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The Heretic

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From the award-winning author comes a much-anticipated sequel to the Scottish Crime Book of the Year The Quaker… Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A From the award-winning author comes a much-anticipated sequel to the Scottish Crime Book of the Year The Quaker… Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A brutal murder Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer. But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum, McCormack is assigned a case that no one wants. The dead man is wearing a masonic ring, though, and Duncan realizes the victim is not the down-and-out his boss had first assumed. A catastrophic explosion As McCormack looks into both crimes, the investigations are disrupted by a shocking event. A bomb rips through a pub packed with people – and a cop is killed in the blast. The cases are stacking up and with one of his own unit now dead, McCormack is in the firing line. But he’s starting to see a thread – one that connects all three attacks…


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From the award-winning author comes a much-anticipated sequel to the Scottish Crime Book of the Year The Quaker… Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A From the award-winning author comes a much-anticipated sequel to the Scottish Crime Book of the Year The Quaker… Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A brutal murder Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer. But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum, McCormack is assigned a case that no one wants. The dead man is wearing a masonic ring, though, and Duncan realizes the victim is not the down-and-out his boss had first assumed. A catastrophic explosion As McCormack looks into both crimes, the investigations are disrupted by a shocking event. A bomb rips through a pub packed with people – and a cop is killed in the blast. The cases are stacking up and with one of his own unit now dead, McCormack is in the firing line. But he’s starting to see a thread – one that connects all three attacks…

30 review for The Heretic

  1. 5 out of 5

    Maureen ( NOT RECEIVING NOTIFICATIONS)

    *4.5 stars* Detective Inspector Duncan McCormack has recently returned to Glasgow City Police after serving six years with the Metropolitan Police in London. It’s 1975, and McCormack is tasked with solving the murders of several people (one of whom was very high profile). They were seemingly unconnected, but there is a connection, and it’s up to McCormack and his team to discover just what that connection is, in order to find the killer. This won’t be an easy task, not least because McCormacks’s *4.5 stars* Detective Inspector Duncan McCormack has recently returned to Glasgow City Police after serving six years with the Metropolitan Police in London. It’s 1975, and McCormack is tasked with solving the murders of several people (one of whom was very high profile). They were seemingly unconnected, but there is a connection, and it’s up to McCormack and his team to discover just what that connection is, in order to find the killer. This won’t be an easy task, not least because McCormacks’s boss DCI Haddow hates the sight of him, and isn’t going to make his job any easier. The reason for his immense hatred is that previously, McCormack brought a corrupt cop down, and corrupt or not, Haddow sees that as a betrayal to Glasgow City Police. Completely authentic, and dripping with atmosphere, the transition period in Glasgow’s history was wild and chaotic, providing lucrative opportunities for criminals, particularly the gangsters, ( the main rival gangs being the brutal Maitlands and the Quinn’s) who seize each and every one of those opportunities, bringing this grim, gritty and powerful storyline to life. Highly recommended! *Thank you to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, for an ARC in exchange for an honest unbiased review *

  2. 4 out of 5

    Paromjit

    Liam McIlvanney returns us to Glasgow, 6 years after DI Duncan McCormack was lauded, making headlines in 1969 as the hero who got the serial killer, The Quaker, who had been terrorising the city, a case that led to a police officer ending up in prison where he committed suicide. McCormack returned to London and the Flying Squad, but has been persuaded to return where he leads the Serious Crime Squad from Temple Police Station, his team consisting of DS Derek Goldie, who had helped on the Quaker Liam McIlvanney returns us to Glasgow, 6 years after DI Duncan McCormack was lauded, making headlines in 1969 as the hero who got the serial killer, The Quaker, who had been terrorising the city, a case that led to a police officer ending up in prison where he committed suicide. McCormack returned to London and the Flying Squad, but has been persuaded to return where he leads the Serious Crime Squad from Temple Police Station, his team consisting of DS Derek Goldie, who had helped on the Quaker inquiry, divorced DC Elizabeth Nicol and the ambitious DS Iain Shand. There are many in the police force who are far from happy at his return, including his boss, DCI Alan Haddow, according to them, you should never rat on fellow police officers, even when they have committed serious crimes. McCormack and his team have been trying to find any leads that will let them nail slippery crime boss, Walter Maitland, but have so far have come up with nothing, many are protecting him and others are too afraid. There is gang warfare that has led to arson on a warehouse belonging to another crime gang, the fire unfortunately spreading to a tenement killing 4 people, including a mother and her young daughter, a fire that everyone is convinced was ordered by Maitland, but again they have no evidence. When a tortured and murdered body, thought to be a tramp, is found discarded amongst the rubbish in the city, McCormack reluctantly investigates, only to find the victim is a former Tory MP and local councillor, 69 year old Sir Gavin Elliot, a wealthy businessman, bringing intense scrutiny and putting pressure on the police team. In a narrative with numerous threads, including a brother, Chris Kidd, looking to find his sister, Isobel, McCormack begins to make the connections, whilst having to deal with the fallout of a car bombing outside a pub that kills many, including one of McCormack's team. McIlvanney atmospherically evokes 1970s Glasgow, the poverty, filth, slum landlords, the strikes that have the rubbish piling high, the sectarianism, prostitution, the hard men gangsters and the IRA. The characterisation is excellent, depicting the sexual attitudes, expectations and norms regarding women through the likes of Nicol, and the fears and dangers associated with being exposed as gay in this historical period. We learn more about McCormack, his reasons for leaving London, and his personal life. He is a determined and committed cop, refusing to give up when obstacles appear. This is terrific, dark, complex and gritty Scottish Noir, that will appeal to many crime and mystery readers, and I cannot wait for the next in this series. Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: 'DI Duncan McCormack, Serious Crime Squad,' McCormack said, though both of these men would know who he was. Both would resent him. This had been their murder. Now it was his. McCormack dropped to his haunches, tugging the knees of his trousers. It was a physical act he repeated at the scene of every murder he'd attended and it brought them all flashing through his mind, all the corpses he'd scrutinised - beaten, choked, shot, stabbed. ABOUT 'THE HERETIC': McCormack has returned to Glasg EXCERPT: 'DI Duncan McCormack, Serious Crime Squad,' McCormack said, though both of these men would know who he was. Both would resent him. This had been their murder. Now it was his. McCormack dropped to his haunches, tugging the knees of his trousers. It was a physical act he repeated at the scene of every murder he'd attended and it brought them all flashing through his mind, all the corpses he'd scrutinised - beaten, choked, shot, stabbed. ABOUT 'THE HERETIC': McCormack has returned to Glasgow after a stint with the Metropolitan Police in London. The reason for his return is left a lurking mystery throughout. He is investigating a series of murders that seem at first to be the result of random bouts of violence among Glasgow’s poor and destitute. McCormack, however, has insight into Glasgow’s underground that many of his colleagues don’t. He has a secret of his own that he guards carefully but that takes him places and introduces him to people that prove essential to his investigations. MY THOUGHTS: McCormack is stuck between a rock and a hard place, but he's not averse to a few well placed sticks of virtual dynamite to garner some wriggle room. His boss, Haddow, resents and despises him for blowing the whistle on a fellow crooked cop, Levein. He is determined to make McCormack's life as difficult as possible while plotting to get rid of him. His unit is largely made up of waifs, strays and others who have incurred Haddow's displeasure: the fat, blond DS Derek Goldie who used to be McCormack's offsider; a cocky young pretty-boy dipshit, DC Iain Shand; and DC Elizabeth Nicol, the token female newly required in every four-strong unit in the bright new dawn of integration in 1976. Forensics are basic, as are methods of communication. No DNA, no mobile phones, no GPS, no NPR, no computers. Everything is written on paper. It really all comes down to a battle of wits between the police and the criminals, with bribery and corruption rife and often, the criminals seeming to have all the advantages. Just as Haddow wants to nail McCormack, McCormack wants to nail Walter Maitland, one of the two warring local crimelords. He believes Maitland to be behind an arson attack that caused four deaths, one of them a young girl. They also have the murder of a tortured and mutilated body, thought to be that of a homeless man, to solve. There is a car bombing outside a pub, and a man looking for his sister, who is known to have had connections to Maitland. McIlvanney paints a grim picture of the 1975/6 edition of Glasgow; of people living in rubbish and rodent infested condemned buildings, of bigotry and sectarianism, of poverty that forces women into prostitution, of terror and acceptance. Grim and gritty, full of atmosphere, McIlvanney held me enthralled throughout. ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5 #TheHeretic #NetGalley I: @harpercollinsuk T: @HarperCollinsUK #crime #detectivefiction #historicalfiction #murdermystery #scottishnoir #thriller THE AUTHOR: Professor Liam McIlvanney, the son of novelist William McIlvanney, was born in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After ten years lecturing in Scottish and Irish literature at the University of Aberdeen, he moved to Dunedin in New Zealand to teach at the University of Otago. He lectures in Scottish literature, culture and history, and on Irish-Scottish literary connections, and holds the Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies chair at the University. He lives in Dunedin with his wife and three children. DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins UK via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com This review is also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ceecee

