My Gun Was As Tall As Me by Toni Davidson

Important Questions In 2000, a collection of interviews with new writers was published called Repetitive Beat Generation. It featured Roddy Doyle, Alan Warner, Sarah Champion, Irvine Welsh and Duncan McLean amongst others. One of those…



The Magicians of Edinburgh by Ron Butlin

A Changing Edinburgh Ron Butlin has come a long way from the relative obscurity that dogged his career as a novelist and poet in the 1980s and 1990s. After the rediscovery of his coruscating 1987…



The Guilty One by Lisa Ballantyne

Crime and Judgement London lawyer Daniel Hunter, still stinging from the guilty conviction of a teenager he defended the previous year, is drawn to defending a child accused of murder. Eleven year-old Sebastian was the…



The Healing of Luther Grove by Barry Gornell

Highland Gothic All books have a genealogy. Barry Gornell’s debut novel The Healing of Luther Grove has a particularly strong parentage: the forest set class struggle of Robin Jenkins’ The Cone Gatherers mixed with the…



Full Scottish Breakfast by Graham Fulton

Special Effects Graham Fulton is one of our most productive and inventive poets; the Dyson, you could call him, of contemporary lyric poetry: always experimenting and refining new ways of elegantly and stylishly sucking you…



Havisham by Ronald Frame

New Expectations Dickens’ Miss Havisham, his eternal bride from Great Expectations, has to be one of the most notorious female figures in literary fiction. Jilted by her lover on her wedding day, she spends the…



Where the Bodies are Buried by Chris Brookmyre

This is Glesca Revenge, drugs, violence, Glasgow hard men and a tough but weary cop. So far so familiar. Where the Bodies are Buried starts with a gangland revenge killing and proceeds with a plot…



The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina

Fargo and Family Life Exploring family life, justice, gender and class, Denise Mina is in recognizable territory in her ninth novel The End of the Wasp Season. This foray into the intricacies of a murder…



Killing the Messenger by Christopher Wallace

Adland Politics Killing the Messenger is the latest offering from Christopher Wallace. A political conspiracy based around the idea of “an extraordinary formula, one that could truly change attitudes, behaviours and buying habits, all that…



The Immaculate Heart by Andrew Raymond Drennan

Melancholic Humour There is an inuring line of melancholic humour that runs through The Immaculate Heart, a compelling new novel about the nature of love. Starting and concluding with a funeral – one a depressingly…



The Echo Chamber by Luke Williams

High Sights Early in Luke Williams’s wonderful new novel The Echo Chamber there are two scenes that are telling of the writer’s attitudes towards authorship and literary construction. The first is a delicious piece of…



Terrific Melancholy by Roddy Lumsden

Desire has a coast Such is the diversity, bawd and shimmer of the language on offer, it is hard to know where to start this review of Lumsden’s sixth collection since 1997’s critically acclaimed Yeah…



Pack Men by Alan Bissett

Feeling Blue If Scotland’s father of working class consciousness James Kelman had a literary son it might be Alan Bissett. Doubtless the uncompromising Kelman would dismiss his offspring’s fey metrosexuality, a capitalist affectation. He’d be…



Can The Gods Cry? by Allan Cameron

Breaking the Rules In the afterword to Can The Gods Cry?, the author states, “As I reread these short stories before publication, my principal emotion was one of disappointment at their inability to live up…



Gillespie and I by Jane Harris

Questions or Answers Is the heroine of Jane Harris’s second historical novel a dangerous psychopath or a misunderstood spinster? That one could so easily be mistaken for the other is part of the fun Harris…



Ever Fallen In Love by Zoe Strachan

Playing Dead Zoe Strachan’s eagerly awaited third novel, Ever Fallen In Love, resonates with themes of identity and sexuality that have come to characterise not only her own writing, but that of the new wave…



The Incomers by Moira McPartlin

Cultural Divides My main concern, before I began to read this book, was, “How could a white woman write convincingly about a black woman facing racial prejudice?” But Moira McPartlin has done just that. Despite…



So It Is by Liam Murray Bell

Dealing in Death Liam Murray Bell’s So It Is is a bildungsroman set in west Belfast during the decades of the Troubles. Twelve year old Aoife’s mother experiences a mental breakdown in the aftermath of…



Split Screen: Poetry Inspired by Film & TV Edited by Andy Jackson

Yoda’s Calling Launched last March at StAnza, Scotland’s distinguished poetry festival in St. Andrews, Split Screen: Poetry Inspired by Film & tv collects poems about British media icons. Edited by Dundee-based poet Andy Jackson, the…



Reality, Reality by Jackie Kay

All the Ages Often being master of all of your trades can dilute the effect of the whole. Jackie Kay is most widely known for her poetry since her first collection The Adoption Papers in…