Thursday 21 September 2023

THE HIGH ROAD by Ken Lussey


New contemporary novel by Scottish based author Ken Lussey from Arachnid Press

This reader has followed the career path of Ken Lussey since he published his first World War 2 novel back in 2018. A writer who is both prolific and knowledgeable in his depiction of fictitious espionage tales in historical accurate settings. 

This time we see him take a different tact as writers of series are prone to doing such as Brian McGilloway does from time to time. This time the story is about a cop Callum who returns to his Scottish roots following the death of his father to scatter his ashes. The disappearance of a cousin, Alexandra, leads to him staying in central Scotland and the North-West while serving a suspension from the Met Police. 

Lussey has always been fond of Scotland and takes pleasure in the landscapes and transposing the lush vistas to parchment, with a keen eye for mood and atmosphere. Here the road less travelled is key to the narrative of Callum as he must follow hunches and visit towns he has never heard of to find the missing persons.

Callum shows himself to be a deft detective, capable of inducing information from people and overcoming obstacles when necessary such as several guns pointed in his direction. The criminal underworld comes to the surface on occasion, and Callum reeling from his wife leaving him for his boss, finds affection in the arms of female policewomen. 

Yet there is growth and development for the character as the narrative progresses, he grows as the roads get narrower further up the western coast line.

The story is well told and at a pace familiar to readers of Lussey's other works, the concluding shoot-out and fallout is handled delicately and you admire the moxie of a character like Callum, a man who is not necessarily outside of his comfort zone but he is dealing with this almost notion above his station with aplomb and getting his mojo back in more ways than one.

The film ends on a high and it calls to mind the film Local Hero, where a fish out of water finds that this is his best place to live. And in the author's note, there is a promise of a sequel.

THE HIGH ROAD is out now from Arachnid Press, my thanks to them for the review copy

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