    4+ It’s 1975 and DI Duncan McCormack is back in Glasgow determined to complete unfinished business from the Quaker case of 1969. His intention is to nail Walter Maitland now head of a major Glasgow OCG. McCormack joins the Serious Crime Squad, he’s most certainly not liked especially by DCI Alan Haddow, he’s seen as a traitor, a scab to use the parlance of the time, as in the Quaker case he brought down a corrupt police officer. Joining McCormack’s unit are DS Derek Goldie once again alongside DC 4+ It’s 1975 and DI Duncan McCormack is back in Glasgow determined to complete unfinished business from the Quaker case of 1969. His intention is to nail Walter Maitland now head of a major Glasgow OCG. McCormack joins the Serious Crime Squad, he’s most certainly not liked especially by DCI Alan Haddow, he’s seen as a traitor, a scab to use the parlance of the time, as in the Quaker case he brought down a corrupt police officer. Joining McCormack’s unit are DS Derek Goldie once again alongside DC Elizabeth Nicol and DS Iain Shand. This starts with a terrible fire followed by a brutal murder with the identity of the victim causing many a ripple and then there’s the matter of a terrified potential witness who skips town. Liam McIlvanney has me glued to the pages yet again! This is most certainly tartan noir, it’s very noir in places but it’s appropriate and realistic as at its heart are ruthless gang members. The plot is complex as we have rival gangs fighting for territory and preeminence, there’s corruption, revenge, immorality and abuse. It’s a well written novel, the plot is believable and the pace is fast. I especially like the plot changes in direction, it certainly doesn’t follow a path you could predict! The author writes with originality, it definitely feels very Scottish which I love, the dialogue is good and sometimes wry or sarcastic in tone. It does hark back to the Quaker case but the author does a good job filling gaps so it's not essential to have read it but it’s a good book too and worth reading in order to see the big picture. The characterisation is good throughout, even peripheral characters are well portrayed. I like the addition of Nicol as through her we see how it is for women in the police force and attitudes to them at this time especially towards women who ply a certain trade. McCormack is a fascinating central protagonist and in this one we learn more about his private life. The historical context is very good with the problem of strikes, the IRA bombing campaigns form quite a major focus, the changing face of Glasgow with slum clearances and the clear divisions along religious lines with entrenched attitudes, all capture the atmosphere in Glasgow of 1975. The storyline builds well, it’s not pretty in places but it’s immersive reading. The ending is dramatic and shocking. The ultimate ending is especially good as one of the features of the book is how the author keeps the victims of crime in the forefront of your mind throughout. Overall, this is a compelling novel which is hard to put down and I’m all in for number 3! With thanks to NetGalley and especially to HarperCollins, Harper Fiction for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Louise Wilson

    4.5 stars rounded up to 5 Duncan McCormack #2 Set in the 70s. McCormack has returned to Glasgow after a stint with the Metropolitan Police in London. The reason for his return is left a lurking mystery throughout. He's investigating a series of murders that seem at first to be the result of random bouts of violence amongst Glasgow's poor and destitute. McCormack has insight into Glasgow's underground that many of his colleagues don't. He has a secret of his own that he guards carefully but that ta 4.5 stars rounded up to 5 Duncan McCormack #2 Set in the 70s. McCormack has returned to Glasgow after a stint with the Metropolitan Police in London. The reason for his return is left a lurking mystery throughout. He's investigating a series of murders that seem at first to be the result of random bouts of violence amongst Glasgow's poor and destitute. McCormack has insight into Glasgow's underground that many of his colleagues don't. He has a secret of his own that he guards carefully but that takes him to places and introduces him to people that prove essential to his investigations. I was pulled into this story from the first page. The plotline and the characters were complex but believable. The story covers: police corruption, violent crime and gang warfare. The story lightly touches on threads from the first book, The Quaker, but it doesn't follow on from there. There's quite a lot goes on in the book but it's so well written that you don't feel bogged down by it. Filled with twists and turns. I never never knew what was going to happen next. I'm looking forward to reading the next instalment of this fantastic series. I would like to thank #NetGalley #HarperCollinsUK #HarperFiction and the author #LiamMcIlvanney for my ARC of #TheHeretic in exchange for an honest review.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Paula

