Monday 8 July 2024

Leave it to the Hangman - Bill Knox - Thane and Moss Book 3

Leave it to the Hangman
Thane and Moss Book 3
Bill Knox
J.D. Kirk (Forward)
ISBN 9781912767816

Leave it to the Hangman - Bill Knox  forward by J.D. Kirk - Thane and Moss Book 3

I picked this up because J.D Kirk was plugging it. I became even more interested in reading the book and series after reading the forward by Kirk, that only appears in book 1, but which I think should be in each volume. I highlighted a few passages in Kirk’s introductory note from book 1, they are:

“I had been expertly drawn into the world that Bill had created, and was right there alongside detectives Thane and Moss as they carried out their investigations. I had identified with the detectives right away–the imposing Chief Inspector Colin Thane, with his no-nonsense attitude and dogged determination, and his trusty Inspector, Phil Moss, whose loyalty to his friend was second only to his worries about his grumbling ulcer. They immediately felt like real people. More than that, they felt like real Scottish men, whose evident care for one another was masked beneath gruff exchanges and barbed banter.”

“Yes, some of the terminology was different, and there was a lot less swearing in Bill’s book, but down below the surface, down where it mattered, we were both writing about good but complicated men doing their best to bring killers to justice.”

“Aside from the slight change to the title, and a few ten-thousand-word chapters being broken into shorter segments, the book you are about to read is the same one first published in 1957.”

The fact that Kirk though these books were good enough to spend some time and effort tracking down the rights and bringing them back into print indicates the quality of the writing and the power of the stories. This novel was originally published in 1958 and this Zertex edition is from 2024. The description of the new edition is:

“Every family has its secrets. Some more than others.

Venture back into the shadowy heart of 1960s Scotland with this third electrifying instalment of Bill Knox's acclaimed Thane & Moss series.

Leave it to the Hangman introduces Glasgow's most notorious criminal dynasty – the Kilburns. From the murky depths of smuggling to the explosive dangers of stolen dynamite, no deed is too daring for this clan.

Yet, even in a world where lawlessness reigns, there are lines that are not meant to be crossed.

The cold-blooded murder of a policeman shocks the city. Both the police and the Kilburns themselves know that one of the family was responsible. But which one?

From the grimy streets of 1960s Glasgow to a desolate lochside, the chase leads Detectives Thane and Moss through a maze of deceit and danger. As they draw closer to the truth, they find themselves up against not just the cunning of a criminal family, but the very code that binds them.

In this gripping tale of loyalty, betrayal, and justice, Knox masterfully navigates the thin line between right and wrong. "Leave it to the Hangman" is a testament to the enduring legacy of Tartan Noir, showcasing Knox's unparalleled ability to weave authentic police work with the rich, atmospheric setting of Scotland's dark side.

Rediscover the thrill of the chase and the depth of Glasgow's criminal world in this gripping tale of loyalty, betrayal, and justice.”

So it was with great interest that I dove into this third story in this series after reading all of Kirk’s Scottish crime novels that were available to date; and having read Alex Smith’s DCI Kett novels and J.E. Mayhew’s DCI Will Blake Series. It was fascinating to read this story and series set nearly a hundred years earlier. It was intriguing reading stories before cell phones, and technology that so many modern crime books and shows rely on. But back to the work at hand.

I have greatly enjoyed the characters of Thane and Moss, through these first three stories in this series. And the Irish family in this novel, reminds me of my own Irish roots, both here in Canada and back across the pond. For An Aunt visited in th 80’s and said ‘Ye nay should go home Steven you look too much like your cousins and they are mostly wanted.’ All a part of the troubles. The Irish kin in this story bring back memories of family lore and a deep seated hatred of the English.

Thane and Moss are reminiscent of DCI Logan and DI Ben Forde. The language is not as extreme as in Kirk’s books. But the team, and working to solve the case, especially after the prison escape are very written story. The characters are fascinating. Reading it, it is like being transported back in time. The story moves at a brisk pace. And the small details and clues that are worked on open up the case. 

