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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Allan Guthrie's Savage Night, from Polygon

If the economic mess we're in  has one benefit, I suppose it's that there are some great bargains about (if you have the spare cash to pay for them). This certainly extends to bookshops. I hate to think what these cut-price deals are doing to authors' incomes, but at least these incentives are getting people to buy books. I came across an extreme example of this when I went into a branch of British Bookshops a couple of weeks ago.

As I was casting my eye along the shelves, I noticed the Polygon label on the spine of a book. Polygon is one of the independent publishers that I wrote admiringly about a few weeks ago. The independents often bring out interesting books that, I suppose, don't fit the profiles that the big publishers work to. So I pulled the book from the shelf.

It was Allan Guthrie's Savage Night. It is Guthrie's fourth novel, and like the others is a crime novel of the hardboiled variety. There are no gentle lady gardeners in hot pursuit of erring butlers through the cucumber-sandwich-strewn gazibo here. This is a story of revenge between hard core Edinburgh villains, and instead of cucumber sandwiches there is blood and body parts.

The narrative writhes and surprises, tracking back and forth in time and between the various protagonists. The writing is both vivid in its description of the bloodletting and also at times very funny. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I wasn't surprised to find that brilliant writers such as Ian Rankin and Val MacDermid are fans of Guthrie's writing. If you come across Savage Night I would whole-heartedly recommend it to you.

Incidentally, when I came across the book in bookshop, it had been marked down from £8.99 to £7.99, and then further reduced to £3. But when I got to the till, the cashier told me it was now only £1. Which is a bargain, of course, but how can that even pay for the paper and the delivery costs? You can imagine how little money I put in Allan Guthrie's pocket in exchange for his very gripping story. But if someone reads this post and buys a copy, I'll feel that I've done something to repay him!

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