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Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris

Bitter Water by Gordon FerrisGordon Ferris’ first Douglas Brodie novel, The Hanging Shed, caused quite a stir when it was published in 2011, particularly on Kindle where it punched its way quickly to the top of the popularity charts. Judging by that success, it is likely that an army of fans are eagerly awaiting Brodie’s second outing in the follow up — Bitter Water. The dark and brooding atmosphere and action packed story line of the first novel are certainly a tough act to follow, read my full review below to see if Gordon Ferris’ latest manages to hit the spot.

Oh, and one last thing before we get onto the main review, when I wrote this the Kindle version of the book was being sold at a very reasonable price. Click here for Amazon.com and here for Amazon.co.uk.

Read on for a full review…

-- Bitter Water by Gordon Ferris a Review by Des Greene --

Let’s be honest about this, Bitter Water is not the type of book you read for intellectual fulfillment. We all need a little bit of escapism from time to time, and whether this forms the majority of your reading or just a few stolen hours on a beach once a year, who cares? Sometimes an all-action, no-holds-barred thriller is just what the doctor ordered. But when we do fancy that type of read, why should we have to put up with sub-standard characters or description? That is what I have grown to like about Gordon Ferris — we get a proper fix of action and excitement, but he also appears to consider that quality of writing is equally important.

His creation, Douglas Brodie, is an ex Glasgow police officer who, after recently being de-mobbed following the Second World War, is trying to establish himself as a journalist (his initial choice of private detective having proved rather too risky for comfort). When he finds himself reporting on a murder case, Brodie and the authorities initially suspect a group of local vigilantes who are taking the law into their own hands. But, as the murder count increases, he soon starts to realise that all is not as it seems and a web of deceit and official corruption begins to be unravelled.

Although some characters, such as Brodie’s on/off love interest, Samantha Campbell, are carried over from The Hanging Shed, it is in no way essential to have read the previous book. If you have read it though, it is inevitable that comparisons will be made. I found the initial impact of the Glasgow surroundings was somewhat diminished, but as that was such a striking aspect of the first book I guess it is only to be expected. Brodie himself is still the same tough but rather likable character, and retains that almost-unbreakable nature that, if we are honest, is only ever found in books and films — but we are after escapism here, are we not? Other new and colourful characters are to be found amongst Brodie’s colleagues on the Glasgow Gazette. His editor, Eddie Paton, and the reporter who takes him under his wing, Wullie McAllister, are both believably hard-bitten creatures, fashioned by their surroundings and experiences. Finally, the prose is delivered in that same authentic, but not intrusive, Glasgow twang that is another feature of Gordon Ferris’ style.

I have to say, I enjoyed this crime thriller a great deal, and have no doubts that it will prove to be equally as popular as The Hanging Shed. If you read that book and enjoyed it, then you should have no qualms about getting hold of a copy of Bitter Water. The same holds true if you have never read Ferris before but simply enjoy a good old-fashioned slice of action packed crime fiction.

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

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