In Tony Black’s Long Time Dead , journalist turned reluctant private investigator Gus Dury is in the gutter again but he’s still looking at the stars, albeit through the bottom of a bottle of whisky.
Long Time Dead starts off with Gus waking up in hospital, after a particularly prolific drinking session, and being told that he’s close to knocking on heaven’s door. Gus, of course, ignores the doctor’s advice and immediately checks out of the hospital. After a little arm-twisting, he decides to help out his best friend, Hod, and investigate the suspicious death by hanging of a famous actress’ son.
While sniffing around, Gus finds a rancid trail that leads from the top end of Edinburgh society down into its murky sewers. And back again.
Punch-drunk and booze addled, Gus’ shoulders have more chips than Harry Ramsden and he just can’t stop kicking against the pricks with his puke encrusted Doc Martins.
Gus isn’t for everyone, of course, and his scatter shot bile can be wide of the mark – a man wearing eyeliner, how shocking Gus!- but when he’s on target you’re with him all the way.