Edge of the Grave is a dark, gritty police procedural that takes place in Glasgow in the 1930s. It is a story of murder, gangs and corruption that is difficult to put down. Robbie Morrison opens with an introduction to historic Glasgow. It is a city divided by religions and dominant gangs. It sets the scene and the mood for the murders to come. When the son-in-law of a prominent shipbuilder is murdered the case falls to Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn and his partner Archie McDaid. They are opposites in physical description and temperament but they complement each other. Whether police or criminals, Morrison develops his characters well and ties events together in a final twist that is unforgettable and will have you looking forward to the return of Dreghorn and McDaid. I would like to thank NetGalley and Random House - Ballantine for providing this book for my review.
I enjoy a good murder mystery and I enjoy period pieces. So, I was thrilled when I was asked to review a murder mystery set in Scotland in 1932. Edge of the Grave is Robbie Morrison’s debut novel, and I couldn’t wait to check out this new author’s work.
The book introduces us to Jimmy Dreghorn, former dockworker, boxer, soldier, and now an Inspector in a newly formed unit in the Scotland police department post-World War I. He and his partner, Archie McDaid, are already on a case involving the battery of a woman and the brutal murder of her child, when they come across a body floating in the River Clyde. Not just any body, but the son-in-law of one of the wealthiest shipbuilders in Glasgow and the former boss and sponsor of Dreghorn. And this is no ordinary drowning…this floater has had his throat sliced from ear to ear.
To solve one case, Dreghorn has to make a deal with the devil. The leader of the local gang, the Billy Boys, wants help finding his long-lost sister. In return, he will hand over the child killer. So Dreghorn finds himself working on two official cases – the murder of a child and the floater – while working on unofficial case, a woman who went missing after becoming pregnant and putting her child up for adoption. Not only is his case load increasing exponentially, but Dreghorn’s personal life is about to be turned upside down as the floater’s wife is Dreghorn’s former lover.
While Dreghorn and McDaid try to work the case without alienating members of high society by day, Dreghorn conducts his side investigation into Billy’s sister, which is not as simple as it seems. By the time he realizes both cases are intertwined, Dreghorn is being sucked into a whirlpool of danger that could mean the end of his career…and his life.
To say that Edge of the Grave is just a murder mystery is to do it great disservice. This book is a thriller, action-packed and filled with mystery and intrigue. The action starts right away and we are on the edge of our seats immediately. Robbie Morrison is a great poker player. He does a great job of creating interesting characters that draw us in and make us want to know more about them. He feeds us morsels of information about each of the players and the cases through flashbacks, bits of found evidence, and conversation between characters, but we always want more and he will only give us so much so as not to reveal his whole hand.
When he finally does reveal his hand, we have already been on a rollercoaster ride filled with twists and turns. And when we finally reach the end of that rollercoaster, we are left with an explanation that leaves us with our mouths agape. I believe I actually said, “Whoa! Never saw that one coming!” Just when you think the whole thing is resolved and we know who the killer is and what happened, we reach the end of the novel and learn we didn’t know anything at all!
Robbie Morrison knows a thing or two about suspense, having started out as a comic book writer, but with Edge of the Grave, he has more than proven he is a talented thriller novelist as well. The moment I learned that Edge of the Grave was meant to be part of a novel series, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the second book as well. I talk about Edge of the Grave to every thriller/mystery lover, recommending this novel as the best I have read recently and one that will leave you wanting more from the author. Thank you, Mr. Morrison, for such an entertaining novel, filled with action, intrigue, and suspense, with an ending that was powerful and surprising. This is one novel that is definitely worth the read!
A great start to a new series. DI Dreghorn is on the hunt for a serial killer amid the tensions in 1930’s Glasgow. We see the dark and ugliness of the gangs. Very well written.
Many thanks to Random House and to NetGalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.
Edge of the Grave is written by Robbie Morrison. This is the first book that I have read by this author - and it will not be my last. This is the first book in the Jimmy Dreghorn series. Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn is the lead on the murder case where a son-in-law of one of the city’s wealthiest shipbuilders is found floating in the River Clyde with his throat cut.
