Bloody January by Alan Parks / Review. @ Cannongate Books. Gritty crime.



When a teenage boy shoots a young woman dead in the middle of a busy Glasgow street and then commits suicide, Detective Harry McCoy is sure of one thing. It wasn’t a random act of violence.

With his new partner in tow, McCoy uses his underworld network to lead the investigation but soon runs up against a secret society led by Glasgow’s wealthiest family, the Dunlops.

McCoy’s boss doesn’t want him to investigate. The Dunlops seem untouchable. But McCoy has other ideas . . .

In a helter-skelter tale – winding from moneyed elite to hipster music groupies to the brutal gangs of the urban wasteland – Bloody January brings to life the dark underbelly of 1970s Glasgow and establishes Alan Parks as a new and exciting voice in Scottish noir.


My first read by this author; but wont be my last. This was a great read where the lines between good and bad are blurred so much to be indistinct. Set in early 70’s Glasgow it is a read of it’s times. Political correctness has still to an appearance and feminism is still a struggling bud on the tree of life. But though there is no technology such as mobile phones, computers and no WWW. The roots of institutional Racism, chauvinism and corruption were prevalent then as now! The characters are well fleshed out and though McCoy is nominally the hero; he is a policeman after all and people like the Dunlops and Cooper are the bad guys, you find out as you read on they could be opposite sides of the same coin. Trigger points: sexual exploitation, violence and coarse language. But don’t let this put you off. A great read!




Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was one of the top crime debuts of 2018 and was shortlisted for the prestigious international crime prize the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.


Book 2: February’s Son.


Book 3: Bobby March Will Live Forever.



Available at all good booksellers.



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