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THE GOOD SON - Review

About a year ago I heard that Russel McLean's first novel had been released in paper in the UK. The Scottish born author keeps a fairly entertaining blog, and has until now been known for his short fiction. His first book THE GOOD SON has now been released here in the States.

McNee was a copper. His wife, his father-in-law, and McNee were in a car accident 9 months ago. McNee seriously hurt his leg, but his wife lost her life. The father-in-law blames McNee, but then again so does he. In McNee we follow him as he picks up the pieces of his life and sublimates his desire for redemption in unraveling the misery of others. McNee has gone private, and as THE GOOD SON begins James Robertson asks McNee to look into the recent suicide of his brother who Robertson hadn't seen in 30 years until he discovered his body with a noose around his neck.

So what works especially well about THE GOD SON is the lived in quality of Mr. McLean's prose. A big problem with much of the Crime Fiction I have read over the last few years is the heavy handed approach to plot, character, and setting . Things are happening, but only because the writers says so. Yes, it is fiction and everything is a construct, but a good author should be able to draw you organically into the story. To Mr. McLean's credit he has a gentle hand. Of course this praise is tempered with the feeling that THE GOOD SON suffers from a lack of reach. Yes, THE GOOD SON is well written, but I've read something like this before. The story feels worn and lacking in inspiration. The prose is never lazy, but never soars. It is a first novel, and I hope the next one just takes a few more chances.

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