Bobby March Will Live Forever (Harry McCoy) by Alan Parks
|Bobby March Will Live Forever (Harry McCoy) by Alan Parks|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's book three in the series but it read so well as a standalone that I hadn't realised we were that far in. It's set in Glasgow in the seventies and I'll soon be looking for the first two books in the series.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368/9h28m||Date: March 2020|
|External links: Author's website|
In February 1964 Bobby March was on his way to London with fellow band members Tom, Scott, Barry and Jamie. He'd had to get his father to sign the contract for The Beatkickers, as Bobby wasn't old enough. And his father had been reluctant - he'd have preferred Bobby to get an apprenticeship, for the regular money. By July 1973 Bobby is back in Glasgow. The Beatkickers didn't survive and March is on his own, but hardly thriving. There's an obvious drug habit. Meanwhile, the police are consumed by the search for a missing girl, Alice Kelly.
Well, most of the police are. The case is being led by DS Bernie Raeburn and if he has one driving ambition it's to do Harry McCoy down. Whilst most of the police force is looking for Alice Kelly, McCoy is doing menial jobs which don't need any great skill or knowledge. He's also trying to keep out of Raeburn's way, but not entirely succeeding.
I regard the discovery of a good police procedural crime book as one of life's real treats: finding that book three reads perfectly well as a standalone and there are two earlier books to acquire and new ones to look forward to is about as close to perfection as reading gets. And Bobby March Will Live Forever is very, very good. It's set in Glasgow in the seventies and it catches the location and the time perfectly, without too much reliance on an impenetrable Glaswegian accent and dialect. You could walk the streets as you read the book and some awful memories are brought back as you realise exactly how some of the police acted at that time - and not just in Glasgow. If a confession had to be beaten out of a suspect then so be it. Lack of evidence? No problem!
The characterisation is excellent. Bernie Raeburn could have been two-dimensional, but isn't. Harry McCoy's the lead character, but it's the story which takes centre stage rather than McCoy, who has a great mixture of fallibilities. He doesn't always make the right - or even the wise - decision and he often has to work through what's right in his own mind. It's far from automatic. I liked Laura Murray, the fifteen-year-old wild child who has a reason for not going home which wasn't at all what McCoy had been expecting.
The plot is great too: neatly twisty and with a few surprises which I wasn't expecting. Top class stuff. I'd like to thank the publishers for letting Bookbag have a review copy.
For more Glasgow-based crime we can recommend Singing to the Dead by Caro Ramsay.
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