Monday, August 19, 2019

The Art of Dying

The Art of Dying is the third DI Westphall procedural by Douglas Lindsay. Due out 22nd Aug 2019 from Hachette on their Mulholland imprint, it's 416 pages and will be available in paperback, ebook, and audiobook formats.

This is an incredibly well written, very dark and atmospheric Scottish procedural (tartan noir, indeed). The protagonist is haunted by the ghosts of people from his past as a spy and as a policeman. It's not entirely clear from the sort of unreliable 1st person narrator if he's disturbed or dreaming these interactions or synchronizing the facts subconsciously.  Whatever the reason, the writing is razor sharp and the way the author has written in these interludes adds a lot of tension and atmosphere to the whole.

DI Ben Westphall has to solve the case whilst dealing with Russian money laundering and spy involvement, multiple murders in a posh retirement home, sexual minefields with a female vicar friend and confidant, as well as office politics with his superiors.  

There is a lot of graphic violence. There are several murders and they run the gamut from a sudden beating death after a football (soccer) match, to evisceration, beheading, intentional stifling (smothering), etc.  There is also a fair amount of  sexual tension and longing. The main protagonist is psychologically quite damaged and lonely, but also very intelligent and aware of his unhealthy mental state and unwilling to try to form a lasting relationship.

The language is rough, strongly R rated. It is used in context and not egregiously. I would say it's about average for a gritty police procedural. Despite being the third in the series, it works well enough as a standalone. 

This book will definitely appeal to fans of modern police procedurals who don't need to have every single plot thread tied up in a neat bow by the end. One of the most fascinating things about this book for me was watching Westphall sort through and disentangle the relative truth from all the lies all of the witnesses he interview were telling him.

Five stars for fans of gritty procedurals. I can definitely see this one being made for TV (with David Tennant, please, thank you)!

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes

No comments:

Post a Comment