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The Good Son (J. McNee #1)

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  145 Ratings  ·  36 Reviews
"THE GOOD SON is the most exciting, and gripping, Scottish crime fiction debut of recent years. Stylish and atmospheric, it marks the arrival of a exceptional talent." --John Connolly

"McLean has all the merits of this brilliant writer [Jean-Patrick Manchette] with the added bonus of a Scottish sense of wit that is like no other." --Ken Bruen

"Scottish crime fiction is enter
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published December 8th 2009 by Minotaur Books (first published January 1st 2008)
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James Thane
J. McNee is a former Scottish cop who has left the force and become a private investigator. McNee is even more emotionally wounded than most other depressed PIs and is still mourning the loss of his fiance who was killed in an accident nine months earlier. One suspects that McNee was never the most sociable person to begin with, but he has now become almost totally anti-social and rejects everyone who attempts to help ease his grief.

McNee is hired by a farmer, James Robertson, whose brother, Dan
Dec 20, 2014 Ms.pegasus rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in mysteries
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: GR review of James Thane
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Dundee is on the eastern coast of Scotland, north of St. Andrews. It's by no means a tourist destination like the big metropolises of Edinburgh and Glasgow far to the south. Its apartness is further demarcated by the Firth of Tay, which can be crossed by bridge or ferry. Yet it is also a town in transition, gentrification not quite eradicating its working class substrate. A dormant vigilantism and a historic intimacy with criminal elements lies just below the surface.

The narrator, McNee, was for
Nigel Bird
Jul 03, 2011 Nigel Bird rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
McNee. That’s his name, don’t wear it out. The name used by his wife, her family and his police colleagues. At least that’s what his wife called him before she died in an accident as she was driving him home, McNee riding shotgun, her father in the back. And it’s what the police still call him even though he left the force under a cloud of depression, a weight of guilt following said wife’s death and san incident where he smacked one of his superiors in the nose.

Since the accident, he’s not been
Jul 29, 2011 Lucinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Russel D. McLean
The Good Son (2008) introduces J. McNee, a former cop now working as a private investigator in Dundee, Scotland. McNee is tortured by the death of his wife and estranged from her father who blames him for the car accident that killed his daughter a year earlier. McNee’s injured leg has never recovered, though the doctors can find no physical reason for his continued limp and pain. McNee reluctantly takes up an investigation for local farmer James Robertson, whose brother Daniel r
Elizabeth A.
Feb 22, 2010 Elizabeth A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“I’ve already shot a man this evening, so what’s the difference now? Like smoking, it gets easier after the first one, right?” – J. McNee

Dundee, Scotland based J. McNee (full first name never given) is not at a good place in his life when we meet him in author Russel D. McLean’s debut novel, The Good Son. Formerly on the Dundee police force, McNee was forced into early retirement following a car crash that killed his fiancée and left him physically disabled and psychologically crippled.

Now worki
Lydia Presley
J. McNee, P.I. is a man with demons of his own, and when the opportunity arises to investigate an apparent suicide at the request of the deceased's brother, he takes it and finds himself in for a world of hurt.

This book was certainly a quick read. It was barely 200 pages long and packed with action and dialogue. It was very "noir", I could almost year the raspy voice narrating the story and picture everything in black and white. The language was pretty foul, especially towards the end and the my
Jul 29, 2013 Sharmila rated it liked it
A smart Scottish crime thriller with a bit more introspection and twist than others I have read. I enjoyed McLean's writing style from the protagonists perspective and the way he chose to gradually reveal information over the course of the novel rather than move through the tale chronologically. I wasn't as wowed as others seemed to have been by the premise or the delivery - it was ok for me. I liked how he attempted to tell two stories about loss through the tale rather than just one typical st ...more
Minty McBunny
A pretty by-the-numbers PI crime book, nothing innovative or really unique about it, kind of a fill in the blanks Ian Rankin imitation.
Mar 16, 2011 Johnny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Opening with a wonderfully unique premise, THE GOOD SON is a welcome addition to the private eye genre. As much character study as crime novel, we are introduced to a world of guilt and pain that I can't help but think is very Scottish.

