Ways to Die in Glasgow - Jay Stringer

If you haven't read this author before, be warned. Graphic violence, creative killers & Scottish cursing lie ahead. And humour...the black variety that may cause a fit of giggles at the most inappropriate moment. So if you felt only horror/distaste when forced to watch movies such as "Pulp Fiction" or "Fargo", step away from this book now. But if you lean toward the slightly twisted this is a great read.


At the centre of the story is Rab Anderson, a hard man who's ruled Glasgow's criminal element for years. When he disappears, it sets off a chain of events that cause a herd of characters to cross paths. Several take turns narrating their role in alternate chapters so we get multiple POV's.


Sam Ireland is a newbie PI who's taken over her father's business now that he's succumbing to dementia. She thinks she hit the jackpot when hired by a wealthy lawyer to find Rab & serve him with papers. Sam is smart, determined & quite possibly in way over her head.

Mackie is the unstable nephew, a would-be thug still mourning his dead girlfriend. Someone tried to kill him last night & this sets him off on a search for Uncle Rab. As Mackie cuts a swath through the city, the result is both violent & hilarious.

DI Andy Lambert is a veteran cop, weary of dealing with Glasgow's lowlife & living under his father-in-law's thumb. He's basically a decent guy in a bad situation & knows exactly where to find Rab.


There's a large cast that ranges from wealthy businessmen to criminals of every stripe. The author wastes no time getting the story up & running. It's kind of like jumping into a speeding car. The book opens with a bang & maintains a fast pace that has the reader racing around the city with each character involved in the search.

The plot is layered & you're never sure who is on the same team. As the story progresses hidden alliances & old secrets are slowly revealed, making you rethink what you thought you knew. 

The writing is fluid & descriptive so you become intimate with the gritty back alleys & affluent streets of Glasgow. Dialogue is riddled with local vernacular & frequently laugh out loud funny. But these are not choir boys & there are moments of real tension & suspense as you flip the pages to see who survives.


Basically it's barely controlled mayhem & feels like it must have been as much fun to write as to read. This was the first time I've read this author. Now that I know what I'm missing, book #2 can't arrive soon enough.