The Last Witness by Denzil Meyrick

Time for book two in the DCI Daley series by Denzil Meyrick, The Last Witness. I’ve been meaning to delve into this series for some time, and working from home has given me the perfect opportunity to listen to the audiobooks that have been sitting on my (audio) shelf for some time. Here’s what the book is all about:

Source: Owned Copy
Release Date: 02 July 2014
Publisher: Polygon Books

About the Book

James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction. But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch.

Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way.

My Thoughts

Well – it’s fair to say the Denzil Meyrick knows how to open a book. If you are looking for short sharp shocks to kick start your read then look no further as The Last Witness has not one, but two high power scenes to capture your attention. They certainly caught mine and had me completely invested in the story and in mystery which surrounds it. And that’s all by chapter two …

I do love this series. Not only do you have a cracking mystery and superb storytelling, there is just something special about the characters and the setting that Denzil Meyrick has created. From our intrepid police officers, DCI Jim Daley, DS Brian Scott and DC Dunn, to the wider community of Kinloch, Hamish, Annie and other regulars of the County Hotel, you have such a variety of personalities and a massive dose of humour that you can’t help but be drawn right in. Often dark in tone, it’s the kind of gallows humour you’d expect from a police thriller. The banter between Daley and Scott is pitch perfect, sometimes at Scott’s expense owing to his regular misuse of language, but there is plenty to keep you chortling. The use of local vernacular and the broad Glaswegian intonation of Scott, really just add to the authenticity of the whole situation.

Even the insidious and loathsome Superintendent John Donald brings something to the story, even if it is someone to hate. We always need one of those. He certainly keeps Daley going, even if it’s just in a bid to find ways to bring Donald down. And seeing the blossoming friendship between Hamish and Daley brings a smile to the face. They are as different as can be, but there is also something paternal in the way in which Hamish keeps an eye on Daley which adds a warmth to the story and the feeling of the community that Daley is fast becoming a part of.

Another key aspect to this series is setting. The author has really brought Kinloch to life, creating such a vivid image of the town. It makes me want to visit the area, in spite of the strangely high crime rate … Kinloch becomes almost a character in its own right as do the seas that serve the community and provide a large proportion of the town’s history. You can almost feel the spray of the water and the rough motion of the seas, and they lend themselves to moments of great humour and great tension, the narrative shadowing the ebb. and flow of the tide.

Above everything else though, this is a thriller in every sense of the word. Full of tension, fast paced action and fabulous storytelling, everything about the book is designed to pull you in. Be prepared for more shocks – if you thought the opening scenes were it, you are very wrong. This is a story of revenge, of old scores to be settled, and this time Daley and Scott are right in the firing line. The book is littered with misdirection so that just when you think you know what is happening, you find out that you really, really don;t. And the tempo is maintained right to the last pages, with the rather shocking, and eye opening, conclusion. Make sure you’re sitting on a very sturdy seat as you’ll be perched right on the edge of it by the end of the book.

Another absolute belter of a story from a series I would (and do) heartily recommend. Go give it a whirl.

A big shout out to David Monteath too. I’ve been listening to these books and he does an absolutely fabulous job of bringing them to life. The way he portrays all of the different character really does make this journey extra special, so if you like audio, I’d definitely give these a big thumbs up.

About the Author

Denzil Meyrick was born in Glasgow and brought up in Campbeltown. After studying politics, he pursued a varied career including time spent as a police officer, freelance journalist, and director of several companies.

Beginning with Whisky from Small Glasses, then The Last Witness, Dark Suits and Sad Songs, The Rat Stone Serenade, and Well of the Winds, the DCI Daley series have all become Scottish Crime bestsellers. Whisky from Small Glasses reached #2 in the UK Kindle store in 2016.
An anthology of short stories, One Last Dram was published in late 2017.

The Daley series to date have all been number one bestselling UK audiobooks on Audible. DCI Daley #6 The Relentless Tide and #7 A Breath on Dying Embers one of the Scotsman newspaper’s books of 2018 and 2019. A Breath On Dying Embers was longlisted for the 2019 McIlvanney Prize.

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