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.
For a Slang Dictionary, a Cabinetmaking Glossary, an interactive map and much more, go to www.thecabinetmaker.info
My 3rd read of the month and the 3rd new-to-me author also.
A fairly interesting crime novel which is narrated by our detective McDaid. The murder of a young student, Patrick Hare is McDaid’s introduction to life in Glasgow CID. McDaid quickly decides that the manner and culture of the team, he’s been attached to doesn’t sit right with him…… brutality, abuse, a flagrant dis-regard for procedure and corner-cutting…..all abhorrent to our new detective. Viewed as an outsider and mistrusted, McDaid is assigned photocopying duties of the paperwork and acts as family liaison with Patrick’s parents.
The case is apparently solved when a local gang are arrested and a confession follows. In the mean-time McDaid has become particularly close to Patrick’s father, Francis. This is the start of a burgeoning friendship which spans the following quarter of a century. John and Patrick have a common interest in football and McDaid almost assumes the mantle of surrogate son as he develops a passion for furniture making under Francis’ tutelage.
Re-winding slightly, our murder defendants get acquitted due to the laziness and incompetence of the investigating team and despite their obvious guilt. Our narrative outlines this and McDaid’s police career. We span 25 years, we follow the pair as they play football and Francis teaches John as much as he can about his cabinet-making craft. We follow the lives of the various police officers involved in the bungled investigation into Patrick’s death and we pick up on the lives and deaths of the accused as one by one they meet an untimely demise.
Overall a quirky tale, narrated in a slightly unusual fashion, which I’m not sure I completely bought into. I found the rationale-denouement slightly implausible and there were elements within the narration particularly when McDaid became more physically involved with Patrick’s ex-girlfriend that would have been better served either being left well alone, or conversely a more explicit detailing might have read better. The halfway there nudge-nudge style kind of felt a bit of a cop-out (no pun intended).
I enjoyed the development of the friendship between John and Francis and his mate on the force, Andy. The footballing aspects were more interesting to me than the depiction of a cabinet-maker’s craft, though at no time did the description of the wood-working descend into tedious detail and bog down the tale.
Enjoyable enough overall. Probably a 3.5 so I’ll be rounding it to a 4.
The author was kind enough to send me a copy in return for an honest review.