Squeaky Clean

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Pub Date 11 Jun 2024 | Archive Date 20 Mar 2024
Pushkin Press | Pushkin Vertigo

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A raw, fast-paced, and darkly comic thriller and “an amazingly accomplished debut,” perfect for fans of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid – The Times Crime Book of the Month

“An absolute knockout! Pitch-dark and yet dripping with warmth. Packed with brilliantly drawn characters, laugh-out-loud humour, and lots of blood – what’s not to love?” – Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies

From a hard-hitting and brutally funny new voice in crime writing comes the first in a new series starring DI Alison McCoist - the least popular detective in the Glasgow police.

Half the Glasgow copshop think DI Alison McCoist is bent. The other half just think she's a fuck-up.

No one thinks very much at all about carwash employee Davey Burnet, until one day he takes the wrong customer's motor for a ride.

One kidnapping later, he and the carwash are officially part of Glasgow's criminal underworld, working for a psychopath who enjoys playing games like 'Keep Yer Kneecaps' with any poor bastard who crosses him.

Can Davey escape from the gang's clutches with his kneecaps and life intact? Perhaps this polis Ally McCoist who keeps nosing around the carwash could help. That's if she doesn't get herself killed first.

Don’t miss this propulsively readable story of two likeable but flawed characters sucked into a grim criminal underworld –think wayward Scottish police meets Breaking Bad.

A raw, fast-paced, and darkly comic thriller and “an amazingly accomplished debut,” perfect for fans of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid...

Advance Praise

“An astonishingly good debut. Wonderfully rounded characters, misfits all, who we really care about, in a compelling story laced with humour and humanity. Callum McSorley is an outstanding new writer who is destined to become a very big name in the genre.” — Peter James

“A good many ghastly things happen in Squeaky Clean, and McSorley doesn't spare you the details; but this is also a comic novel, with characters who are, no matter how frightening and violent, absurd.” — Book Brunch

“Gritty, bloody and oozing with the menace of the underworld... McSorley has crafted an accomplished novel that is already being hailed as a classic of the Tartan Noir genre. [Squeaky Clean] cracks along at a rare pace, and combines an easy writing style, an ear for dialogue and a nice line in dry wit... The sort of page-turner which ensures that once you've started, you'll keep going until the final, gripping denouement.” — Scottish Field

“An astonishingly good debut. Wonderfully rounded characters, misfits all, who we really care about, in a compelling story laced with humour and humanity. Callum McSorley is an outstanding new writer...

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ISBN 9781782278382
PRICE $16.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 21 members

Featured Reviews

The pages turn with ease in this tartan noir crime thriller. Caught in the middle between Glasgow gangsters and the police, carwash cleaner Davey boy must do whatever it takes to stay alive. A staggeringly brilliant debut sprinkled with deadly dark humour.

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Set around the nefarious goings on in a Glasgow car wash this was an absolute blast, and only strengthens the Scottish reputation for producing exceedingly good crime thrillers, tinged with laconic wit, and dark, dark, humour. There’s gangsters, a maverick female detective, the wonderfully named Alison McCoist, and a gritty, pull-no-punches storyline that had me laughing and gripped in equal measure. It reads like a brilliant mash up of Irvine Welsh and Alan Parks, and if you love your Scottish crime edgy, viciously funny and completely engaging, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

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Thank you NetGalley and Pushkin Press for the eARC.
Davey is a car washer who unexpectedly gets sucked into doing favors for an absolute beast of a
Glasgow mob boss. I felt so bad for him, his life has become a total nightmare.
Alison McCoist is a disgraced DI trying to claw her way back. Again, I felt sympathy and was so glad when she ended up with Bruce, her rescue puppy, practically the only light in her life.
My late husband was Scottish and I had surprisingly little trouble with the Glasgow accent, I actually enjoyed it immensely.
A terrific book, raw, brutal and at times hilarious, I loved it! Can't wait for the next one!

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It worries me that a lot of my favorite crime authors are getting older, and one day perhaps not all that far off, series I have been reading for a long time will come to an end. Which is why I'm so happy to have stumbled onto Callum McSorley and DI Alison McCoist. I hope to reading about her and her dog Bruce for many years to come. The dialect of the dialog took me a minute to get used to, but I did and it was easy reading by the end.

Squeaky Clean is a compelling story, that's well told - exciting twists and turns throughout, everything you want out of a good crime novel. It hooked me early on, and I read it quickly. Looking forward to Paperboy!

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What’s not to love about a book that’s dark, written with foul language and you read in your head with a Scottish accent! Love it… it’s my first by this author and I’m hoping he fine tunes and writes more. Reminds me of another author haha ( JD Kirk!)