    8/10.Very good, but something lacking. I can´t articulate exactly why, maybe it´s because he tries too hard to be convoluted, twisty,to tie everything in an (ugly) little bow which feels somewhat forced. Something about McCormack doesn´t ring true. While I read, I kept thinking of Harry McCoy-now that is a perfect series- and lo and behold. he makes a cameo appearance,did anyone else notice that? Best character, Nicol, hands down.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Col

    Synopsis/blurb... Set in 1976, seven years after the murders recounted in Liam McIlvanney’s breakout novel, The Quaker, this new Glasgow noir novel is a standalone mystery featuring serial character, Detective Duncan McCormack. McCormack has returned to Glasgow after a stint with the Metropolitan Police in London. The reason for his return is left a lurking mystery throughout. He is investigating a series of murders that seem at first to be the result of random bouts of violence among Glasgow’s po Synopsis/blurb... Set in 1976, seven years after the murders recounted in Liam McIlvanney’s breakout novel, The Quaker, this new Glasgow noir novel is a standalone mystery featuring serial character, Detective Duncan McCormack. McCormack has returned to Glasgow after a stint with the Metropolitan Police in London. The reason for his return is left a lurking mystery throughout. He is investigating a series of murders that seem at first to be the result of random bouts of violence among Glasgow’s poor and destitute. McCormack, however, has insight into Glasgow’s underground that many of his colleagues don’t. He has a secret of his own that he guards carefully but that takes him places and introduces him to people that prove essential to his investigations. Mcilvanney’s The Quaker was named the Scottish Crime Fiction Book of the Year and a Washington Post Best Book of the Year. The Guardian called it “a solidly crafted and satisfying detective story.” McIlvanney is known for his well crafted plots, his deep characterization, and his stylish prose. The Heretic is no exception. ----- My take... I must admit I have a soft spot for 70s set fiction, either books written at the time (eg Laidlaw by William McIlvanney and the posthumously completed The Dark Remains with Ian Rankin) or that penned contemporarily with a look backwards (eg Alan Parks and his Harry McCoy series). Harry McCoy makes a fleeting appearance here with a hat-tip from McIlvanney to Parks' creation. The Heretic is another exciting addition to the ouevre, though I have to admit, I wish I had managed to read McIlvanney's earlier book first - The Quaker - which also features Duncan McCormack as his lead detective. Not that the oversight stopped me enjoying this one to the fullest extent. Arson and the death of four in a tenement fire, an on-going investigation into a Glaswegian crime lord, the torture and death of an ex-Tory MP, a pub bombing, some police politics and lingering resentment and a few ongoing personal issues for our lead detective to deal with. Gripping, exciting, thoughtful, an intriguing main character, with a great dynamic between McCormack and his colleagues. We have history between McCormack and DS Goldie and a slight sense of lingering betrayal contrasting nicely with his support and mutual trust between them. There's also a refreshing appreciation for what the female member of the team, DC Nicol can bring. A lot of the other police aren't quite so enlightened in their attitude to female cops. I liked the way the whole team contributed to the progress of the investigation, each pursuing lines of enquiry independently of McCormack's close supervision. There were topical facets to the investigation .... The Troubles and contacts across the water with the Paramilitaries, and an ex-military angle with former servicemen featuring, sectarianism in play in Glasgow, organised criminal gangs and violent rivalries, police and political corruption, attitudes of the time towards homosexuality, the care system and the abuse of children entrusted to it. There's a real melancholy to some of the other characters in the book. Victims of circumstance with family problems, abandonment, a sense of loss, and as a consequence prey to the powerful and susceptible to control. The Heretic is busy throughout with each storyline adding layers and texture to an overall masterpiece. Definitely one which will feature on my 2022 books of the year. 5 from 5 McIlvanney's Where the Dead Men Go was enjoyed back in 2013. Read - March, 2022 Published - 2022 Page count - 400 Source - review copy from Edelweiss Above the Treeline site Format - Kindle http://col2910.blogspot.com/2022/03/l...

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bridget

    It is a big deal when a new Liam McIlvanney comes out. He is a local and beloved in the crime and literary circles of this town. Crikey, imagine if I hadn't liked it. It took me nearly a month to read, it is dense, it is written in the Scottish vernacular and that made it a challenge for me, though I have another just like that coming my way next 😊. this features DI Duncan McCormack, a brilliant character I think. He left Glasgow and when south to London for a spell, but now he is back with a col It is a big deal when a new Liam McIlvanney comes out. He is a local and beloved in the crime and literary circles of this town. Crikey, imagine if I hadn't liked it. It took me nearly a month to read, it is dense, it is written in the Scottish vernacular and that made it a challenge for me, though I have another just like that coming my way next 😊. this features DI Duncan McCormack, a brilliant character I think. He left Glasgow and when south to London for a spell, but now he is back with a cold cast to solve. His team is not all on his side and that makes for some tricky maneuvering while he finds out which one of them is spying on them for the boss, trying to twist the knife in. In the opening pages, there is a tenement fire, people die, and almost at the same time a body is found, it is mysterious, are they connected? Why would this particular person die in these unusual circumstances? McCormack has a big mystery to solve on top of the work he was already doing. Then bombs start to go off, there are people missing, and there are back stories to be explored in the hope of finding out who exactly is murdering who. McCormack also has his personal life to deal with, a love that seems to have gone from perfect to problematic, he is sad, angry, and working way too hard. This is an intriguing novel, it is very dark in places, but I expect that from this author. It has some awesome characters, a lot of them, I needed to get my head around the sheer quantity of them all, and a couple of characters I'd have loved to hear more about, Nichol is one of them, a standout for me. It's a great read. I hope you are working on a new one Liam!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is quite the follow up from the first Duncan McCormack book, The Quaker. I will be looking for something a bit lighter after all this dark Glasgow crime. Very happy that Col here on Goodreads reviewed this book very favorably and said he wished he had read the first before this one. It is definitely unlike any Scottish police procedural I have read in the past. The first covers the 1950's and this one moved on to the mid to late 1960's. If another one comes along I will see if my heart can This is quite the follow up from the first Duncan McCormack book, The Quaker. I will be looking for something a bit lighter after all this dark Glasgow crime. Very happy that Col here on Goodreads reviewed this book very favorably and said he wished he had read the first before this one. It is definitely unlike any Scottish police procedural I have read in the past. The first covers the 1950's and this one moved on to the mid to late 1960's. If another one comes along I will see if my heart can take it. Thanks for the tip, Col.

