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The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris

The Hanging Shed by Gordon FerrisAs part of my ongoing quest to uncover fresh and emergingĀ  authors to read and review, Gordon Ferris has been on my radar for some time. I don’t read a great deal of crime fiction, but I decided to giveĀ  The Hanging Shed a go since its Kindle version was available at a bargain price prior to the novel’s full release on Corvus Books in March 2011. What really caught my eye was that this early release had already picked up some great reviews. The question remained, would it be good enough to overcome my natural reluctance to read crime novels?

Read on for a full review…

-- The Hanging Shed by Gordon Ferris a Review by Des Greene --

Douglas Brodie is in London trying establish a new career as a reporter whilst at the same time laying to rest the ghosts of his recent experiences fighting in WWII. When he gets the unexpected call to go back home to Scotland to help an old boyhood pal (a pal who betrayed him and stole his first love) he is minded not to bother. The fact that this now ex-friend Hugh Donovan is on death row for a crime he says he didn’t commit, and guilt that he has not been back to visit his mother since the war, eventually swings the balance and he reluctantly heads north.

From there onward the waters get murkier, and every stone that is turned reveals only more shady characters and loose ends that just won’t add up. As the date for Donovan’s hanging moves ever closer, Brodie, and Donovan’s legal advocate Sam Campbell find themselves in a dangerous race against time to uncover the truth.

Ferris’s descriptions of post war Glasgow are fascinating, and combined with his character portrayals, lend the feel of an old black and white movie to the book. The plot I found gripping from start to finish with plenty of twists to keep you guessing, and packed with enough corruption and the murkiest of underworld low-life to make you think twice about ever visiting Glasgow.

A failing of many novels in this genre is that the authors seem unable to resist bombarding you with boring facts; however in this case, whilst the author clearly knows his hardware, he admirably uses this knowledge sparingly. Although I’m no crime buff, I couldn’t spot any holes, gaping or otherwise, in the plot; only a small number of typos and one minor error were all I came across to be critical of.

Whilst I doubt I will ever be piling up my reading list with crime novels, The Hanging Shed has nevertheless won me over to this genre at least a little. I will definitely be checking out Gordon Ferris’s two earlier novels, Truth Dare Kill and The Unquiet Heart, at some time in the future. Verdict? Gripping stuff m’lud!

**Addendum: Gordon Ferris has kindly contacted me following my review and assured me that the small number of typos have been dealt with in the soon to be released hardback version. Unfortunately in the rush to meet Amazon’s pre-Christmas deadline for uploads an earlier proof of the book was submitted. D.G.

Already read The Hanging Shed? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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