This is a gangster,/thriller story. The book contains a lot of Scottish dialect - which took some getting used too. However, you will find yourself engaged in the story from the first few pages.
Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for allowing me to read a copy of this book - all thoughts are my own.
A historical noir as pitch black as a funeral suit. Set in 1930s Glasgow, this will appeal to fans of the show Peaky Blinders and readers of Philip Kerr novels. There's a heaping of violence, a sadistic murderer, and police work that feels true. Well written and gripping.
It’s 1932. Police in Glasgow have some leniency in how they question criminals. A well-timed beating or clubbing can do wonders for recalcitrant suspects. A particularly vicious murder has occurred along the Glasgow docks. And the victim is from a wealthy local family. Detective Jimmy Dreghorn and his partner Archie McDaid head the investigation.
The investigation begins with the victim's family, then his co-workers, then his hobbies (gambling and women) and any connections with a children’s home and what the victim and others connected brought back from the trenches in France.
An interesting and captivating story of Glasgow Noir that stretches across the wide expanse of the postwar Scottish social structure. Shouldn’t take one too long to read because of its length as well as the quality of storytelling. This is Morrison’s first mention by us. I’d expect more.
Thanks for NetGalley for the advance reviewer copy.
Thanks to the love of little Jimmy Dregons uncle Joe he didn’t fall prey to the gangs around Glasgow but instead became the cop who would try and stop them.
This book was a little bit of an anomaly for me in what I usually read but when Netgalley sent it over, it sounded interesting and a little of something I hadn't read before. It's set in 1932 Glasglow, Scotland in the midst of the gangs and crime of the day, is a crime drama/mystery/thriller and has a bit of a slower, methodical pace in how it unfolds.
Initially I struggled to get into it and considered setting it aside. There was a ton of backstory and setting, explaining the different gangs and how they interacted, painting the scene. There were also a lot of nicknames of people and gangs to keep track of, and some Scottish slang I didn't know, but once it got into the story line, all the detail made it feel more rounded and gave me context. So while being slow and a lot to wade thru initially, I found my self getting more invested in what was going on after maybe 30-ish percent.
I thought it was well written, you understood both the environment and the scene, the dialogue was good, and I was invested in the characters and their purpose or emotion in the story. The characters were complicated, while there was good/evil, some of the lines were a little blurred and there were flaws in each of them, which made them feel realistic. And while I wouldn't say the ending villain was completely unpredictable, the details were.
Overall, I enjoyed it and liked a little change of flow/storyline from what I typically go for. Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. All opinions are mine.
While Robbie Morrison’s Edge of the Grave more-than-gritty prologue stopped me in my tracks – actually putting the book down for a day or two wondering for what I was in store, the subsequent slow build took me a bit to get through with flashbacks but once I got my bearings, it led to a dark but fantastically layered historical noir mystery with interesting characters you care about and want to read more of in future installments.
The Bloody Scotland Debut Crime Novel of the Year award-winner, Edge of the Grave is set in 1932 Glasgow, where poverty, corruption, sectarianism and razor gangs are rampant and where the violence against man, woman or child could be horrific. Family secrets ran just as dark and deep.
Among other crimes, Detective Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn and Detective Sergeant “Bonnie” Archie McDaid set out to solve the murder of Charles Geddes, the husband of Dreghorn’s unrequited love – well maybe requited in his youth – daughter of his former boss, a rich and powerful shipbuilder.
I loved the relationship between Jimmy and Archie and the strengths and weaknesses each brought to the story. I also was happy to see Jimmy support the role of WPC Ellen Duncan actively investigating the case and not just fetching male officers a cuppa.
I also enjoyed Morrison’s movie references throughout and wondered whether or not Dreghorn’s film knowledge would lead to the recognition of a clue. Perhaps in the next installment, Cast a Cold Eye, due out in April.
I recommend Edge of the Grave to fans of gritty historical mysteries and British noir. I received this Advance Reader’s copy of Edge of the Grave from Bantam Books, courtesy of NetGalley.
