Murder and drug-dealing are all in the day's work for DCI Charlie Anderson, but everything's on a different scale now that psychopath Billy McAteer is back on the streets of Glasgow. Simon Ramsay, a seemingly respectable businessman, receives a photograph attached to an e-mail threatening to expose embarrassing aspects of his private life if he doesn't come up with fifty tMurder and drug-dealing are all in the day's work for DCI Charlie Anderson, but everything's on a different scale now that psychopath Billy McAteer is back on the streets of Glasgow. Simon Ramsay, a seemingly respectable businessman, receives a photograph attached to an e-mail threatening to expose embarrassing aspects of his private life if he doesn't come up with fifty thousand pounds. In a state of panic he contacts his mistress, Laura Harrison, telling her a blackmailer has managed to get his hands on a compromising photo of them in bed together. Terrified of the consequences if her fiercely jealous husband finds out about her affair - and in a moment of madness that turns her world upside down - Laura enlists the services of Billy McAteer to deal with the blackmailer. Black Mail is a complex intrigue of drugs, blackmail and murder - and, this being Glasgow, the undercurrent of religious intolerance is forever bubbling just beneath the surface....
|Number of Pages||:||302 Pages|
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Black Mail Reviews
The first in a new series, Black Mail is a debut crime novel from Bill Daly and it’s set in contemporary Glasgow. Billed as twisty and atmospheric, the book introduces us to DCI Charlie Anderson. Long in the tooth and old fashioned in some ways, he knows the city inside out having made a fair few friends and enemies during the course of his career. His planned retirement has been recently postponed following the death of one of his superior officers, drawing him back into a particularly vexing investigation.Simon Ramsay, a successful and seemingly respectable businessman, receives an email with an incriminating photograph attached, which will be released to the press if he doesn’t come up with £50,000. In a state of panic he contacts his mistress, Laura, telling her about the compromising photograph of the two of them together. She in turn fears the retribution of her violent husband, Mike Harrison, who is not averse to menacing business practices himself. So to deal with the blackmailer Laura enlists the services of psychopath Billy McAteer, fresh out of jail. It’s a moment of madness that leads to some disastrous and entirely unexpected repercussions. It falls to DCI Anderson and his sidekick DS Tony O’Sullivan to deal with the murderous consequences of this ill-fated scheme.Though it’s a debut, Black Mail can proudly sit alongside books by far more established writers in the Glasgow noir field. Daly effortlessly incorporates the seedy underbelly of the city in his portrayal of bent bookie Mike Harrison. Simon Ramsay is a lily-livered and morally weak man, completely adrift in this underground world, and Daly cleverly puts the impetus of the plot on his lover Laura, who reveals her hidden strengths in trying to deal with the situation she finds herself in. The tension that arises for her is well portrayed, as McAteer turns the screws on her and places her life in danger.With the pace of the plot, your attention will be held throughout. The violence is swift and uncompromising, and necessary to the plot. McAteer is an exceptionally nasty piece of work and he adds to the overall tension of the book. He’s a sinister, ruthless and physically threatening hardman but the duplicity and violence in his nature are due to events in his past. McAteer is a great villain, yet his actions are only fuelled by the nefarious dirty dealings of the seemingly more respectable characters whose misdemeanours provide his bread and butter.Equally, the characterisation of DCI Charlie Anderson and his partner DS O’Sullivan are also strengths of the book. The stoicism and dry humour of Anderson, whose aura of having seen it all is ruffled a little as the case progresses, is set against the more gung-ho and slightly naïve attitude of O’Sullivan. The latter displays all the essential qualities of a good detective, under the careful tutelage of Anderson. The interaction between them is a real highlight of the book, and a fondness for both characters is quickly achieved by the author, which bodes well for further outings for them. It was also refreshing to see two police characters that didn’t conform to the well-worn stereotypes of crime fiction focusing on marriage break-ups, alcoholism and so on.All in all a highly enjoyable debut that fully captures the atmosphere and darker side of Glasgow, and the sordid dealings of some of its inhabitants. With the introduction of two brilliantly realised and likeable police protagonists, and an affectionate insight into their lives outside the job, Daly effectively sows the seed for a successful and long running series that I will be more than happy to return to. A solid police procedural and a writer to watch.
I thoroughly enjoyed Bill Daly’s first book, The Pheasant Plucker. It was an exuberant, funny caper, with hilarious plot twists and deliberately extreme characters. So, in Black Mail I was looking forward to more of the same. Well, I still got the humour but this time Daly also ventured into some very murky depths and grounded his story in a very real Glasgow. DCI Charlie Anderson’s been a policeman for a long time and is nearly ready to quit. He lives the life of a relatively normal family man but his work brings him into contact with sectarian violence, drugs, blackmail, torture and murder – not only among the city’s low-lifes, but also in the homes of some of its more affluent citizens. The city is so carefully evoked that it becomes a sort of character in itself and certainly colours the events that form the narrative. Billy McAteer, the main baddie, is a psycopath capable of very refined cruelties. When Laura Harrison hires him to get rid of a blackmailer who has a compromising photograph of her indulging in some extra-marital sex, she knows the dangers. She also knows the mayhem that would ensue if her husband got to see it. Daly very skilfully sets up the contract then adds a clever twist that throws everything (including this reader’s suspicions) into further confusion. It’s another very satisfying read and slots readily into the now fashionable category of tartan noir.
"Atmospheric and filled with great characters and humour. Centred around a blackmail plot and some dodgy criminals, this made me homesick for Glasgow and I shall be reading more from this author."
OK in parts. The plot seemed to get a bit convoluted at the end, and went off on a bit of a tangent with a terrorist plot line that didn't really add anything to the main story.I didn't really get very interested in the attempts to develop the private lives of some of the detectives.Overall no more than an OK read, and I don't see myself bothering with more in the series.
Great book, written brilliantly, enough description to make you feel like you're there. If this is his first crime novel it's as good as any other crime fiction I've read, will definitely read more in this series.
I liked the plot and the characters. YAY, no serial killer!! There's also some dark humor in the interactions between the suspects. I found some of the local words completely undecipherable and wish the author would provide a glossary for those of us who don't speak "scottish."
Crime and suffering in Glasgow. It was okay but it didn't really grab me.