I've always claimed that the Irish and the Scottish really get bleak, maybe due to the weather (Icedlandic authors, as well), but while this story opens in the darkness of the characters' present, glints of humanity and hope keep the story from pulling the reader
Nick Tomashot
I really like Scottish crime fiction (Ian Rankin, Christopher Brookmyre) so had to check out this new author. This is even darker than the genre usually is -- and is full of characters even less likeable than usual. The main character is supposed to be rude, disconnected, and self distructive as he copes with the loss of his fiance in an auto accident. But compared to everyone else in the novel his behaivior is only a matter of relative degree. Not for everyone for the reasons stated -- but I'll ...more
Mar 26, 2015 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
Novelist fail.
May 04, 2011 Jonathan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
Solid, if unspectacular, debut. I thought it was a little emotionally overwraught, especially the part where McNee feels all guilty about his wife's death (no spoiler there). The cause of her death, and his reasons for feeling guilty, don't seem to match the near suicidal grief. The mystery itself wasn't much of a mystery. I think it has some potential though and will try the next one in the series.
Nov 01, 2010 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting character study. Our hero is a Scottish, former cop who's now doing PI work. He's suffering from depression and post-traumatic stress after the car crash that killed his fiancee. Into his life comes a client looking for the history of his estranged brother's life and extreme, ugly violence ensues. Twists and turns and lots of man's inhumanity to man that I found disturbing but compelling.
Stan Lanier
Sep 29, 2010 Stan Lanier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good tale told in a compelling voice. What it's like to be a "hard man" when you have feelings? This example of Scottish crime fiction introduces a lot of us to Dundee. A good addition for us to Rankin's Edinburgh and Mina's Glasgow. Where will McLean take his damaged protagonist, McNee? Does McNee know Jack Taylor? (LOL) McLean has, I think, a fine start for a series that I would follow.
I was pretty underwhelmed with this debut PI book that was nominated for the Shamus Award for best first novel. The plot was frankly mediocre and while the main character had the requisite tortured back story his willingness to just wallow in his grief made him not someone I wanted to spend time with. I did like the Dundee setting though.
McNee is is an ex-cop turned investigator in Dundee. He's seriously guilt ridden, rejecting all offers of help or friendship, not a very nice guy, and his client isn't a very nice guy either. Bad things happen, but not to good people because there really aren't any. It's a decent noir piece.
Feb 16, 2010 Stephanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book so much that I even read through the acknowledgments! Fast paced with a great story line and twist at the end- everything required for a good satisfying thriller. This was the author's debut, and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of his work.
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read in one sitting, short pacy chapters, McNee a complex character whose fate and thought processes begin to matter very early on in the book. I don't know Dundee at all but its differences to Edinburgh and Glasgow, and Aberdeen were made obvious. Good to know there are more to read.
Jan 13, 2010 Cindy rated it really liked it
A Scottish detective mystery that is well written. The main detective is grief stricken over the death of his wife. A client comes in who is trying to find out about his brother who just committed suicide. But, all is not what it seems.

Fantastic book.
Feb 06, 2010 Linda rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up-on
I can't recommend this book. In fact, I had to give up on it. I just couldn't get interested in the main character. I'd read a good review, and that's why it was on my list to read, but there are just too many other books on my list right now!
Apr 06, 2010 Fiona rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I liked the Scottish-ness of the book and the crime was intersting, but not captivating. It had great descriptions and a couple of really bad thugs, but otherwise a quick easy read.
Oct 04, 2011 Naomi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this book was good, I didn't think that it was great or that it stood out from its' competition along the same genre. However, I did read it and it flowed well.
Lesley Allan
Oct 29, 2012 Lesley Allan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First book I've read by Russell D McLean and well worth a look. J. McNee is a very likeable character and by the end of the book I was very excited to read the sequel.
Lisa Elrick
Apr 11, 2011 Lisa Elrick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Based in Dundee so recognised a lot of the landmarks! Amazing read! Well worth a read!

Met the author himself and what a lovely shy guy he is!
Feb 23, 2012 Jack rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scottish private eye with a troubled past is asked to look at the background to a suicide which turns into something more dangerous than he expected
Mar 11, 2010 Leslie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-books
Too much foul language for my taste - also, as others have said, I couldn't bring myself to care that much for any of the characters.
Oct 15, 2011 Jacqueline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding read! If you like mystery and British comedy you will really enjoy this fast paced and culturally nuanced book.
Karen Stacy
Jan 28, 2013 Karen Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Likeable, easy read. The difference in language was easily interpreted. A thrilling whodunnit with plot twists to the very end.
Vincent Zandri
Mar 10, 2010 Vincent Zandri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great piece of noir...McLean is writer with a future as brilliant as noir is dark!
Too many explitives on the first few pages to get past that
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Russel McLean has written for Crime Spree Magazine, The Big Thrill (the newsletter of the International Thriller Writers Association), At Central Booking and Crime Scene Scotland. His short fiction has been published in crime fiction magazines worldwide.

The first three novels featuring Dundonian PI J McNee are, THE GOOD SON, THE LOST SISTER and FATHER CONFESSOR.

His early short stories have been co
More about Russel D. McLean...

Other Books in the Series

J. McNee (5 books)
  • The Lost Sister (J. McNee, #2)
  • Father Confessor (J. McNee, #3)
  • Mothers of the Disappeared (J. McNee, #4)
  • Cry Uncle (J. McNee, #5)

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