Great setting, characters and plot. Our patrons will love this, especially our mystery club. Will order.
This is Book 1 of the Jimmy Dreghorn Series. Glasgow, 1932. When the son-in-law of a wealthy shipbuilder ends up dead in the river, he must solve the murder before there are more killings. Despite the circumstances, he must overcome the obstacles that are placed in his way and solve the murder before there are more victims.
This is a procedural set in two periods, World War I and 1932. It is set in Glasgow and tells the tale of murders, child molestation, blackmail and hoodlumism, which is also a description of the general Glasgow area during the depression. The cast of characters were around for both periods and appeared to know each other well. I found it to be slow reading, partly because of the era and partly because of the convoluted relationships between the protagonists and the antagonists, yet I found it to be a remarkable novel with an unforgettable climax. Thanks to Net Galley and Random House for an ARC for an honest review.
A 1930’s Glasgow Police Procedural
The depression in the 1930s hit Glasgow hard. The city was a morass of corrupt officials, rival fighting gangs, police unable to control crime, and terrible poverty. Into this mix, Percy Joseph Stilltoe is appointed Chief Constable. He selects teams to fight facets of this corruption. DI Jimmy Dreghorn and his partner, DS Archie McDaud are part of this select band.
When the body of Charles Geddes is found in the River Clyde, Dreghorn and McDaid are given the assignment of finding the killer. Geddes is the son-in-law of Sir Iain Lockhart, one of Glasgow’s wealthiest men, and Dreghorn has ties to the family, particularly Isla, the daughter of the family.
Pursuing the case Dreghorn and McDaid, move from the high society of the Lockhart’s to the dregs of the most poverty stricken and crime ridden areas of the city. The author does an excellent job of bringing both scenes to life. He doesn’t shy from the brutality which makes the book very dark in some sections. However, the author also shows the picturesque side of Glasgow giving the reader a taste of both sides of the city. He was able to make the background so real, I felt as if I were there.
The book is not fast paced, but moves at a tempo that keeps you reading. I also found the scenes of Dreghorn’s early life illuminating. It’s a good start if this is the first book in a new series.
I received this review copy from Net Galley and Random House.
Ominous, twisty, dark, and mysterious, EDGE OF THE GRAVE by Robbie Morrison was immediately entrancing from the first sentence through to the deeply satisfying conclusion. This book kept me up late at night, yearning for one more chapter -- and also haunted my days, making me reconsider the smallest moments and the reality that we cannot know another person even though we may think we know their circumstances, background, family, facts of their life. I loved the settings, the time period, thorough view into individuals and their motivations with empathy, all the elements that kept me guessing, but also happily riding the story woven by a master craftsman. I received a copy of this book and these opinions are my own, unbiased thoughts.
Set in the 1930s (and WWI era for backstory) with robust characters who are captives of live circumstances,this mystery evokes the height of detectives of the film noir era. At times gloomy and others hopeful, the story mirrors the life and worldview of the main character, Inspector Jimmy Dreghorn. Life chances put him on one side of the law, with most of his peers from his childhood on the rougher streets of Glasgow on the other, and this book is as much about his struggle coming to terms with who he is as it is about the murder and other mysteries that make up the subplots. This was a deeply engaging book until the very end, at which point I found myself disappointed in the final scenes (which I can’t comment on more without giving the plot away). I’m glad I read the book as it was different from what I’ve been reading lately, but really wish the ending had been different and less contrived for shock value..
Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, Bantam, Netgalley, and the author for early access to this book.
Edge of the Grave by Robbie Morrison is a crime thriller/police procedural set in 1932, with flashbacks, primarily to WWI. These people all knew one another. It was a neighborhood of lower middle class who spilled over to work for/associate with the upper class, in limited amounts. It was a convoluted story of a Glasgow police officer and the family of a local magnate. It was a time when it mattered if you were Protestant or Catholic, even to soccer teams. Jimmy Dreghorn had trained to be a boxer. He was good at it, good enough to come to the attention of a wealthy local man, Lord Lockhart, who paid to train athletes, mostly so he could exploit them. They trained at this house, where his daughter lived. It was only a matter of time until she caught the notice of one of them. Isla was a beautiful girl who had grown into a beautiful woman. The wife of the man whose body they had found. Now Jimmy Dreghorn, a police officer, and his partner, McDaid, would investigate. What an investigation it would be.
