Saturday 30 July 2022


Synopsis/blurb ….

A thief, a blackmailer, a ruthless politician, this tough, misanthropic Scotsman is one of the vilest cops to have ever graced the page. That said, he’s also one of the most dedicated.

While investigating the death of a young ‘schemie’, Curzon paces the streets of his beloved Glasgow, conversing with junkies, small time coke dealers, a millionairess and even a premier league footballer. The case also brings him back into conflict with his sworn enemy, Fergus Baxter, a highly vaunted though particularly sleazy defence lawyer who acts on behalf of the city’s most lucrative violent psychopaths and any celebrities who happen to fall through the cracks into criminality.

As the truth unravels, Curzon finds himself caught between the interests of justice and those of the local establishment, leaving him with a major dilemma.

The Dirty Rouge is an 80-page opener to what is a long series featuring DCI Patrick Curzon of Glasgow’s finest. There are eleven books to date, the majority of which seem to be full length novels.

I quite liked it, but I’m not rushing to try the next one in the series just yet. Curzon and pretty much everyone in the book, apart from his old primary school headmistress are fairly unlikable. His two police sidekicks might be another exception. We don’t really get to know them.

Curzon is unable to form normal relationships with anyone. As a child he suffered parental abuse and neglect, in tandem with being bullied at school. Scars have been left. He likes no one, he trusts no one and his heroes are hard-boiled fictional detectives like Philip Marlowe and Mickey Spillane. He tries to emulate them in achieving justice for crimes committed. Unfortunately, there are no limits to the lengths he will go to in order to achieve this … intimidation, perjury, planting evidence, losing evidence, fabricating evidence. The result is what counts.

Here Curzon has a murder victim, dumped at sea and washed up. He’s a local scrote so it’s no big loss to society, but Curzon does his thing.

Family tensions, a love triangle, a sex-obsessed do-gooder, a druggie best friend owed money, a lovesick doormat of an admirer, a football manager with a predilection for young males, a dodgy lawyer, some edgy hierarchy types in the constabulary, a zombie addict for an informer …. all of them on a collision course with our main character before the case is solved.

I quite liked the grit and humour which Geoff Small injects into the story. It did make me chuckle at times, though the book should perhaps come with some sort of warning. Some of the humour and personal habits of Curzon are a bit raw, a bit graphic, possibly also a bit unnecessarily described. They serve a purpose in identifying who and what Curzon is like, but don’t especially advance the story and would possibly alienate some readers from trying the second in the series.

I did like the Glasgow setting. 

3.5 stars from 5

Read – July, 2022
Published – 2013
Page count – 81
Source – purchased copy
Format - Kindle


  1. Hmm....the setting appeals, Col. And I like the references to other fictional detectives, too. I honestly get my fill of really dysfunctional protagonists, though, if I'm being honest. Still, I can see how this one would hold your interest throughout.

    1. Margot, I've read it so you don't have to! I liked it, but he could have dialled down a little bit on some of his mannerisms.