Published: December 27, 2013
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.
I finished this book last night. I have to tell you I was a little apprehensive because of the ‘strong language’. You can read the first 4 chapters on the website, so I knew the language was strong. But I have to say after the first shock of it, it just seems like part of the story, it really is how these people would talk. It’s authentic. As the story progresses the language does calm down. It did not in anyway detract from the story for me and I come from a childhood where I wasn’t even allowed to say fart! So don’t let that warning keep you from reading it!
This is a little unusual for a crime novel because it does focus more on the relationship between John and Francis, the father of the murdered boy, than on crime. It starts out with the murder, the investigation, all the police procedures and trial, then shifts to the relationship between the two men. We still get glimpses into John’s work on the police force. We get to see the effects this crime and verdicts had on everyone. I really like John McDaid and his co-worker Andy. There are also several less than desirable low-life cops that you can love to hate!
Alan does a great job at describing the surroundings and the woodworking. You can really visualize the workshop and smell the sawdust. The middle did drag a bit for me. The inclusion of the football aspect of their relationship slowed down the pace a little for me. It seemed out of place, like an aside. The real focus was the cabinetry and that was fascinating to me. The cabinetry terms and descriptions were very interesting. Hidden drawers and hinges and different woods and finishes. That’s where the two men really bonded for me.
The story follows a 30 year period in the lives of these two men. And I have to tell you I never expected the unbelievable twist at the end! Very clever. Excellent writing and plotting and believable characters. I will definitely be looking forward to another great read from this author!
Check out the website for the book, you can read the first 4 chapters and there is extra content there too, a slang glossary and a cabinetry glossary.
Also there’s a nice interview with the author @ Killing Time
And a shout out to the illustrator of the book cover! You ‘nailed’ it!
Go ahead, read it! Counts for the Read Scotland challenge! Set in Scotland and written by a Scot!
Read Scotland 2014, Meet the Protagonist (a person that lives in a different country than I do)