‘Old Friends and New Enemies’ by Owen Mullen

Old Friends and New Enemies
Old Friends and New Enemies
4-stars

When Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron is engaged to find a missing husband, his contacts soon lead to a body in the mortuary. But it isn’t the one he was expecting. Shocked to discover an old friend has been murdered, Charlie sets out to find the killer, but the path to the truth is far from straightforward. Crime boss Jimmy Rafferty also has an interest in following Charlie’s progress, and when the unsuspecting sleuth hooks up with ex-girlfriend Fiona, things start to get dangerous.

Owen Mullen tells a good tale – his main character is well drawn and believable and the villains are wonderfully gritty. The story is a slow burner with lots of character development, helping the reader to root for the hero and there’s also a few surprises along the way (which is nice) and an interesting twist to the ending.

However.

The book starts with the all-seeing narrator then switches to first-person as the main character comes along, and the tale continues, switching back and forth throughout the novel. My problem here is I don’t know who’s telling the story. Now, I’m well aware there’s no rule that says a novel has to be all from the same POV, but it can be slippery old trick to get right. The likes of Iain Banks could do it (such as in Complicity, where the character of the killer is written in the second person), and changing between first-person narrative and omniscient narrator allows an author to let us see what’s happening with other characters. In this case however, I found it incredibly irritating and was constantly distracted from the story. A consistent perspective could have been much more appealing, though obviously would have impacted on the plot.

While this wasn’t one of my favourite reads, it’s definitely a crowd-pleaser, so I’ll be keeping an eye out for Mr Mullen’s next offering – after all, good storytellers are hard to find.

 
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