First in “a crime trilogy so searing it will burn forever into your memory. McIlvanney is the original Scottish criminal mastermind” (Christopher Brookmyre, international bestselling author).
The Laidlaw novels, a groundbreaking trilogy that changed the face of Scottish fiction, are credited with being the founding books of the Tartan Noir movement that includes authors like Val McDermid, Denise Mina, and Ian Rankin. Says McDermid of William McIlvanney: “Patricia Highsmith had taken us inside the head of killers; Ruth Rendell tentatively explored sexuality; with No Mean City, Alexander McArthur had exposed Glasgow to the world; Raymond Chandler had dressed the darkness in clever words. But nobody had ever smashed those elements together into so accomplished a synthesis.”
In Laidlaw, the first book of the series, readers meet Jack Laidlaw, a hard-drinking philosopher-detective whose tough exterior cloaks a rich humanity and keen intelligence. Laidlaw’s investigation into the murder of a young woman brings him into conflict with Glasgow’s hard men, its gangland villains, and the moneyed thugs who control the city. As the gangsters running Glasgow race Laidlaw for the discovery of the young woman’s killer, a sense of dangerous betrayal infests the city that only Laidlaw can erase.
“From the opening chapter of Laidlaw, I knew I’d never read a crime novel like this.” —Val McDermid, international bestselling author
“It’s doubtful I would be a crime writer without the influence of McIlvanney’s Laidlaw.” —Ian Rankin, New York Times–bestselling author
“Laidlaw is a tough novel, with an exciting ending, and it is superbly written. You should not miss this one.” —The New York Times
“A classic of the genre.” —The Guardian
First published in 1977, this reissue of the stunning first volume of McIllvaney's Scottish crime trilogy introduces Det. Insp. Jack Laidlaw. The brooding, philosophical Laidlaw is the odd man out in his Glaswegian police cadre, always the one who's more interested in the "why" than the "how." His latest case involves the rape and murder of 18-year-old Jennifer Lawson, who just happens to be the daughter of a notorious gang figure, Bud Lawson. Laidlaw sifts through conflicting clues, along with his new partner, Det. Constable Brian Harkness, all the while trying to keep one step ahead of both the murderer and his more conventional superiors. Peppered with authentic Scottish slang, with much of the dialogue written in Glaswegian dialect, this is the novel that gave birth to the movement known as Tartan Noir and inspired the likes of Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, and Denise Mina. For anyone looking for a cop who's more than a badge, Laidlaw is the perfect hero.