Earlier this year, the brilliant spec fic author T.L. Huchu wrote a wonderful review of Squeaky Clean which I want to share:
I’ve read a quite a few brilliant Scottish crime novels, but McSorley is a fresh voice and his talent shines through. The writing from the first page to the last is an absolute delight. It has that perfect rhythm, alternating between colloquialisms and beautifully original metaphors without ever losing its edge. This has the effect of creating a marvellous voice and I was lost in the story. There is a playfulness and humour which balances off the grit and noirish mode the story is told in. This is very, very well done.
SC is perfectly paced. The plot ratchets up slowly, gathering momentum with each chapter, right up to the climax. This is because the plot threads are all masterfully handled. McSorley hops from character to character with finesse and a certain delicacy. I do think this deft characterisation really carries the story and allows the plot to emerge much more organically. We sympathise with the everyman Davey, his issues with his ex and kids, his troubled history, and enjoy the banter he has with Sean and Tim. This all works very well to build up a lead we can root for.
The same goes for Ally McCoist, who is a very well-drawn copper at the fringes of her organisation. But you can see the relish with which the author builds up the darker characters Paulo and Croaker. Even Collin and Mince, more minor characters, are given the breath of life in this text. This all adds to the different plot threads we see ratcheting up as the book goes on. It makes for excellent reading, hence why I enjoyed the book so much.
McSorley also excels at drawing working class Glasgow and the seedier aspects of the city. This really adds to the atmosphere. The small details matter, e.g. the minutiae of working in a carwash. The cold, methodology, products, all these things give us a 3D picture which immerses the reader in the narrative. I have nothing but the highest praise for the craft on display here.
T.L. Huchu is the author of the Edinburgh Nights series, which follows teenage ghost stalker Ropa Moyo as she navigates a murky alt version of Edinburgh which teems with magic and intrigue. I love these books. Ropa has one of those incredible voices – funny, honest, foul-mouthed, human – which make it hard to put the book down. The third installment, The Mystery at Dunvegan Castle, is out on 27th July.