Wednesday 19 September 2018



"My dad used to say to me, 'Try to keep a cool head and a warm heart'. At least I think it was my dad. I don't really remember him." 

Gravy worked in the graveyard - hence the name. He was having a normal day until his friend Benjy turned up in a car Gravy didn't recognise. Benjy had a bullet hole in his chest, but lived just long enough to ask Gravy to hide him and look after his gun. Gravy had looked after things for Benjy before, but never a gun. When Gravy looked in the car he found blood, a balaclava and a bag stuffed with money. 

Gravy's not too bright but he wants to help his friend. So Gravy finds himself caught up in the middle of a robbery gone wrong, a woman who witnessed a murder, and some very unpleasant men who will do anything to get back the money Benjy stole...

Another quick September read, most of it caned during a work's lunch break and a gentle reminder that I ought to read something a bit more weighty from one of Scotland's premier crime fiction authors.

A Cool Head is a publication in the Quick Reads programme designed to encourage people who have never had or who have lost the reading habit to pick up a book - a worthy endeavour.

It's probably not Rankin's finest or most complex work but it zipped along at a decent clip and entertained well enough.

We have a botched robbery and the soon to be dead culprit palming off the money and a gun on a simpleton friend, Gravy. The rest of the book mainly details the attempts to recover the cash from the criminals it was stolen from, an added complication being that the lead guy tracking it down, knows who committed the robbery and the revelation of such a fact is going to cause him major problems with his employers.

There's a few other off-shoots and strands and enough flesh on the bones of the story to give it a bit of substance.

We have in no particular order.... a Glaswegian graveyard (I think), a criminal family, a scrapyard, a couple of loyal henchmen, a dodgy councillor, a corpse or two, three when back-tracking, a reluctant witness, some health issues, police involvement, a big bag of cash, a bewildered unfortunate easily manipulated, an honest wife, two investigations - one official, one damage limitation, an Edinburgh hotel, and a sense of opportunity for one of the above.

Never dull, and all parceled up nicely at the end.

4 from 5

Read in September, 2018
Published - 2009
Page count - 128
Source - purchased copy
Format - paperback


  1. Glad you enjoyed this one, Col. I really like the idea of Quick Reads, too. Among other things, it gives readers the chance to 'meet' new authors, which I always think is a good thing. And with Rankin, I guessed you wouldn't be disappointed.

    1. I really ought to read more from him Margot

  2. Oh, I've definitely got to lay hands on this. Anything by Rankin's worth a read.

    one of Scotland's premier crime fiction authors

    One of the world's, I'd say.

    1. Oops: forgot to tick the "Notify Moi" box.

    2. I reckon you'd be through this one in no time.
      I'll bow to your superior knowledge on his status. I've not read enough from him to confer that title on him just yet. He does have his fans.

  3. Col – Thanks for the post and the reminder to read more of Rankin’s Inspector Rebus books. Some years ago, I was passing through a city that had a decent used-book store. Someone must have just traded in eight or nine of them and I picked them up for a song. But, there are more than 20 in the series, so I’ve got a ways to go.

    1. Elgin, I don't actually think I've read anything from the Rebus series. More fool me!

  4. I need to continue reading the Rebus series. I read one years ago and then one more recently.

  5. Ian Rankin, who I have not read yet, is one author who turns up by the cartons in the annual book sale I frequent. The exhibition is due again end of the month and I will pick up a couple of his best works.