THE HURTING finds DS Angus Thoroughgood recovering from injuries from his most recent adventures in Parallel Lines and questioning his career with the Glasgow police force. After handing in his resignation, Thoroughgood is pulled back into the line of duty once his recovery at the police convalescence home, Castlebrae, is complete.
Terrorist attacks in and around Glasgow see Thoroughgood, alongside his partner DC Hardie, return to action. As their world as they know it and the city they love falls apart, the pair work alongside MI5 in a race to discover the source of these attacks.
The second instalment in the DS Thoroughgood series of novels by RJ Mitchell, The Hurting picks up right where Parallel Lines left off and sends Thoroughgood and Hardie on a rollercoaster ride through Glasgow’s seedy underworld and that of international terrorism.
The Hurting sees author RJ Mitchell drawing from his 12 years of experience as a Glasgow police officer to provide an accurate portrayal of real life police work whilst guiding the reader through an intricate plot filled with lies and subterfuge.
Today I am reviewing the second book in the DS Thoroughgood series by R. J. Mitchell as part of the blog tour. You can read my review of the first book, Parallel Lines, here. Thanks again to Emma Welton of damp pebbles blog tours for inviting me to take part in the tour and to the author and publisher for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
This book carries on straight after the ending of the last book. In a lot of ways it is similar, same frenetic pace, same rollercoaster excitement and vivid portrayal of the seedy underside of Glasgow, but in other ways it is different, different enemy, different dangers and a changed DS Thoroughgood.
At the beginning of the book, a heartbroken Gus Thoroughgood cannot see any point in going on without the love of his life and considers quitting the force. But, he is a policeman through and through and we see his instincts kick in as he and Hardie encounter some familiar criminal faces on their way back to Glasgow from his month’s recuperation in Perthshire. What starts out as a simple car chase soon gives way to a much bigger and more terrifying prospect as the policemen find themselves embroiled in an international terror plot, which eventually turns personal.
Look, I’m going to be honest here, I wasn’t 100% convinced about the authenticity of some events in this book. Given the scale and threat of what is happening in Glasgow, I find it hard to believe that two policemen of the lowly ranks of Thoroughgood and Hardie would allowed to be embroiled in the investigation to the level they are, or that a lot of their maverick behaviour would be tolerated, never mind celebrated (Although my experience of policing is nil, so I could be wrong.) However, once you set aside any demands for realism in the plot, this is a rip-roaring story that is gripping and eminently readable. After all, the plots of most action movies are complete bunkum but that doesn’t stop many of us enjoying them as a piece of entertainment and, if you approach this book in the same way, it is a heart-stopping read. The story fairly races along, rarely stopping to allow the reader to catch their breath, with action from first page to last, and a huge body count along the way. Be prepared for George R. R. Martin levels of character disposal. It’s best not to get too attached to anyone in this book.
Another thing that struck, and amused me, was that this book is pretty much a middle-aged man’s fantasy. DS Thoroughgood, who I have pictured in my mind’s eye as a fairly ordinary bloke, spends quite a lot of the book seducing, or being seduced, by a succession of attractive, lithe young women who all happily fling themselves into bed with him with enthusiasm and nary a pause for consideration. Again, maybe this is reflective of the every day experience of your average Glaswegian detective (if so, the Irishman is considering a change of job and location), but I suspect not, Again, there is nothing wrong with this but, I would request that in future novels the author consider that a large proportion of his readership are likely to be women and he might like to throw in some eye candy for us girls too! (Also, he got over Celine pretty quickly, given how devastated he was supposed to be by her loss. We women take a dim view of such fickleness, Mr Mitchell!)
Overall, Gus Thoroughgood is a roguish, charming and gung ho copper (maybe this is what the women see in him and I’ve just grown out of this type of machismo as a sexual lure) who is a fun person to read about. The author is skilled at providing us with an action-packed and gripping plot, and bringing the streets of Glasgow to life, albeit it mostly peopled with villains and rotters. As close to escapism as you can get in violent crime thriller form, which is not a sentence I have contemplated typing before. I am really looking forward to reading the third book in this series for review next week.
The Hurting is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Please do follow the rest of the tour for alternative reviews:
About the Author
Robert James Mitchell was brought up in Stirling. Mitchell was initially detailed beat duties out of the former Blackhill Police Office and then Baird Street Police Office in the former ‘D’ Division, or the North, as it was known to all the men who served in the division. In January, 2007, while recovering from an appendicitis, Mitchell decided to write the first draft of ‘Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy‘, drawing heavily on his own experiences and featuring the characters of Detective Sergeant Gus Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie.
Connect with Robert:
Facebook: R J Mitchell Crime Writer