This third story leaves you wanting more. Kirk has already announced a date for book 5. Kirk is releasing them at a decent pace. And I sincerely home he sees this series and maybe other series by Knox through to publication. Reading this was in some was like watching Mike Hammer with my dad, or reading his old Ian Fleming or Robert B. Parker books. I have already recommended this series to my dad, my manager at work and a few friends. I can easily recommend this story for fans of crime fiction, historical fiction or to be honest anyone who loves a good story. But be warned it leaves you wanting more.

Books by Bill Knox:
Thane and Moss:
  aka In at the Kill
Death Department (1959)
4 Little Drops of Blood (1962)
5 Sanctuary Isle (1962)
  aka The Gray Sentinels
6 The Man in the Bottle (1963)
7 The Taste of Proof (1965)
8 The Deep Fall (1966)
  aka The Ghost Car
9 Justice On the Rocks (1967)
10 The Tallyman (1969)
11 Children of the Mist (1970)
  aka Who Shot the Bull?
12 To Kill a Witch (1971)
13 Penalty Shootout (1973)
  aka Draw Batons
14 Children of the Water (1974)
15 Rally to Kill (1975)
16 Pilot Error (1977)
17 Live Bait (1978)
18 A Killing in Antiques (1981)
19 The Hanging Tree (1983)
20 The Crossfire Killings (1986)
21 The Interface Man (1989)
22 The Counterfeit Killers (1996)
23 Blood Proof (1997)
24 Death Bytes (1998)
25 The Lazarus Widow (1999)

Webb Carrick Series:
1. The Scavengers (1964)
2. Devilweed (1966)
3. Blacklight (1967)
4. The Klondyker (1968)
  aka A Figurehead
5. Blueback (1969)
6. Seafire (1970)
7. Stormtide (1972)
8. Whitewater (1974)
9. Hellspout (1976)
10. Witchrock (1977)
11. Bombship (1980)
12. Bloodtide (1982)
13. Wavecrest (1985)
14. Dead Man's Mooring (1987)
15. The Drowning Nets (1991)
Talos Cord Series (as by Robert MacLeod)
Cave of Bats (1964)
Lake of Fury (1966)
  aka The Iron Sanctuary
Isle of Dragons (1967)
Place of Mists (1969)
Path of Ghosts (1971)
Nest of Vultures (1972)

Jonathan Gaunt Series: (as by Robert MacLeod)
1. A Property in Cyprus (1970)
  aka A Flickering Death
2. A Killing in Malta (1972)
3. A Burial in Portugal (1973)
4. A Witchdance in Bavaria (1975)
5. A Pay-off in Switzerland (1977)
6. An Incident in Iceland (1979)
7. A Problem in Prague (1981)
8. Mayday from Malaga (1983)
9. A Legacy from Tenerife (1984)
10. The Money Mountain (1987)
  aka A Flight from Paris
11. The Spanish Maze Game (1990)
Andrew Laird Series (as by Robert MacLeod)
All Other Perils (1974)
Dragonship (1976)
Salvage Job (1978)
Cargo Risk (1980)
Witchline (1980)
The Cockatoo Crime (1958)
Death calls the shots (1961)
Die for Big Betsy (1961)
Court of murder: Famous trials at Glasgow High Court (1968)
The View from Daniel Pike (1974) (with Edward Boyd)
Storyland Wall Frieze (1981)
Country Club Wives (1997)
A Cut in Diamonds (1997)
Drum of Power (1998)

Deadline - Bill Knox  forward by J.D. Kirk - Thane and Moss Book 1

Department of Death - Bill Knox  forward by J.D. Kirk - Thane and Moss Book 2

Leave it to the Hangman - Bill Knox  forward by J.D. Kirk - Thane and Moss Book 3

Little Drops of Blood - Bill Knox - Thane and Moss Book 4

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