Manual The Boy I Loved. (Christian and Craig Novellas Book 1)

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May 18, Russell Robertson rated it really liked it. Great detective series set in the sixties. Dec 06, Dave rated it it was amazing. A brilliant book with characters who leap from the page at every turn. One of the most entertaining books I have read in ages. May 14, Graham rated it really liked it. Quite a gripping read. Didn't want to put it down. Jun 11, Douglas Osler rated it liked it. This portrays Glasgow and Edinburgh's very different cultures exceedingly well.

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The story is brutal but keeps you reading. Jan 02, Joanne rated it really liked it. Perfect Scottish noir! Nov 27, Subash rated it really liked it. Lennox wisecracks almost non stop He has a knack for weaving in street lingo that was current Glaswegian talk in the time frame he talks about, as well as an affectionate contempt for the foibles of the folks here that's dead on true even today. I love the grunge of Glasgow, and the music scene there is quite inimitable But really that's all icing In the end, this is a good story and has you hanging Not to do spoilers, but any decent review should tick all the right boxes Yes, the crime lords all three of them well actually two because I'm not quite sure of Hammer Murphy do star turns in their own right.

Is the villain like quite the piece of work? Well about the hero, as much as he deadpans, he's damaged goods and quite articulate about his self loathing and there's a lot about it that most of us twenty first century survivors can relate to despite having been on the right side of the century when it came to world wars and other histories without any future. But really it's his wonderful ear for the scottish undertones that make this such a meaty and satisfying read on top of all the great plotting, great characterisation, great noir et al When you run into a quote from Macbeth "Stands Scotland where it did?

Glaswegians are indeed a unique breed and surprisingly there's two doing Tartan noir Craig here, and Gordon Ferris in his Doug Brodie series as well again surprisingly set in 50s Glasgow I've yet to read that series but am looking forward to checking them out and seeing how they pan out in comparison. Feb 24, Graham Fi rated it it was amazing.

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First in the Lennox series. What a great read. Lennox is a Canadian ex-soldier who bears the psychological and physical scars of a brutal war, left with a skill set that makes him an ideal player in post-war, corrupt, grimy, dirty, mucky, violent Glasgow. Organised crime is establishing itself and at the centre of machinations are identical twins, Tam and Frankie McGahern.

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When Tam is murdered Lennox is "hired" by Frankie to find his killer. Now Tam, it seems, was the brains of the twins operation, and Frankie mostly muscle, as Lennox finds when he tries to sidestep Frankie's request. But when Frankie quickly turns up dead himself, and Lennox finds himself in the frame for his murder, he doesn't have much choice but to solve the mystery of both murders himself. Lennox is one of those lone-wolf, fixer, cynical, wisecracking, dark and troubled traditional noir characters.

Damaged by a brutal war, Lennox, and Glasgow, the crime figures, the cops, everyone fits within the expectations of time and place. Interestingly enough I was a little into the novel before I sorted out the timeframe, the era and the resulting factors that were driving the characters - which was actually a good thing. There is a real feeling of reality and actuality about the book, that make the wise-cracks, the dangerous but a little thick men, the dangerous not necessarily thick women, all delivered with a Glasgow-Scottish tweak just fit together very seamlessly.

The best part of LENNOX is undoubtedly the great story-telling, the tale is told in the first person - Lennox is hard-bitten, driven, yet funny and honourable. The sense of place, the gloom and the ever-present outfall from a brutal war is palpable. The only downside of the book that remained is that I didn't find anything in it particularly memorable - it hasn't really stayed with me since completing reading it.

But I did enjoy the actual reading of it immensely.

Cross-Category Enjoyment

This is the classic hard-boiled story, a private detective with a chip on his shoulder, cynic and bitter with life but with a good heart deep down and his own set of moral rules he lives by. Ultimately Russell's strict adherence to the genre's tropes is also the book's only flaw.

This is a fantastic example of the genre in every way but lacking a bit of individuality. Lennox itself, the anti-hero, is too Marlowe-like only not as likable. The plot is every bit as confusing and complex as Chandler's plots usually were and the genre somewhat requires but ultimately forgettable. The book takes place in Glasgow but I never felt the city as a character. Sure, there's a lot about the Scottish people and the look of the city but you get the feeling the story could have taken place anywhere.

Finally, the ending is satisfying but a bit too brief and not as climatic as it could have been. For me all these flaws were minor and boil down to a lack of originality that can easily be fixed in the next books. Russell needs to find his own voice and apply it to the tropes. That's his only flaw. Its a love letter to hard-boiled fiction.

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A superior read! Dec 27, Aiden Mchaffie rated it it was amazing. Oh wow. This book was written for me. Set in grimy post-war gangland Glasgow we find a cheery, dapper Canadian war veteran, who got off the boat in Glasgow and didn't get the next one home. A mixture of Jim Rockford and Steve McGarrett who have been transported to Scotland in an attempt to avoid getting slugged from behind as often sadly failed.

The beauty of taking a step back in time is the exemption from modern convention of Oh wow. The beauty of taking a step back in time is the exemption from modern convention of how things are done, said and written. However there are some lines I personally found quite uncomfortable, in that I would be uncomfortable watching reruns of "Love thy Neighbour" or Benny Hill.

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I hope that the dialogue is set to be in keeping rather than just to be un PC. Anyway, putting aside my misgivings and moving on. We are post war, the country has been in decline for decades, none more obvious than in the Sectarian Tenements of the banks of the Clyde. Men have returned from untold horrors, with so many lines crossed and traumas merely scabbed over that life is cheap.

Those who left to fight the war never returned, they were replaced with replicas. Some tried to move on, some tried to capitalise and some merely capitulated. I defy you not love Lennox, the character in a macho way of course. At the risk of appearing sexist, this is a man's book; a boy's own, rough, tough and ' in you face ' tale, with gangsters, minders, guns, knives, saps and a narrative straight out of a Humphrey Bogart movie, only sharper, cruder and well I'm confusing you, aren't I?

Don't worry, it's not that complicated.


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I'm not sure, if there's such a thing as Glaswegian Noir but if there is, this is what it should be like. The 's, not long after the war, is the perfect setting for this story and everything just seems to 'fit'. It's fast, it's hard, it's unforgiving I see a long road ahead for Lennox and I, for one, am really looking forward to the journey. Now I'm off to find the next in series and the next and the next Lennox, the titular character, is a tough private eye who doesn't care too much which side of the law he works on or for in this noir crime thriller set in s Glasgow.

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While he might have a handful of legitimate cases, most of his income appears to come from digging up information to help Glasgow's crime kings stay on their lofty perches. The steps Lennox takes to get this information are usually on thin ice, and he spends most of the tale in one kind of a peril or another. The story is Lennox, the titular character, is a tough private eye who doesn't care too much which side of the law he works on or for in this noir crime thriller set in s Glasgow.

The story is told in first person, with a wise-cracking style that is right on the nail for a noir crime thriller. Lennox has only a stub of a conscience, and the only thing that keeps you rooting for him is that everyone else is even more despicable than he is. Craig Russell depicts the rough, rundown streets of post war Glasgow perfectly and has the reader almost choking on the smog along with Lennox.


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A fast-paced, highly entertaining read, which only just failed to earn itself 4 stars. I am on the Christian mystery site and there are many I want to write down to remember. A suggestion: a print option that would list the authors and series only, no description of books, that way we could just print off your suggestions and take it with us to the library or bookstore. Thank you, Jessica. I actually have her on my list of authors to post to the site.