Bitter Water

Written by Gordon Ferris
Review by Susan McDuffie

July heat rises in post WWII Glasgow. A city councilor dies an agonizing death, his head buried in a bucket of cement. New victims surface, horrifically punished by anonymous vigilantes. The victims of these attacks had previously been acquitted of a variety of unsavory charges, but their self-appointed punishers dispense rough justice indeed. Douglas Brodie, ex-policeman, veteran, and now a Glasgow Gazette reporter, investigates, while Brodie’s mentor at the paper, Wullie McAllister, tracks a scoop of his own. How do these crimes tie in with projected plans for urban renewal of Glasgow’s city center? As the violence increases, Brodie, McAllister, and their families and friends find themselves in the line of fire.

Gordon Ferris writes an absorbing and fast-paced story. Brodie is a likeable and very human sleuth, while the off-again, on-again romance between Brodie and advocate Samantha Campbell adds interest. The second in a series, it loses nothing read as a standalone, but the engaging characters, interesting setting and compelling writing make me eager to read Brodie’s other adventures.