The Long Drop

The Long Drop

A Novel

Book - 2017
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"In 1950's Glasgow, a household of women were found slaughtered in their beds. The father, William Watt, had a cast iron alibi but police were convinced he was guilty. Determined to clear his name, Watt let it be known that he would pay for information. Step forward career criminal Peter Manuel, with compelling details only the murderer could know. Watt agreed to meet him. They spent twelve hours together, driving and drinking in Glasgow pubs and clubs. No one knows what happened that night. The next time they met was in the High Court where Peter Manuel was defending himself against the murder charges. He called Watt as a witness and quizzed him about their long, shady night together. A fictionalized imagining of a real life case, The Long Drop is an explosive novel about guilt, innocence and the power of a good story to hide the difference."-- from the publisher
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Company, 2017
Edition: First United States edition
ISBN: 9780316380577
0316380571
Characteristics: 236 pages ; 25 cm

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susanchyn
Aug 21, 2017

I liked this book, Scottish noir based on real incidents, but it took real effort for me to piece together the pieces. By the end, it was (for the most part) clear what had happened in 1950s Glasgow, but the first one hundred pages required patience and faith in Ms. Mina...

Who are Watt and Manuel? What are they playing at? Why is everyone so scared of Dandy McKay? And what is “the long drop,” anyway? Even the meaning of the title is kept from readers till the very end.

What kept me going was Mina’s uncanny recreation of the ethos of crime-ridden streets, the seedy pubs, the descriptions of the drunken stupors and psyches driving the Glaswegian crews. The dynamic between Watt and Mull is captured particularly well; but again, there is a lot of murkiness in this noir (ha hah), and all is not revealed until very late in the game.

So maybe this is one of those books you have to read a couple times, to fully appreciate its meaning and craft.

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emerge
Apr 09, 2017

This is not part of any of the author's previous series. Instead it's a literary retelling of the trial of real life serial killer Peter Manuel in 1958 Glasgow.
The author sticks closely to the facts while adding her own twist on some of the unanswered questions. It's in these grey areas that she takes fictional license to tell a story that's creepy & richly atmospheric. Not a typical thriller, most of the violence is alluded to after the fact & it's a story that is heavy on dialogue.
There's a large cast but we spend most of our time with Watt & Manuel as they make the rounds of the city's bars over the course of one night. Both were suspects after Watt's family was slaughtered. Mina does an excellent job of slowly peeling back the layers of these 2 complex characters & comes up with an interesting theory on why Watt's family was killed.

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