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Alan Parks Books In Order

Publication Order of Harry McCoy Books

Bloody January (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
February's Son (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bobby March Will Live Forever (2020)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Don't do it like this: How NOT to move to Spain (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Alan Parks is a mystery and Tartan noir author from Glasgow though he was born in Elderslie Scotland. Parks went to the University of Glasgow from where he graduated with a degree in moral philosophy before he spent years working in the music industry. By the time he retired, he was Warner Music UK’s creative director in charge of fashioning campaigns for all manner of artists that included the likes of Cee Lo Green, The Streets, and New World Order. Thinking he was getting too old for the industry, he went back home to Glasgow and decided to write the history of his hometown hence his debut novel Bloody January. At first, he thought of writing a historical book but then reconsidered as he felt a crime fiction novel was the best way of showcasing the strata of society. With a noir, he could write of the gentry in the country houses to the homeless in the streets, from the poor to the rich that only seemed to come into contact with each other when violence, drugs or sex were involved. It made sense to make his central character a detective and hence he wrote a Tartan noir that combines crime and involves both halves of his city. Parks has been compared to the great Scottish author McIlvanney given the many similarities in their novels. Both authors portray the uncompromisingly realistic reality of the city with its corruption, its poor and its gangs. Their novels are also full of flawed characters with their willingness to compromise in matters to do with the law, their use of drugs and alcohol dependence.

Parks got into writing relatively late at age 54 as he started out working in the music industry. While doing his degree at Glasgow University, he met Lloyd, a wannabe musician and fellow student. Another student named Derek that was a mutual friend to both of them offered to become Lloyd’s manager and he agreed. Once they graduated, Parks could not find a job while Lloyd and his manager needed someone to manage their office given that Lloyd had started and made one of the most popular bands at the time known as “The Commotions.” After working for several years with Commotions he was headhunted to become “London Records” creative Director, where he commissioned the photography, videos, and artworks of the likes of “All Saints” and “New Order.” For several years, there was a lot of money in the industry and he was living large until the advent of the Internet and streaming services such as Spotify made things more difficult. Moreover, he was 54 at the time and knowing it was only a matter of time before he was made redundant like many of his junior colleagues, he left and went back to Glasgow.

Back home, got interested in telling the story of Glasgow and started attending classes in the history of the city particularly focusing on the 20th century. He was soon convinced that the story of the city was better told in the form of a novel and so was born the idea for Bloody January that was set in the Glasgow of his childhood. He remembers a city that was physically dark with a lot of homeless people going about the streets while others were dressed up in beautiful clothes as they headed for an adventure out on the town. As such, it was a place of contrasts that was frightening as well as exciting depending on who you asked. Therefore, he tries to distill the image of Glasgow as more than the people suffering under poverty and the battered women and hard men depicted by other authors such as Denise Mina and Alex Gray. However, Alan Parks asserts that he was to some extent influenced by McIlvanney who also set his novels in Glasgow since he has always loved the author’s works that always seemed more contemporary Europe than hardboiled Glaswegian stories. Just like the man he looks up to, he writes of real places and real people in his novels and has included historical events such as Scotland playing England at Hampden and Harry McCoy going backstage during a David Bowie concert.

Alan Parks’s “Bloody January” is set in Glasgow during the 1970s. The novel opens to a freezing cold and snowy January in 1973, where a killer is determined to increase his body count. The young man just shot a young woman walking down a bustling street in Glasgow and does seem to have any remorse as he turns and commits suicide by turning the gun on himself. For Harry McCoy the detective in charge of the case, there is something very strange about the whole affair. His hunch proves right when he teams up with Wattie his new partner and in their investigations they unearth something very bizarre. They go from the whorehouses in the less salubrious parts of Glasgow to the hallowed hallways of a secret society headquarters run by one of the richest and most influential families in the city. The detective is the archetypal 70s detective with his flaws. He has friends in the underworld who wield a lot of power since they are sadistic and hardened old school gangsters who do not fear anyone.

“February’s Son” the second novel of the Harry McCoy series by Alan Parks opens to DI Harry McCoy getting an early recall to investigate the homicide of a young Celtic footballer. The footballer had been engaged to Elaine Scobie, who happens to be the daughter of a notorious gang leader in Glasgow. The lead suspect is a man that had been obsessed with Elain and known for being a lethal killer. He thwarts the police who try to arrest him with no luck as he seems to always be one step ahead. Meanwhile, a homeless man commits suicide and this triggers McCoy’s haunted past. His hunger for vengeance now threatens to throw everything including his mental and professional life into jeopardy. Since nature abhors a vacuum, there is a vicious battle for control among the gangs of Glasgow fighting to control the drug market now that McCoy seems to be otherwise engaged. Meanwhile, Stevie Cooper one of his connections in the underworld and a friend to McCoy has his hand in a lot of what is happening. But Harry’s is determined to get to the bottom of the whole saga and what follows is a bizarre and twisted investigation full of danger as he has to deal with abductions, lobotomies, murder and more.

“Bobby March Will Live Forever” by Alan Parks continues the Tartan noir story of Glasgow, the city of hard drinkers, hard men, and gangsters who engage in despicable acts to protect their turf. There is violence, and corruption on the streets and to make it worse, there are police officers that have been roped into criminality too. The police not only abuse alcohol and drugs while on duty but also regularly beat out confessions from suspects whether they are guilty or not. At the opening of the novel, the body of Bobby March a renowned rock star and beloved son of the city is found in his hotel room, having overdosed on drugs. In another part of Glasgow, Alice Kelly, a thirteen-year-old girl has gone missing and was last seen heading to a shop a few yards from her home. Harry McCoy is handling the two cases but then his boss wants him to locate Laura his fifteen-year-old niece that has also gone missing, suspected to have gone into hiding with the bad crowd. Her father wants it kept under wraps and McCoy finds this very weird since he believes the media would help find the girl. He is now determined to not only find the girl but find out what the father is hiding.

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