How To Kill Friends And Implicate People - Jay Stringer

Glasgow, present day. It may seem like a big city but turns out if you’re living a life that’s just slightly left of centre, you probably know someone who knows someone. In this case, it’s six degrees of hit man Fergus Fletcher.


You see, Fergus was hired by professional fixer Joe Pepper to kill a politician. Unfortunately the pol was “entertaining” a young woman named Paula who’d been sent there by Cal Gibson, son of hard man Mike Gibson. No worries…..nothing Fergus & Joe can’t clean up.

Now Fergus can concentrate on his next job. Alex Pennan has hired him to make it look as if he died so he can disappear with money he’s embezzled from a cartel. It’s a bit of a poser….kind of an un-hit.

But it could open up a whole new line of work. He’s been having a wee existential crisis lately concerning his career & realizes how alone he is. Maybe he should try one of those online dating things…..


Sam Ireland supplements her PI business by running a courier service. After picking up a package from some girl named Paula, she gets a couple of new cases. Mrs. Pennan would like to know if her husband is cheating on her. And local gangster Mike Gibson needs her to find his idiot son Cal. So business is good. She’s just a bit distracted because she recently downloaded a dating app & there’s this guy named Fergus……


Let the games begin. And just a tip: you may find venn diagrams useful. It’s an unholy grab bag of criminals, politicians (redundant?), cops & lawyers providing a backdrop for love, Glasgow style. Characters take turns narrating chapters in Stringer’s trademark economical & witty dialogue. Those written in Glaswegian vernacular are particularly hilarious. The numerous connections between them leave you wondering who’s on the same side & who will walk away.


Make no mistake, this is not a cozy. Sooner or later they all get sucked into the blood thirsty power struggle for the city. It’s obvious early on some of these people won’t survive although in a few cases it shakes your faith in Darwin that they’ve made it this far. Just sit back & enjoy the mayhem as they lie, steal & crash their way around the city.


Several characters pop up in previous books. We met Sam in “Ways to Die in Glasgow”.  And stoner Cal was featured in short story “The Goldfish Heist”, where he bravely took on a rogue koi fish.


It’s kind of the literary equivalent of a Tarantino movie where scenes elicit gasps of horror & inappropriate laughter. And like those movies, it won’t be for everyone. But if you’re a fan of smart, intricate plots & tartan noir humour, you’re in for a treat. Please, please let there be a book #3.