  10. 5 out of 5

    charlotte,

    On my blog. Rep: gay mc, gay li CWs: torture, implied institutional abuse, child sexual abuse, mentions of rape, incest, violence, mentions of domestic abuse Galley provided by publisher How to describe Liam McIlvanney’s The Heretic? I thought The Quaker was good, but this one just blew it out of the water. It clocks in at over 520 pages, but I sat and read it within a day, too engrossed by the story to do otherwise. The book takes place 7 years on from The Quaker. Duncan McCormack has returned t On my blog. Rep: gay mc, gay li CWs: torture, implied institutional abuse, child sexual abuse, mentions of rape, incest, violence, mentions of domestic abuse Galley provided by publisher How to describe Liam McIlvanney’s The Heretic? I thought The Quaker was good, but this one just blew it out of the water. It clocks in at over 520 pages, but I sat and read it within a day, too engrossed by the story to do otherwise. The book takes place 7 years on from The Quaker. Duncan McCormack has returned to Glasgow, leaving London for reasons to which only he is privy (although, it’s not all that hard to figure it out given the clues). In Glasgow, McCormack searches for a way to bring down Walter Maitland, who has stepped into the void that McGlaskan’s death created, only to be hamstrung when his boss (who hates him after the ending to The Quaker) forces him to investigate a body found in a rubbish tip. Only, of course, it’s just a bit more than that. Firstly, what stood out for me in this book, and in the first, is the mystery itself. They’re both tightly plotted mysteries, ones that leave you guessing the whole time. They’re also very compelling—once you’ve picked the book up, you won’t want to put it down until you reach the end. It’s the kind of book that makes you want to go back and reread as soon as you put it down, just to see if maybe this time the ending won’t creep up on you. But it’s not just a great mystery, it’s also got some great characters too. Of course, there’s Duncan McCormack himself, probably one of my favourite leads in the mystery-thriller genre. Actually probably at all, but let’s be specific to the genre right now because I can say that for certain. Goldie also returns, a little mellowed than he was in the first book, now on friendlier terms with McCormack, if only slightly. But on top of the familiar faces, you also have a new bunch: Shand and Nicol, who make up the other two members of McCormack’s squad, then Kidd, a low-level member of Maitland’s gang, just looking for his sister, and Victor, who I won’t say much more about, only that I love him. And those new characters were just as compelling as the old ones. Their introduction—or some of them at least—also ties up some loose ends left from the first book. I could see this series being turned into a TV show to be honest, and I think that comes down to the fact that you feel as though you’re there alongside the characters in Glasgow. McIlvanney so well invokes the city that, even if you haven’t been there, you get a feel for it. And if you have been there, it will feel oh so familiar to you. Really, it’s a confluence of all the best kinds of things: compelling mystery, fascinating characters, and writing that makes you feel there. This is also a book that leaves you wanting so much more of the setting and the characters. I would genuinely read innumerable books about McCormack’s investigations. I know there’s a third one coming at least (according to the author’s Twitter), so anticipation of that will keep me going for a bit. Perhaps I’ll simply have to reread these ones over and over. After all, I’m not sure I could ever tire of them.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney Synopsis / Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A brutal murder Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer. But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum, McC The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney Synopsis / Glasgow 1975 A deadly fire An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse causes the deaths of a young mother and child. Police suspect it’s the latest act in a brutal gang warfare that’s tearing the city apart – one that DI Duncan McCormack has been tasked with stopping. A brutal murder Five years ago he was walking on water as the cop who tracked down a notorious serial killer. But he made powerful enemies and when a mutilated body is found in a Tradeston slum, McCormack is assigned a case that no one wants. The dead man is wearing a masonic ring, though, and Duncan realizes the victim is not the down-and-out his boss had first assumed. A catastrophic explosion As McCormack looks into both crimes, the investigations are disrupted by a shocking event. A bomb rips through a pub packed with people – and a cop is killed in the blast. The cases are stacking up and with one of his own unit now dead, McCormack is in the firing line. My Thoughts / Scottish crime fiction has undergone a boom in recent years, spearheaded by the success of UK’s best-selling leader in the genre, Ian Rankin. Somewhere in all this hype, the term 'Tartan Noir' was born. Some say crime writer, James Ellroy coined the name when he described Rankin as "the king of tartan noir" for a book cover; while others believe that Rankin actually gave himself the name when he asked Ellroy to sign a book for him and said "I'm a big fan and I write tartan noir". Either way, Tartan Noir is a form of crime fiction particular to Scotland and Scottish writers. It has its roots firmly planted in Scottish literature but, borrows elements from elsewhere, including from the work of American crime writers, especially of the 'hard-boiled' genre. Tartan Noir purists are said to be influenced by many different themes - gothic awareness, Jekyll and Hyde, and, Burke and Hare to name a few. When you throw all these aspects into the recipe and mix them together what you end up with is something like this…..mean streets; grim weather; corrupt cops and politicians; prostitution; violence and dark literary prose. In otherwords, plenty to keep detectives occupied. The Heretic is a perfect example of this genre. Set in Glasgow in the mid-70's; 22 June to 16 July 1975 to be exact. Seven years after the murders which were narrated in McIlvanney's novel, The Quaker, the first of the Duncan McCormack series. Gang bosses ruled the city and the police (or, polis, as they were referred to in this novel) were for the most part unconstrained by a lack of regulations to record interviews with suspects brought in for questioning. They were aggressive in their interrogation and confessions were obtained by (now) unlawful means. Corrupt polis were not uncommon. Our protagonist, DI Duncan McCormack is an interesting character. He's an outsider - arriving at the Serious Crime Squad after six years working the Met in London. He's not well liked by more than a few of his new squad. His transfer to the SCS was a result of his working a previous case where he was responsible for the high profile capture of a serial killer, but probably more importantly, uncovering corruption which led to a senior police officer going to jail. As well as himself (DI Duncan McCormack), the unit included: DS Derek Goldie, McCormack's old offsider from the Quaker case; a cocky pretty-boy DC called Iain Shand; and Elizabeth Nicol, the token female DC that every unit now required under the bright new day the Met refers to as integration. There are plenty of twists and turns in this multi-layered plot. An arson attack on a Glasgow warehouse results in the death of a young mother and her child. The polis suspect it’s the latest in a brutal gang war that is tearing the city apart. A mutilated body is found on the wasteland in a Tradeston slum. He’s dressed like a vagrant, but, has an expensive masonic ring on his finger. The post-mortem reveals anomalies and McCormack makes links between his death and the fatal tenement fire. A bomb rips through a pub packed with people and a cop is killed in the blast. Eventually, DI McCormack starts to think all these three cases might be related. This is a long novel - my copy comprised 518 pages - so it doesn't really make for comfort reading. There is a little too much detail and superfluous description at times. Note to editors: more doesn't always mean better. The author did well to keep the tension high throughout, with plenty of last minute revelations that tied things up nicely. While The Heretic is the second book in the Duncan McCormack series, it does work as a standalone, as there is enough back story to enable the reader to make sense of went on previously. But for completeness, you should really start with The Quaker.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    The Second of the Duncan McCormack crime series, The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney is set in 1975 Glasgow. Seven years have now passed, with Duncan returning from the London Metropolitan Police. Investigating a series of murders, his knowledge of the Glasgow criminal underground is beneficial to the case. Then an explosion in a pub kills a member of the police team and the pressure mounts on Duncan to solve the three cases. With McIlvanney’s well-crafted plots, interesting characters and engaging n The Second of the Duncan McCormack crime series, The Heretic by Liam McIlvanney is set in 1975 Glasgow. Seven years have now passed, with Duncan returning from the London Metropolitan Police. Investigating a series of murders, his knowledge of the Glasgow criminal underground is beneficial to the case. Then an explosion in a pub kills a member of the police team and the pressure mounts on Duncan to solve the three cases. With McIlvanney’s well-crafted plots, interesting characters and engaging narrative, this is a most enjoyable crime procedural with a four-star read rating.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Faichney

