosch books. Mr. Connelly's next book 9 DRAGONS releases in October so don't be surprised to see a Bosch only list then.

I wrote this list up a couple weeks ago. I have given it some time to marinate. I did make any changes but I do want to say that there is a definite break between ranking 5…

Live By Night: First Image

First image from Live By Night the latest Dennis Lehane novel to be directed by Ben Affleck has appeared. Here is the accompanying article from Indiewire.
What can you say about one singular image from a film that will include a hundred thousand or so? It looks good. I'm a sucker for big fields of grass, what can I say? I have enjoyed all of Ben Affleck's directing efforts to date, even if I wasn't wowed by any of them. I don't mean to damn him with faint praise. He is a solid, unpretentious director of capital m 'Movies'. And even if he wasn't making the best thing Dennis Lehane has written in the last ten years I would still go see his next effort.
The movie is slated for a 2017 release which I'm not certain should be believed. In spite of the film already vacating a Fall 2016 date, if the movie is even kind of  good, dollars to donuts it sneaks into a late 2016 release for Award show consideration. A 2017 release date seems more accurate, if early t…