Book review: Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks (Harry McCoy #3)

bobby march by alan parksIt’s 1973. It’s Glasgow. It’s very hot. Detective Harry McCoy is embroiled in three different cases: the abduction of a thirteen-year-old girl, Alice, his boss’s runaway teenage niece, and the death by overdose of rock star and local hero Bobby March in a hotel room. It’s a shame then, that he isn’t officially working on any of them. All while balancing his friendships with criminals and his feuds with colleagues.

The heat contributes to the claustrophobic buildup of fear and tension as the police fail to find Alice. As time goes on it looks increasingly likely that she is dead. McCoy has been marginalised from the main investigation, given an unpromising robbery case to work on, but he is convinced the team are going down the wrong track. He’s got his hands full, though, as the other cases he’s freelancing on both have a personal angle.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is just what I look for in a crime novel. A distinctive voice, morally ambiguous characters, a rich vein of dark humour, and a cleverly layered story. This is the third in the series but the first I’ve read and it didn’t matter. You can pick up on the dynamics, even if you don’t know the specifics.

It’s rich in the flavour of the city and the period, authentic, but not weighed down with self-conscious period detail. We’re seeing it through McCoy’s eyes, and to him it’s just life. The three stories are only tangentially connected, and they aren’t neatly tied together, but that’s okay, because that’s life too.

I received a copy of Bobby March Will Live Forever from the publisher via Netgalley.
View Bobby March Will Live Forever on Goodreads

 

2 Comments

  1. Interesting question. I think it depends on the genre – if it’s a cosy cat mystery then your expectations of realism are lower than for a police procedural. But I guess all stories have genre conventions and rely on events falling into place in a certain way.

    We all do it – if you’re telling someone a funny story about something that happened to you that day, you probably edit out the boring bits and change up the order to get the maximum effect.

    I think for me I don’t mind too much if the procedure isn’t entirely accurate or if the author slightly changes real-life events, as long as the characters and their motivations are believable. But everyone has their own line.

    Liked by 1 person

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