    Having very much enjoyed "The Quaker", I have been eagerly awaiting Liam McIlvanney's next offering. "The Heretic" takes us back to the gritty Glasgow of the mid-1970s. The plot is gripping but it's the cast of characters, so intricately explored, that really bring Liam McIlvanney's words to life - from trilby-wearing DI Duncan McCormack of the Serious Crime Squad, to obituary-obsessed DCI Alan Haddow, by way of retired skull-cracker Greg Hislop. The Glaswegian dialogue is steeped in nostalgia, Having very much enjoyed "The Quaker", I have been eagerly awaiting Liam McIlvanney's next offering. "The Heretic" takes us back to the gritty Glasgow of the mid-1970s. The plot is gripping but it's the cast of characters, so intricately explored, that really bring Liam McIlvanney's words to life - from trilby-wearing DI Duncan McCormack of the Serious Crime Squad, to obituary-obsessed DCI Alan Haddow, by way of retired skull-cracker Greg Hislop. The Glaswegian dialogue is steeped in nostalgia, bringing to mind older relatives of mine. I particularly appreciate the history of the city that McIlvanney weaves through the narrative. I love his writing and am looking forward to more in this series. First class crime fiction!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Justin Sarginson

    This is the second in a series of books, set in the late 60s & early 70s in Glasgow. Having been lucky enough to read & love the first one, I was very happy & eager to read this one. Characters & events echo from the first book, but the story is new. From the first scene, this book grabs you by the throat and never loosens it's grip. It is incredibly atmospheric & written so well throughout. Although there are a number of historic crime fiction set in southern Scotland currently, this stands prou This is the second in a series of books, set in the late 60s & early 70s in Glasgow. Having been lucky enough to read & love the first one, I was very happy & eager to read this one. Characters & events echo from the first book, but the story is new. From the first scene, this book grabs you by the throat and never loosens it's grip. It is incredibly atmospheric & written so well throughout. Although there are a number of historic crime fiction set in southern Scotland currently, this stands proudly amongst them all. Visceral, dark, but stark in it's portrayal of the grim reality of every day life for the people of Glasgow in the 70s. The plot is incredibly strong and enjoyable, I found it physically impossible to put down. Outstanding & doesn't disappoint in any way.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Melisende

    I wish I had read the book prior - The Quaker - as I feel my reading experience would have been that little bit better for it. However, there is plenty of background in this novel to compensate for those of us who jumped straight to book two. Amazing read! See full review here @ Melisende's Library I wish I had read the book prior - The Quaker - as I feel my reading experience would have been that little bit better for it. However, there is plenty of background in this novel to compensate for those of us who jumped straight to book two. Amazing read! See full review here @ Melisende's Library

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten McKenzie

    I should have read The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney first, because then I feel a lot more of this book would have made sense. Having said that... I could barely put it down. So many threads that all wove beautifully together. How an author can manage that is beyond me! Very well played. As I've said in previous reviews, I'm pretty terrible at guessing "whodunnit". And this was no exception. There were a couple of deaths which broke my heart, but they moved the story forward, but still, a small part I should have read The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney first, because then I feel a lot more of this book would have made sense. Having said that... I could barely put it down. So many threads that all wove beautifully together. How an author can manage that is beyond me! Very well played. As I've said in previous reviews, I'm pretty terrible at guessing "whodunnit". And this was no exception. There were a couple of deaths which broke my heart, but they moved the story forward, but still, a small part of me wished for a mistaken identity trope to suddenly manifest!!! (There is one, but that didn't help). I shall now rewind my memory and read the first book in this series. You can read The Heretic as a standalone, but I think you really need to read The Quaker first to make sense of some of the plot. Love it. Will read more by this author.

