‘Bad Blood’ by Heather Atkinson
If you can’t trust your family, who can you trust…?
Glasgow gangster Jamie Gray and his fellow Blood Brothers rule the Gallowburn Estate with an iron fist. No one messes around on their turf without consequences.
But when Jamie’s erstwhile dad, Jason Gray, reappears after many years away – some of them spent behind bars – the Blood Brothers are drawn into the murky and dangerous world of the toughest gangster of them all – The Queen of Glasgow, Toni McVay.
Toni is the head of the most powerful organised crime family in Scotland and, as the psychotic leader enjoys scooping out the eyeballs of those who displease her, Jamie has no option but to do her bidding.
With the love of his life Allegra still missing, his enemies closing in, and his family’s safety at risk, Jamie Gray faces the battle of his life. But with his father’s bad blood running through his veins, and the bravery and brains he has inherited from his mother Jackie, Jamie has all the tools he needs to survive.
When I wrote about Heather Atkinson’s first instalment in the Gallowburn series, ‘Blood Brothers’, last year, I pointed out that Scotland is “a country of contrasts.”
I felt that Atkinson displayed “an unpatronising affection for her street level protagonists. The characters are rendered as fully rounded humans with clear motivations and driving ambitions.”
It is my contention that these strengths continue in the sequel, ‘Bad Blood’. Here, from the opening assault of the first page – literally for some unruly locals, metaphorically for the reader – this is a visceral Scotland, with knee cappings, chains to the face and screwdriver-wielding toughs.
In fact, so tough is the environment, I kept expecting them to break out in Macbeth quotes, “But I am faint, my gashes cry for help,” said the ned as Jamie told the interlopers to fuck off.
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/Clean from my hand?” said Logan as he paused to scoop up the baseball bat studded with nails.
“Out, damned spot! Out, I say! . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him,” said Digger as he wrestled with his conscience before returning to mock Jamie for being in love with a vicar.
Now, there’s a mash up I’d love to see!
Until then I shall continue to the enjoy the safe pair of hands which is Heather Atkinson with her fast paced plotting, exciting action sequences and realistically rendered locations.
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Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre. Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow began with Blood Brothers in December 2020.
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