Falling Fast may be a debut novel but there’s nothing amateurish about the way Neil Broadfoot puts his tartan noir crime novel together.
Like the hero, Doug McGregor, Neil was an ambitious Â journalist, working all hours against unkind deadlines, determined to see his name in print. So the hero’s life,Â lifestyle, dialogue and dilemmas fall into play very naturally. Now safely away from the world of journalism, Neil worksÂ as a communications officer for the Scottish Government and so another of the lead characters,Â Hal Damon, appears convincingly to work in PR, in this case, managing a story featuring the death of a Tory MP’s daughter.Â
The heroine is a female detective, Susie Drummond, with whom Doug has a relationship, purely professional and platonic at the moment, but bubbly enough to lead to something unprofessional in a sequel (we hope!)
Each of these threeÂ Â wants to know how and why the girlÂ died and all have different theories. Doug and Susie work together, Hal has a different mission, which is less about exposure of the truth.
The crux of the plot is, Did she jump or was she pushed? Literally, from the Scott Monument in Princes Street.Â I changed my mind almost with every chapter, as intrigue and realism vie for conviction. We don’t have to have a crime novel with blood and guts on every page and there is plenty of opportunity to suspect less violent, though notÂ less unpleasant, motives from a cast of rounded characters, none of whom is plain grey.
This is one of the best books I’ve read in a while â€“ congratulations to publishers Saraband for bringing it to the light of day.