I like cop stories. More precisely I like cop stories that remind me of happier days, when a police officer wasn’t just a twat in a stab vest with a speed gun in one hand and a diversity manual in the other. I like stories about my kind of coppers – blokes I could imagine standing at the bar with, swapping war stories.
So I was a huge fan of Life on Mars and Ashes to Ashes. I reckon a night on the lash with Gene Hunt would be a lot of fun. Bring in Regan and Carter from The Sweeney and we’re talking an epic party here. That’s the sort of copper I like.
Sadly they’re rare in fiction these days – but not quite, I’m happy to say, extinct. If you liked the Manc Lion you’re going to love Detective Inspector Ronnie Buchanan, Steve Christie’s hard-drinking Aberdonian detective. Surrounded by a team of likeable and eccentric sidekicks Buchanan smashes his way through the politically correct bureaucracy of today’s Police Scotland, bringing down the bad guys and righting a few actual wrongs along the way.
Steve Christie isn’t just a master of the police procedural; he has a gift for creating complex, thought-provoking characters. In debut novel Good Deed, for example, you’ll meet ex-Royal Marine Vince. He’s capable, confident, witty, likeable – and a murderous drug dealer. Follow-on Cold Shot introduces an even more ambiguous killer. He’s lethal and merciless, but by the half-way point of this icy death ride part of you will be hoping he gets to complete his gruesome mission.
Bold, violent and down to earth, Steve Christie’s fiction is never going to win a prize for great literature. And I’m fine with that. Pretentious people read Booker Prize winners so they can tell their friends they read it. Sensible people read about DI Ronnie Buchanan – because it’s a riotous, gore-splashed and hilarious excursion to hell, and you’ll love every minute.