For sheer entertainment value, "Ed's Dead" by Russel D. McLean has to be right up there with... Actually, come to really think about it, we're not sure when we last enjoyed a book quite this much. Which might seem an odd thing to say given the number of people who are killed, often fairly gruesomely, between its covers. Perhaps it's the sheer pace of the story, which carries you along so breathlessly that the bodies start to lose individual impact. Perhaps it's because the violence takes on a slightly cartoonish character, which adds to the other-worldly feeling you get while pleasantly escaping the real world between its covers. It would be an easy cliché to liken reading this book to a roller-coaster ride. But it would also be an inaccurate one. That is, unless the roller-coaster in question started by going downhill, then simply got ever faster as the gradient got ever steeper. Two-thirds of the way though this book we found the action was moving so quickly and the trajectory was so steeply downhill that it was impossible to imagine the ride ending in anything other than in a horrible and probably terminal crash for the central character.
That central character is Jen Carter. She's a likeable young woman. Your mum would probably like her too. She works in a bookshop in Glasgow, and she sees the world in terms of the books she's read. She enjoys a glass of Prosecco with her friends and lives a pretty normal life. The one blot on her landscape is her boyfriend Ed. He's the sort of waster that no-one's mum is ever going to like, and with good reason. But it's OK, because Jen dumps Ed. It's less OK that she then also kills him. She doesn't mean to, of course, but the circumstances are such that she's going to have a very hard job proving it was an accident. So what can she do with his body? And what about the cash and the drugs she discovers he's been hiding in her flat?
Jen quickly finds herself on a path that allows no turning back, and her situation gets worse when gangsters turn up looking for Ed's stash. The body-count rises quickly, and while that's not always Jen's fault, she quickly becomes labelled "The Most Dangerous Woman in Scotland" and finds herself on the run from the police, the gangsters, and the media. The transformation of Jen Carter into a kind of modern-day Modesty Blaise (with apologies to anyone not old enough to remember a heroine of comic-strips and novels in the 1960s) is hugely entertaining to watch, and is experienced through her own eyes.
And where does this trail of bodies lead? Does it all end in a horrible and terminal crash for Jen? You'll just have to read "Ed's Dead" and find out for yourself. We're pretty sure you'll enjoy doing so as much as we did.