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for allowing me the chance to read this advance copy.

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Squeaky Clean is the very assured ,and already very successful, Scottish Crime thriller by Callum McSorley. If you're a fan of Stuart MacBride, Chris Brookmyre and Irvine Welsh you'll love this......and not be fazed by the sweary and bloody storyline.

Detective Inspector Alison McCoist and car wash attendant Davey Burnet have something in common, they've both made bad mistakes at work. The main difference is that while McCoist's cost her ridicule and left her under suspicion by her colleagues, Davey's put him in the middle of a war between rival gangs of equally psychotic thugs.
With Alison seeking redemption and Davey desperately trying to stop his entire world falling apart this is a very funny and fast-moving story full of flawed,but very well-drawn,characters. McSorley balances some quite disturbing scenes with plenty of humour and empathy as some of the characters struggle to do the right thing against all the odds.

Some readers might struggle with the dialogue and a "Weegee-English" glossary would have been good but as with an Irvine Welsh book it's a learning curve,albeit mostly one of learning new Scottish obscenities.

Great read,great fun.

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I have Scottish grandparents so I always jump at the chance to read some Tartan Noir. I absolutely loved this mix of the tough and gritty crime underworld with moments of pure hilarity, and the fact that a lot of the spoken elements were written in the Glaswegian dialect made it feel so much more authentic. There were some brilliant characters here, particularly Davey who is unfortunately one of those people who seem to attract bad things happening to them, but happily for me this made for a really entertaining story. A dark and brutally funny debut, I would love to see some of these characters return in a sequel.

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Squeaky Clean by Callum McSorley is the dark comedy crime novel for everybody that has enjoyed at least one book by either Ivine Welsh or Ian Rankin (both I was obsessed by in my 20s, and now, I have another outstanding Scottish author to add to my favourites list in this genre!)

I was utterly howling throughout this book. I cannot even. I was sputtering, gasping for air, full on uggo laughing and no, I didn't care because Squeaky Clean is brilliant!

Winner of the McIlvanny Prize for Scottish Crime of the Year and rightly so. The characters are beatifully developed, the dialogue and banter is on point and the storyline a scorcher

DI Alison McCoist is really not like in her station, most think she is a mess, either corrupt or just a naff police officer. However, nobody thinks much of a carwash employee called Davey Burnet either. Until events cause them both to cross paths with the twisted psycopathy of Glasgow's premier crime boss

An absolute screamer of a novel that will leave scorch marks on your psyche and your sides split from laughing, The narrative is snarky, blunt and brutal but oh so relatable and utterly gripping, I cannot wait to read more!

Thank you to Netgalley, Pushkin Press, Pushkin Vertigo and the author Callum McSorley for this incredible ARC. My review is left voluntarily and all opinions are my own

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This was great fun, real Tartan noir and with a brilliant hero a scary villain and a cop called Ally McCoist how can you go wrong?

It took a while and some help from my Scottish partner to get used to the dialect and patois but after a time you barely notice it and just enjoy a cracking good tale with excites and intrigues all the way through.

It has a bit of everything and will surely be a massive seller. I can heartily recommend it.

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Callum McSorley is a new writer on the Tartan Noir scene and with his debut novel he makes a huge splash. I absolutely loved this story of the dark underbelly of Glasgow, peopled by monstrous thugs and pitiful losers, watched over by a sometimes heroic, sometimes incompetent and sometimes corrupt police force, the whole thing leavened with a hearty helping of the darkest humour. All the major characters (damaged misfits everyone of them), and some minor ones too, are superbly drawn. Most of them provoked nothing but the deepest loathing from this reader with empathy and sympathy reserved for just one of the protagonists. The device of writing most of the dialogue in the Glaswegian dialect (or is it actually a language in its own right?) was surprising and just a little unsettling at the start but it soon became an integral part of the enjoyment of this terrific book. I honestly cannot recommend it highly enough.

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This would make a great tv show. Lots of gritty realism and pitch black humour. I loved it!

I know it’s a cliche but I couldn’t stop turning the pages (well, tapping the kindle but that doesn’t sound right) to find out what was in store for Davey and DI Allison McCoist.

With witty, dialogue and a fast paced story, this is surely going to be a bestseller. I can’t wait for more in the series.

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I’d recently read quite a bit of Tartan-Noir and was excited to read Squeaky Clean by Callum McSorley. I was also convinced to read the book as it was described as: wayward Scottish police meets Breaking Bad which made it sound fun.

It’s a great rollercoaster of a ride covering the underbelly of Glasgow. I enjoyed the dark humour and the way in which the dialogue was written in dialect. It made it feel very Glaswegian.