  17. 4 out of 5

    McBreakneck

    I absolutely loved The Quaker so couldn't wait to read this, the second book featuring DI Duncan McCormack. Glasgow 1975. It starts with a bang, a deadly fire in a tenement building. A body is found dumped among rubbish. Liam McIlvanney perfectly captures the time and the place, and fills this harsh city with fully developed characters. This is state of the art crime writing. The bleak atmosphere, subtlety drawn characters and plotting are perfect. The plot development is intricate, the tension bui I absolutely loved The Quaker so couldn't wait to read this, the second book featuring DI Duncan McCormack. Glasgow 1975. It starts with a bang, a deadly fire in a tenement building. A body is found dumped among rubbish. Liam McIlvanney perfectly captures the time and the place, and fills this harsh city with fully developed characters. This is state of the art crime writing. The bleak atmosphere, subtlety drawn characters and plotting are perfect. The plot development is intricate, the tension builds steadily. This is simply a must read, I definitely recommend reading The Quaker first as many characters and plot elements carry over. There is an unexpected poignancy both in the development of the returning characters and the actions, motives and personalities of some of the new ones. After two books this series is a contender for the finest two books in any crime series I've ever read. Thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK

  18. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    A standard Glasgow gangland police procedural, full of bent coppers, violence, sectarianism, prostitution and foul language. I was bored before I even got halfway through - I feel I've read this book a million times before. Nothing in it makes it stand out from the overcrowded field. Glasgow gangland has been done to death - please let's bury it now, and move on. There's more to Glasgow and Scotland than this. Somehow McIlvanney never makes me feel he's writing from knowledge - it always feels l A standard Glasgow gangland police procedural, full of bent coppers, violence, sectarianism, prostitution and foul language. I was bored before I even got halfway through - I feel I've read this book a million times before. Nothing in it makes it stand out from the overcrowded field. Glasgow gangland has been done to death - please let's bury it now, and move on. There's more to Glasgow and Scotland than this. Somehow McIlvanney never makes me feel he's writing from knowledge - it always feels like he's writing from research, and there are odd little anachronisms and word choices that slightly jar my Glaswegian ear. I know it's totally unfair to compare him to his father, whose books reeked of authenticity, but honestly Liam asks for it by setting his books in the same time and place as William's classics of the genre. He's clearly trying to inhabit his father's territory, but the problem is William actually lived there and then - Liam doesn't and didn't. I wish he'd write books set in New Zealand where he's lived for years, or if he must try to get in on the crowded Scottish crime scene, then I wish he'd set his books in a different time period or take them out of Glasgow. Then perhaps it would be possible to avoid comparisons that don't work to his advantage. I believe he has the basic skills to do much better than this formulaic stuff, and I hope one day he will.

  19. 4 out of 5

    J.J.

    DI Duncan McCormack is back in the City of Glasgow Serious Crime Squad after six years working in London. His return is not welcomed because, although he brought to book the notorious killer, The Quaker and his associates, he also uncovered the crimes of a senior police officer, who later killed himself in prison. There are numerous references to the previous book, so many that at times, I was tempted to suspend reading The Heretic in order to delve more deeply into the back story. That I didn't DI Duncan McCormack is back in the City of Glasgow Serious Crime Squad after six years working in London. His return is not welcomed because, although he brought to book the notorious killer, The Quaker and his associates, he also uncovered the crimes of a senior police officer, who later killed himself in prison. There are numerous references to the previous book, so many that at times, I was tempted to suspend reading The Heretic in order to delve more deeply into the back story. That I didn't do so is testament to the strength of McIlvanney's writing. Great characters, complete with human flaws, and an intricate plot that holds the reader riveted. I now have The Quaker on my TBR pile and will look forward to future work from this author. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dave Ross

    Tartan noir at its best McIlvanney brings to life the Glasgow I grew up in. Well researched, beautifully descriptive, with a great plot, this is a must read for fans of the genre. The first chapter is one of the most breathless, incendiary openings I've read. Stunning. Tartan noir at its best McIlvanney brings to life the Glasgow I grew up in. Well researched, beautifully descriptive, with a great plot, this is a must read for fans of the genre. The first chapter is one of the most breathless, incendiary openings I've read. Stunning.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mary Picken

    You can take the man out of Glasgow, but, thank goodness, you can’t take Glasgow out of the man. Liam McIlvanney’s The Heretic is a smasher of a book. It crackles and zings with the life and spirit of Glasgow, good, bad and truly terrible; with the violence that belongs in that city’s history, could we only contain it there. Set in 1976, amid the rubbish strikes, it is seven years since Detective Duncan McCormack took down the serial killer known as The Quaker and with him someone who made McCorm You can take the man out of Glasgow, but, thank goodness, you can’t take Glasgow out of the man. Liam McIlvanney’s The Heretic is a smasher of a book. It crackles and zings with the life and spirit of Glasgow, good, bad and truly terrible; with the violence that belongs in that city’s history, could we only contain it there. Set in 1976, amid the rubbish strikes, it is seven years since Detective Duncan McCormack took down the serial killer known as The Quaker and with him someone who made McCormack deeply unpopular among many of his own colleagues. With a lot of great press after his achievement, McCormack went back to the Met as part of the Flying Squad, and now has returned to Glasgow to head up the Serious Crime Unit. But between his accepting the appointment and coming back, things have changed somewhat and his new boss, DCI Alan Haddow is already not his biggest fan. In his team are DS Derek Goldie, DC Elizabeth Nicol and DS Iain Shand. Derek Goldie, left behind when McCormack went South, has been something of a pariah in his own neck of the woods for the last seven years and has suffered some of what should really have come McCormack’s way. DC Liz Nicol, was part of the now disbanded women’s section and is holding her own well in this team. It is DS Ian Shand who is the unknown quantity and early on his trustworthiness comes into question. It’s clear that McCormack has come back for reason of his own, though it takes a while for those to emerge. What we do know, however, is that Detective McCormack is keeping a secret that he can’t afford anyone to know about. McCormack is on a mission to bring down gangland boss Walter Maitland, but Haddow, who is determined to stop McCormack becoming crowned in glory yet again, pulls him off that case and orders him to investigate the body of a supposed tramp, found in a midden in a back close. Now, there’s no denying that there are a good few murders in this book and it deals with gangland violence, corruption, prostitution, arson and torture. These are extremely well plotted murder mysteries and McIlvanney’s taut execution of plot is one reason why this book works very well. It’s dark and authentic and his characterisation is excellent. The sense of the era is terrific, too. The ‘Troubles’ in Northern Ireland are never far away from the events in The Heretic and McCormack’s own Catholic background comes into the way he is perceived in the gang war between Maitland (Protestant) and Quinn (Catholic). This is a book you really will not want to put down. It’s engaging, the story is compelling and the characters fascinating. I read through this book with the hugest grin on my face because McIlvanney has encapsulated everything about the city so well. He wears his knowledge lightly, but with incredibly erudition and that’s what makes this book quite so rewarding. The Heretic is not just a great crime thriller, it’s also got some fabulous characters. Duncan McCormack is the ultimate outsider by geography, orientation and mind-set. Liz Nicol is a great addition to his team. She is perceptive, not afraid to speak her mind and well up to the challenges of her job. Even the villains are three dimensional. I found myself smiling as I recognised the reference to the ‘wee lassie from Garfield Street who had done so well’ and at one point I shouted out ‘the Crocodile Rock’ as I solved part of McCormack’s mystery trail. I learned how to say ‘evil bastard’ in Gaelic, which will, I’m sure, come in handy and I laughed with pleasure when Duncan McCormack went to visit an old friend at F Division’s Cumberland Street. McIlvanney writes with pace and pleasure and that transfers itself to the reader in spades. Verdict: If you’re a fan of the Scottish Crime Thriller genre then this will be a must have addition to your library. If you’re new to the ‘Tartan Noir’ genre, this and its predecessor, The Quaker, are a great place to start. Either way, The Heretic is a stand out, brilliant read that I am highly recommending. The writing alone makes it a must read book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Len Northfield