Jimmy left home and returned, but never really left. He was a part of the culture there and he never forgot it. He and his partner investigated a very convoluted crime, perpetrated by someone who turned out to by a sociopath. Once he tasting killing, he could never forgo it. They followed all the steps they could, with very little forensic science to back them up at the time. They were both good characters, both serious cops who worked hard. It is difficult to describe all that happens without spoilers. Let me just say: this a dynamic. It is a book you will never regret reading. It is gritty, it is real. It is very well done and the reader doesn’t know it all until it’s done.
I was invited to read a free e-ARC of Edge of the Grave by Random House Publishing Group-Ballantine, through Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are mine. #Netgalley #RandomHousePublishingGroupBallantine #Robbie Morrison #EdgeOfTheGrave
This is the first book in a new series set in 1930's Glasgow with characters and communities true to that era of bllod and violence. The first book in a series must set the characters in a readers mind, building the "picture" they see when each character makes their entrance to the page.
Not many readers in 2023 will be familiar with the Glasgow background. Robbie Morrison does an excellent job of skillfully painting what the combined hardships of WWI and the Depression would have inflicted on the people and their livelihoods that led to the overall violence that will be met at each chapter. The back story of the MC, DI Jimmy Dreghorn is told through flashes of memory as he must now go back to where his story started to investigate the murder of the members of a rich and powerful family he used to be part of.
The story contains some graphic violence, but Glasgow in this era was not a place for the weak hearted. The story and the characters are much better for not protraying the City as something it wasn't. A great start to a series that should definitely hold a few more stories that need to be told.
Wow. Edge of the Grave, Book 1 of a new series by Robbie Morrison, is a dark, often bleak murder mystery set in 1930s Glasgow, Scotland. Setting is everything in this novel, which is far too carefully written for me to spill secrets or offer spoilers. There are some chapters with shifts in time that relate past events. Read these shifts in time carefully, since they link to events in 1932, including events in the concluding chapters.
The characters in Edge of the Grave are compelling, and without fail, interesting. Morrison captures the damage of war and how the men who survived never totally survived the Great War. Glasgow is a city filled with two classes of people--those with money and those without. It is the depression and the tenements are described with clarity. I was recently in Glasgow and had toured Tenement House. Morrison captures the poverty, bleakness, and life of the barely working class people, who lived in tenements, barely surviving from day to day. There is a brutality and darkness that sets the stage perfectly for what happens, when two police detectives, Dreghorn and McDaid, set out to solve a murder. Readers can only look forward to more from these two men in the next book of this fabulous series.
As I read Edge of the Grave I kept seeing it as a BBC Noir mystery. I could see the characters and the locations. Justice is not uncomplicated and difficult to find in 1930s Glasgow. What a terrific book. Be sure to have time to sit down and read Edge of the Grave. Readers will not want to put it down. I had trouble putting it down! Thank you to the author, publishers, Random House Ballantine, and NetGalley for sending this ARC for me to read and review. Wow, wow, wow. I loved this book.
A dark story with interesting characters. Dreghorn and McDaid have their hands full with this investigation. It involves a wealthy family that Dreghorn has known for many years. They run across all kinds of people from different walks of life while investigating and can't seem to get anywhere with their case. It all leads to dead ends. Dreghorn takes a beating more than once, but he still keeps investigating. When the killer is finally found, it is a very surprising turn of events.
Thank you so much for the ARC of this title.
I'm not a big gore person, so much of this book was too intense for me. I thought it was an interesting a realistic portrayal of the time period and the book was quite engaging most of the time. It slowed down at times, with a lot of description that made the book feel long, but it was still gripping. I don't think this was the right book for me, but I have no doubt that it will have an audience-- especially those who don't mind some violence in their reading. Good luck to the author and publisher on this release!