I really got behind DI Alison McCoist and found her an interesting protagonist. I can’t wait to read more books by Callum McSorley.

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A new Scottish detective to play with in DI Alison McCoist introduced as a failure despised by her peers but somehow still employed. Given all the dead end jobs she stumbles into the misdeeds of a Glasgow kingpin gangster and the story rattles along on a tide of dark humour and extreme violence. Full of dodgy characters all speaking in a Glaswegian accent it takes a bit of concentration to keep up but is well worth it. Look forward to more of the same!

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I am a bit late to the party with this book, but I am glad I eventually got there...
We start with a cop - DI Alison McCoist - yep... Ally McCoist - Rangers legend... And yes, she gets ribbed by it all the way through, and no, it doesn't get old or boring! She's a bit of a f-up having botched a sensitive murder enquiry - putting away the wrong person, and so, even though she is still attached to the MIT - by a very thin thread - she is given all the dross jobs... She's frustrated but determined to get back up to where she belongs... Also to avenge those who helped bring her down...
We also meet Davey Burnet who works at a car-wash. He is down on his luck, separated from his missus who is also refusing him access to their daughter. One day, a forgotten court case has him "borrowing" a client's car in order to try make it on time... But this decision turns out to be much much worse than he can ever envisage and is the catalyst for the spiral in fortune he suffers...
And that's all I am saying. It's all a bit interconnected and convoluted and best read as the author intends. One thing I will warn you about before you dive in, the dialogue is written in the Scottish Glaswegian vernacular. It's easily translated along the way but, if you are like me, you might need to "read aloud" occasionally!
The characters are brilliant. Occasionally larger than life but never verging into caricature. It probably helped that I took to Davey right from the start. Poor lad, he really didn't have any luck in life at all. And I know you make your own luck, but some people really are beyond hope/help. And Ally - loved her for all the wrong and right reasons. She's a maverick, she's tenacious, she throws off authority like it's a manky coat. She's her own woman. And she loves her wee dug.
It's brutal in places and funny in others. Starting off quite lightly it descends into quite a dark place so it's good that there is humour peppered throughout. All culminating in a complicated but wholly satisfying conclusion. It really is Tartan Noir at its very best.
And the very best thing about this book. Apart from it being brilliant, is that there is a sequel... Now... who do I have to "persuade" to get me a copy of that bad boy... My thanks go to the Publisher and Netgalley for the chance to read this book.

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Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this eARC.

"Squeaky Clean" by Callum McSorley is a gritty, darkly humorous dive into the underbelly of Glasgow's criminal world. The novel introduces us to Davey Burnet, a seemingly inconsequential car wash employee whose life takes a dramatic turn when he unwittingly becomes entangled with the city's nefarious figures.

The narrative is fast-paced and brimming with tension, capturing the reader's attention from the first page. McSorley's Glasgow is not for the faint-hearted; it's a place where violence is a language and survival is an art. The author's use of Scottish vernacular adds authenticity to the setting, though it may pose a challenge for those unfamiliar with the dialect.

DI Alison McCoist, the other central character, is a flawed yet determined detective, whose reputation is as battered as the city she serves. Her dogged pursuit of justice and redemption is as compelling as Davey's struggle for survival. Their paths cross in unexpected ways, leading to a series of events that are as unpredictable as they are thrilling.

McSorley's debut is a bold statement, showcasing a knack for blending dark comedy with crime thriller elements. The characters are deeply flawed, yet undeniably human, making them both relatable and memorable. The dialogue is sharp and often laced with humor, providing levity to an otherwise intense narrative.

Overall, "Squeaky Clean" is a standout novel that offers a fresh take on the crime genre. It's a book that entertains as much as it provokes thought, leaving readers eager to see what McSorley will write next. With its unique voice and unflinching portrayal of Glasgow's dark side, this book is a must-read for fans of crime fiction looking for something out of the ordinary.

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Squeaky Clean by @callumrmcsorley


I’m not sure how old Callum is, he looks like a boy in his photos (I’m getting old) - and this was his debut novel!!! How?!
Despite my jealousy, I loved Squeaky Clean. It’s funny in the way The Sopranos was - one minute you’re laughing and onside with the characters, the next you realise what you’re laughing at and how bad they actually are.

DI Alison (Ally) McCoist has messed up big time and no one trusts her. Carwash employee Davey Burnet has messed up too, and it’s going to change his life forever.

There’s kidnapping, murder, prostitution… the worst of Glasgow’s underworld. Can Davey escape its clutches? Can Ally put away the psycho at the head of it all? I couldn’t stop turning the pages to find out and can’t wait for the sequel next year.

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