    Another excellent novel from Liam McIlvanney, built around the main character of DI Duncan McCormack. Pacy, well structured, complex, interesting, authentic, and (most importantly) enormously enjoyable.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kath

    This is the follow up to the brilliant The Quaker, this author's breakout novel. I would recommend you read that book first for continuity, character development, and as it is referenced quite a bit. Also it's a darned good read so... why not!? So, we are now in the 70's, set a few years after the events of book one, and DI Duncan McCormack has returned to Glasgow from the Met Police in London. I say returned, but he has really run away, you'll find out just why as you read the book. His colleagu This is the follow up to the brilliant The Quaker, this author's breakout novel. I would recommend you read that book first for continuity, character development, and as it is referenced quite a bit. Also it's a darned good read so... why not!? So, we are now in the 70's, set a few years after the events of book one, and DI Duncan McCormack has returned to Glasgow from the Met Police in London. I say returned, but he has really run away, you'll find out just why as you read the book. His colleagues are still a little spiky with him after the way he left and what he exposed, but he has his uses, and they do respect that, he has links with the criminal fraternity and can go places others fear. But he still has a bitter relationship with his superior who tries to undermine him at every turn, adding to his frustration. So... McCormack and his team are investigating an arson where 4 people sadly died. Started in a warehouse, it moved to the next door flats. They are convinced it was ordered by the current crime boss and they are worried about retaliation. Meanwhile, they also discover the body of a tramp, only to find out that he was actually a wealthy former MP which brings them all sorts of interest and pressure. For me, this book hit the ground running, kept the tension high throughout, spitting me out at the end, exhausted but wholly satisfied. There is a lot going one, a lot to juggle, but the author manages to keep all the balls in the air very well, all the way through. The way he sets the scene, and the time. You really feel that you are actually there with the characters. I do love books set in the past as its refreshing to see coppers rely on things other than technology to solve the crimes. Grit and gut, mostly! It's both plot and character driven. I do like McCormack as a character, especially his no nonsense attitude and tenacity. He is backed up with a good team, mostly, all of whom know what is expected. The plot is tight and well executed and gets on with itself at a fair lick. All in all, a great follow up to a cracking series opener. Roll on book three... My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jo-anne Atkinson

    After nailing the killer known as 'The Quaker', Duncan McCormack should have been flying high. However one of the people connected to that case was a respected colleague and so McCormack is now thought a traitor. Returning to Glasgow in 1975 he is handed a dead-end case, the discovery of a mutilated body that purports to be a down and out. The post-mortem says otherwise and McCormack is now making links between that death, a fatal tenement fire and the bombing of pub. All of this is connected to After nailing the killer known as 'The Quaker', Duncan McCormack should have been flying high. However one of the people connected to that case was a respected colleague and so McCormack is now thought a traitor. Returning to Glasgow in 1975 he is handed a dead-end case, the discovery of a mutilated body that purports to be a down and out. The post-mortem says otherwise and McCormack is now making links between that death, a fatal tenement fire and the bombing of pub. All of this is connected to a notorious gangster and a children's home now closed down. McIllvanney's first book was great and this is is no exception. the setting in 1970s Glasgow allows for a lot of leeway with class and religion as well as just the general feel of the era. This is played beautifully with sectarian links used to great effect. The plot is believable, sex abuse, violence and tragedy perfectly brought together.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gayle Noble

    The reader catches up with DI Duncan McCormack several years after his involvement in the Quaker murder case & his bringing down of corrupt cop, Paul Levein. McCormack has returned to Glasgow, but the new head of department is not a fan & can't wait to see him fail. McCormack's team wind up with the murder of what looks to be a homeless man, but when they identify him as a local ex-politician, they are plunged headlong into a dangerous feud between two rival gangs. It's been almost 4 years since The reader catches up with DI Duncan McCormack several years after his involvement in the Quaker murder case & his bringing down of corrupt cop, Paul Levein. McCormack has returned to Glasgow, but the new head of department is not a fan & can't wait to see him fail. McCormack's team wind up with the murder of what looks to be a homeless man, but when they identify him as a local ex-politician, they are plunged headlong into a dangerous feud between two rival gangs. It's been almost 4 years since I read the first book, but it wasn't a hinderance in enjoying this one. It's a gritty crime novel with plenty of action & several plot strands which are slowly woven together. Although it was a little slow to get going, when things started to move it became really interesting. An added complication for McCormack is that, as a gay man in mid-1970s Glasgow, (sexual activity between males was not legalised in Scotland until the early 1980s), he has to be very careful in his personal life. I thought there was a good work/life balance covered in the book with a relationship on the boil for the DI. Overall it was a very good read. TWs: scenes of violence & torture, CSA, homophobia, domestic abuse. My thanks to NetGalley & publishers, HarperCollins UK, for the opportunity to read an ARC.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    An absolutely cracking book, well deserving 5 stars…. The only negative I have is that I wish I’d read The Quaker first. Yes, The Heretic can be read as a stand-alone book, but I think I’d have enjoyed it even more by knowing the full backstory. The Quaker is now at the top of my ‘to be read’ pile! It is a gritty, raw and authentic 1970’s crime thriller that totally captures the atmosphere of policing and the general culture of that time. The characters are all believable as is the plot, which i An absolutely cracking book, well deserving 5 stars…. The only negative I have is that I wish I’d read The Quaker first. Yes, The Heretic can be read as a stand-alone book, but I think I’d have enjoyed it even more by knowing the full backstory. The Quaker is now at the top of my ‘to be read’ pile! It is a gritty, raw and authentic 1970’s crime thriller that totally captures the atmosphere of policing and the general culture of that time. The characters are all believable as is the plot, which is steady paced but keeps you engaged throughout. Tartan-noir at its absolute best, The Heretic is, without doubt, going to take some beating for my favourite book of the year (and yes, it’s only January… THAT’S how good it is!) Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy in return for an honest review. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  27. 5 out of 5

