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Not Very PC
Alan Craig, author

Not Very PC




Alan Craig



A Synopsis





DS MARK McMANUS is a young, single detective, with a great clear-up rate for his cases.,but he is bored and frustrated by the low level crime he has to deal with.

The murder of a boatyard owner sees him transferred to a Major Investigation Team, giving him the challenge he has been waiting for. He is excited by the opportunity but worried when he learns his new boss will be Detective Inspector RUTHERFORD, the husband of a former lover. A lover he had slept with again only the night before.

The victim is both a wife beater and a pervert, and is first seen engaging in a raunchy sexual encounter on a beach with a young student whom he meets as a member of an online dating site. It soon transpires that the victim was part of a drug smuggling and human trafficking gang, but his personal sexual activities were threatening the security of the operations. He had fallen foul of the drug boss who orders his death.

McMANUS is teamed up with a local officer, GILL EDWARDS, to investigate the murder, and he fits in easily with the MIT staff, but fails to impress the boss, with whom has some history. He enjoys his new role, and combines traditional detective work with technology, sometimes not always legally, to identify suspects, and quickly grasps the evidence as it becomes known. McMANUS is a competent computer hacker, secretly using his illegal skills to find that other members of the sex dating site are connected to his case. 

It seems everyone has something to hide, and McMANUS is shocked to learn of the sexual connections between the witnesses, the victim, and members of his own team. The local Constable, EDWARDS, is on the sex site with the username 'NotVeryPC', but he keeps this information to himself for the moment, and then sets up DI RUTHERFORD with a fake profile on the website as ammunition for him to use later. McManus already knew that the DI was lazy and incompetent, and  works with the team to discount suspects until only one remains, the drug ring's enforcer. But he has gone to ground.

Meanwhile, McMANUS reconnects with his former lover, but RUTHERFORD turns up unannounced at McMANUS' house expecting to catch McMANUS in bed with his wife. The two policemen fight, leaving the DI with a broken leg and wrist after falling down some stairs. Meantime another murder is taking place only a few miles away, and McMANUS races to the scene. The second victim is a key witness in the case, and a member of the drug gang, who had been lured to a remote beach by a young girl promising sex. The murderer, the drug ring enforcer, flees the scene, leaving crucial evidence behind. McMANUS is exhilarated by the prospect of a chase across a golf course, but the suspect evades him.

With RUTHERFORD on sick leave, McMANUS exposes the DI's sex site profiles to his wife, leading her to throw him out. and forcing his marriage onto the rocks. McMANUS takes charge of the investigation and the search for the suspect as they gradually build their case with solid evidence. His instincts tell him one thing but all the evidence points to the enforcer, and he does a deal with the drug boss for the surrender and arrest of the murderer. He promises not to pursue the drug boss in this instance, who in turn agrees to send some compromising sexual information about RUTHERFORD to the Chief Constable.

McMANUS has sold his integrity to gain advancement, and the murderer is convicted of both deaths. His secret deal with the drug boss is rewarded with promotion to DI, after RUTHERFORD resigns once his apparent sexual proclivities become known. But his instincts were correct about the first murder and the truth becomes clear. The villagers had conspired with EDWARDS to kill the wife-beating boatyard owner and frame the enforcer, but he has no evidence, leaving him powerless to pursue the real killers. But it gives him a hold over EDWARDS which he plans to exploit in book 2.



Amazon Purchaser 'Tom'

The first thing to say is this does not read like a first novel. There's a lot of craft behind it, the way it is structured makes you think of scenes in a TV crime drama - perhaps Taggart, given the name of the protagonist.

The second thing to note is there's more sex than in the average detective novel and its of the BDSM variety. Although it never crosses the line into erotica some readers might be put off. Pretty much all the female characters have a penchant for being tied up and many of the male characters are wife beaters. This might seem unrealistic, until you remember the book is set in Pitenweem.

This is a read-it-in-one-go page turner. It starts with a bang (on a picnic table), slows down for a while with some backstory and then gets back in its stride and keeps you engrossed until the end. It's not at the very top of the genre, I never really got emotionally involved with the characters, none of them are particularly sympathetic and it's more police procedural than thriller. But very well executed and definitely worth 4 stars. It seems to be setting up for a series and I'd buy more.



Amazon Reader Jenny

Read this book in 3 days as I couldn’t put it down! An exciting, fast paced detective novel set in Scotland with well written characters that intertwine. I’m already looking forward to the next book and seeing where McManus heads next.