Saturday 5 March 2022

The Cabinetmaker - Alan Jones

The Cabinetmaker, Alan Jones’ first novel, tells of one man’s fight for justice when the law fails him. Set in Glasgow from the late nineteen-seventies through to the current day, a cabinetmaker's only son is brutally murdered by a gang of thugs, who walk free after a bungled prosecution.

It’s young Glasgow detective John McDaid’s first murder case. He forms an unlikely friendship with the cabinetmaker, united by a determination to see the killers punished, their passion for amateur football, and by John’s introduction to a lifelong obsession with fine furniture.

This is the story of their friendship, the cabinetmaker’s quest for justice, and the detective’s search for the truth.

This unusual crime thriller contains some Glasgow slang and a moderate amount of strong language.

What did I think?

After reading Alan Jones' outstanding Sturmtaucher Trilogy, I am now on a mission to read everything else he has published.  The Cabinetmaker is his debut and it's a beautifully written police procedural/crime thriller.

Set in Glasgow, detective John McDaid is new to CID and doesn't quite fit into the team as he naturally wants to do everything by the book and that's not the way they catch criminals in this police force.  The police are beaten at their own game when Patrick McHare's murderers walk free from court.  I was so furious!  I can imagine this has happened many times in real life too.

Patrick's parents are left devastated but they demonstrate that life does go on because after all, what goes around comes around.  Through a shared love of football, John McDaid becomes friends with Patrick's father Francis (the cabinetmaker) outside of work and it isn't long before Francis starts showing John how to work with wood.  Although Patrick could never be replaced, John is almost a surrogate son to Francis and it's heartwarming to see their relationship grow. 

I love Alan Jones' attention to detail and his ability to write about any subject whilst holding the reader's attention; I didn't think I would ever find woodwork so fascinating.  The storyline is relatively slow paced after the court case but it's no less compelling and although I had an inkling as to what was happening, I was eager to see how it would all end and there were certainly still a few shocks and surprises in store for me.

Hugely enjoyable and incredibly well written, The Cabinetmaker is a very good debut and a great introduction to Alan Jones' writing.

Many thanks to Alan Jones for sending me a digital copy to read and review; all opinions are my own. 

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

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