    Steve Capel

    Thank you to Net Galley and the Publishers for an advance copy. This is the first book I have read by this author although I have read Laidlaw by, his father. William Mcilvanney. Set in Glasgow in the mid-1970's it paints a picture of life in the city at that time with no holds barred. The language of the book and the actions of the characters create a setting in which violence and murder are commonplace and life is cheap. It has good plotting which covers in part the abuse of children in a care h Thank you to Net Galley and the Publishers for an advance copy. This is the first book I have read by this author although I have read Laidlaw by, his father. William Mcilvanney. Set in Glasgow in the mid-1970's it paints a picture of life in the city at that time with no holds barred. The language of the book and the actions of the characters create a setting in which violence and murder are commonplace and life is cheap. It has good plotting which covers in part the abuse of children in a care home and the long-term damage this causes. The lead character is far from being a saint but has a strong sense of justice. He is also gay at a time when being so openly could wreck his career. The book is a follow on from a previous novel but I found it was perfectly alright as a stand alone. This is an excellent crime novel and at the very top of the scottish noir genre.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pile By the Bed

    Liam McIlvanney’s first Duncan McCormack book The Quaker won the 2018 Scottish Crime Book of the Year. In The Heretic he brings McCormack back to the mean streets of 1970s Glasgow, six years after the events of The Quaker. So that while this is a sequel and some of the action ties back to The Quaker, no knowledge of that first book is required to enjoy The Heretic as a great standalone crime novel. It is 1975 and after spending time working for the Met in London, Duncan McCormack has returned to Liam McIlvanney’s first Duncan McCormack book The Quaker won the 2018 Scottish Crime Book of the Year. In The Heretic he brings McCormack back to the mean streets of 1970s Glasgow, six years after the events of The Quaker. So that while this is a sequel and some of the action ties back to The Quaker, no knowledge of that first book is required to enjoy The Heretic as a great standalone crime novel. It is 1975 and after spending time working for the Met in London, Duncan McCormack has returned to Glasgow to take up his old job. But his ghosts still haunt him. Despite being lauded for solving the Quaker case back in 1969, McCormack is still hated by much of the Glasgow police as that investigation brought down a senior officer on corruption charges that implicated plenty of other officers. So much so that his commanding officer, Chief Inspector Haddow wants to see him gone. McCormack wants to bring down a local crime lord called Walter Maitland but Haddow assigns McCormack and his team to a murder. Although the victim turns out to be well connected, including to the Maitlands and things are soon also complicated by links to a warehouse fire that killed people in the tenement next door and a suspected IRA bombing of one of the Maitland’s pubs. Glasgow in the 1970s seems to be a fertile place for crime narratives. Alan Parks’ Harry McCoy books (starting with Bloody January and now stretching to four books) explore the same time and place. Like Parks, McIlvanney delivers a deep sense of time and place – of the march of development in the city running over its ancient roots, of the corruption that flourishes in that environment and of influence of the surrounding political turmoil fuelled out of Ireland. And he does so with a suitably tormented but effective investigator with skeletons in his closet and the weight of the force against him but with a team of outsiders. And of course an engaging mystery which also manages to tie up some questions left hanging from The Quaker. The Heretic is a great follow up to the The Quaker. By jumping forward a few years McIlvanney gets to dig in to the longer term consequences of that investigation but also to present McCormack in a different place and a slightly different Glasgow. But most importantly, he delivers a strong mystery and a great procedural to tie it all together. This is definitely not the last we will be seeing of McCormack and it is exciting to consider what McIlvanney might do with him next.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Verity Halliday

    The Heretic is the excellent sequel to The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney, following our flawed hero DI Duncan McCormack through the mean streets and derelict tenements of 1970's Glasgow. I was glad to have read The Quaker first as the previous case definitely echoes through the new book. An exciting and engaging read, with plenty to think about as McCormack deals with moral dilemmas while he's trying to put away the bad guys. Highly recommended! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for provid The Heretic is the excellent sequel to The Quaker by Liam McIlvanney, following our flawed hero DI Duncan McCormack through the mean streets and derelict tenements of 1970's Glasgow. I was glad to have read The Quaker first as the previous case definitely echoes through the new book. An exciting and engaging read, with plenty to think about as McCormack deals with moral dilemmas while he's trying to put away the bad guys. Highly recommended! Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Allison Valentine

    This is the second outing in the McCormack series but can be read as a stand alone novel. Set in 1975/1976. After the serial killer The Quaker terrorized Glasgow in 1969,,he moved to London to work for the Metropolitan police. But when he was needed back in Glasgow to help catch the notorious crime boss Walter Maitland, he couldn't refuse. But how many lives will be lost? This is a compelling and exciting read that once started you will find hard to put down. This is the second outing in the McCormack series but can be read as a stand alone novel. Set in 1975/1976. After the serial killer The Quaker terrorized Glasgow in 1969,,he moved to London to work for the Metropolitan police. But when he was needed back in Glasgow to help catch the notorious crime boss Walter Maitland, he couldn't refuse. But how many lives will be lost? This is a compelling and exciting read that once started you will find hard to put down.

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