Jul 27 2012 by Gregor White, Stirling Observer Friday
The Hurting: The Glasgow Terror, by RJ Mitchell
Published by Fledgling Press
ON his first outing former Stirling man Bert Mitchell’s police hero, DS Gus Thoroughgood, was engaged in a strictly personal battle involving himself, a deadly criminal and the woman they both professed to love.
As befits a second novel things are considerably more expansive this time round and RJ Mitchell’s latest presents a truly chilling scenario: fundamentalist terrorists wreaking havoc on the streets of Scotland’s largest city.
Keeping readers on the edge of their seats throughout, the author is a skilled exponent of the action set piece as outrage mounts on outrage and a rawly grieving DS Gus Thoroughgood (see that first novel, Parallel Lines, if you want to know why he’s in such a state) faces a race against time to kick the legs out from under the evildoers before they can unleash their ultimate weapon.
There are obvious potholes such a story could have fallen into here, not least that of blinkered mad mullah territory.
Thankfully Mitchell manages to avoid the traps, in part by not being afraid to look at things from the terrorist point of view.
Raising interesting questions by doing so this is still a novel with its sights set firmly on action.
Full of red herrings and false dawns - plus a leftfield “no way!” surprise return - this is a thriller packed full of blood and sweat that also has its human side: none more so than in the rendering of a Saturday morning, West End sniper attack that raises the pulse, no question, but also left me with a surprisingly large lump in my throat besides.
Using its location well most of the terror in the Glasgow Terror comes from the way Mitchell turns such familiar city settings as Braehead Shopping Centre and Buchanan Street, as well as the probably less familiar network of tunnels running under the streets, to his own thrilling ends.
This is a welcome addition to the Tartan Noir fold.