"No Sweet Sorrow" by Denzil Meyrick is the eleventh in the author's series of novels featuring Detective Chief Inspector Jim Daley and Detective Sergeant Brian Scott, and like its predecessors it is set largely in and around Kinloch, a town that bears more than a passing resemblance to Campbeltown, near the southern tip of the Kintyre peninsula. Denzil Meyrick's many fans will know exactly what to expect from this latest outing for DCI Daley and they will most certainly not be disappointed. This is a book that pushes you along at an engaging pace and which offers numerous twists and turns to keep you hooked right through to an ending that is nicely veiled and very satisfying. This is a book we'd wholeheartedly recommend to fans of Tartan Noir everywhere.
You get a sense of the plot from the publisher's description: "A potent new drug has hit the streets of Kinloch, and DCI Daley and Scott are struggling to catch the notorious gang behind this evil trade. After a party of Oxford students arrives in town for a camping trip before a Himalayan expedition, one of the group seeks out an illegal high and is violently assaulted. However, these students are well connected, and this brings further unexpected problems for Daley. Ultimately, he and Scott will discover crimes as disturbing in nature as anything they have ever confronted."
Much of the book is told from the perspectives of DCI Daley or DS Scott but, in keeping with the author's style, many other characters also get the chance to tell their parts of the story. There's a sense in which the result is a novel that is built up a little like a patchwork quilt, with the result being much greater than the sum of its parts. Keeping track of who's who can take a little attention, but that's not really much for the author to ask in return for telling his readers a story that is rich and multi-faceted.
Denzil Meyrick's novels are as much character-driven as plot-driven and although the protagonists are now very well established it's nice to see the author continuing to develop their characters in his eleventh novel about them. Also very impressive is the way the author manages to paint such detailed and believable characters to take the minor roles in his books and again, this is something that is demonstrated to great effect in "No Sweet Sorrow".
In his acknowledgements at the end of the book, Denzil Meyrick says that the book "marks something of an end, and a new beginning. It will be the last in the series to be published by Polygon in Edinburgh." He concludes by saying: "And lastly, for you, dear reader. Fear not, Jim and Brian will return.' His many fans will be very pleased to hear it.