Book review: Aye, Barney by Douglas Lindsay

aye, barney douglas lindsayI’m barging into Barney Thomson’s story eight books in, but I still felt immediately at home with Aye, Barney.

Barney is a barber in Millport on the Scottish island of Cumbrae. I get the impression that Barney has found himself in proximity to violent crime a number of times in the past but now he is hoping for a tranquil life with his companions at the barbershop, Keanu and Igor, and his police officer partner, Monk.

However, a predatory businessman by the name of Crane, with a hyperbolic turn of phrase and a confected combover, is trying to take over the island. He wants to build a resort, complete with golf course. He’s even talking about independence – not of Scotland but of Cumbrae itself.

Then the (brutal but highly imaginative) killings start. Are Crane and his people to blame? Monk finally has a case worthy of her talents to investigate.

Barney’s is a strange and wonderful world. It is both comic and macabre. It fizzes with cultural references while affectionately parodying small-town life. The conversation between Barney, Keanu and Igor ranges from the philosophical to the absurd – and look out for the characters’ names!

Beneath it all there is a gentle melancholy as the peace which Barney seeks eludes him, even in this remote and beautiful place.

View Aye, Barney on Goodreads

Enjoyed this? If you like darkly comic crime fiction, take a look at my review of The Pope of Palm Beach by Tim Dorsey


  1. Although I’m not entirely sure this would be a match for me (comic and macabre is a blend that I sometimes struggle to find a balance with), I enjoyed reading your review. Do you feel the style is similar to Brookmyre’s? (Someone I’ve only recently discovered, and I’ve only read his first.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve only read two books by Lindsay but I’d say that although some of the themes are similar, the voice is quite different – there’s something quite melancholic and reflective in amongst the carnage! There are a few Scottish crime writers who combine very dark stories and bleak humour – Stuart MacBride being another of my favourites.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.