As part of my Denzil Meyrick binge event, what better place is there to start after my read of the prequel to the series (Two One Three), than with the first in the series “Whisky from Small Glasses”.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
When the body of a young woman is washed up on an idyllic beach on the west coast of Scotland, D.C.I. Jim Daley is despatched from Glasgow to lead the investigation. Far from home, and his troubled marriage, it seems that Daley’s biggest obstacle will be managing the difficult local police chief; but when the prime suspect is gruesomely murdered, the inquiry begins to stall. As the body count rises, Daley uncovers a network of secrets and corruption in the close-knit community of Kinloch, thrusting him and his loved ones into the centre of a case more deadly than he had ever imagined. The first novel in the D.C.I. Daley Thriller series, Whisky from Small Glasses is a truly compelling crime novel, shot through with dark humour and menace.
When I first met up with Jim Daley, he was a fresh faced recruit on the mean streets of Glasgow. This time round he has been promoted to DCI and has been sent to a sleepy little hamlet on the West Coast of Scotland to investigate the murder of a young woman. And it soon becomes clear that when Scottish crime fiction is involved there is no such thing as sleepy little hamlets!Corruption, drugs and prostitution are the name of the game in Kinloch and DCI Daley soon finds himself caught up in the midst of a dark and deadly investigation.
Jim Daley is one of those detectives that you can’t help yourself engaging with. It was easy to build up that mental picture of him in my head and while he might have been pushing the top end of his optimum weight range and overcome with a weariness there was something definitely intriguing and indeed charismatic about him. He is not a man to suffer fools gladly and is quick with his tongue when needed, yet his relationship with his wife, Liz, highlighted a real sense of vulnerability about him.
Daley’s sidekick DS Brian Scott is one of those characters that just had me laughing the whole time; typical Glesga banter and a dark sense of humour meant he was a perfect pairing for the more dour face of Daley. There was a real sense of camaraderie between the two and a real sense of Scott having Daley’s back at all times.
Denzil Meyrick has created some extremely well-developed and rounded characters; there is a real feeling of getting to know them as people and the book is more than simply a police procedural. Local dialects, a very real sense of place alongside excellent characterisation made for an authentic and compelling read. Set in the fictional town of Kinloch, it was hard to believe that this was not a real location, described perfectly it gave that real claustrophobic yet supportive feeling of a small town and its residents.
The plot is dark, it is brooding and it drew me right in. Well thought out and tightly plotted by the time I was nearing the end I was reading as fast as I could as I HAD to know what had happened! It ramped up my heartbeat towards the end of the investigation that’s for sure! Plenty of twists and red herrings to keep the armchair detectives happy and I certainly didn’t work it out right til the end!
Despite dark nature of the book it is not without the dark Scottish humour that gives Scottish crime fiction that edge. Is it wrong that I snorted with laughter as a body was recovered from the water! And indeed there were a few snorts throughout this book!
Whisky from Small Glasses was certainly a perfectly packaged debut novel and I’m only disappointed in myself for not discovering this series before now! However every cloud has a silver lining and all that as I now have another 4 books to read in the series and a new one being released in September 2018!
Dark, dangerous and peppered with a good dose of Scottish humour this is an example of tartan noir at its best.
Whisky from Small Glasses is available to purchase from: