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Publisher's Summary

Meet Jack Laidlaw, the original damaged detective.

When a young woman is found brutally murdered on Glasgow Green, only Laidlaw stands a chance of finding her murderer from among the hard men, gangland villains and self-made moneymen who lurk in the city's shadows.

Winner of the CWA Silver Dagger.

©1977 William McIlvanney (P)2013 Canongate Books Ltd

Critic Reviews

"The best new character in crime fiction for years" (Daily Express)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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forerunner of good noir

Would you consider the audio edition of Laidlaw to be better than the print version?

For me audio is always better than print.

What other book might you compare Laidlaw to and why?

Girl With The Dragon Tattoo--both are first in their respective parts of the country.

Which character – as performed by William McIlvanney – was your favorite?

Laidlaw

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No, but it was a book I immediately listened to a second time.

Any additional comments?

I am desperate for the other two of this trilogy to be put on Audio....hopefully with the author reading them.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Such a pleasure to read a classic

I just discovered McIlvanney. I loved this book and am now on a mission to read more of Laidlaw series and other McIlvanney books. I wish more of them were on Audible. Meanwhile I'll get the book versions at my San Francisco public library where most of them are available.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Hard to Understand the Narration

I had to listen to each chapter multiple times as I found the thick Scottish diction / accent hard to understand. The author, William McIlvanney, narrated his book. I wish someone had told him the accent is fine, but more enunciation is required for the average listener. I love books with strong accents, but this one was too difficult for me no matter how hard I focused.

I like the character Laidlaw a great deal, but the story was mediocre. There is a twist or two, but you know who the murderer is early in the book. It is more of a story how multiple people looking for the same person come together in the end.

I will definitely try another McIlvanney book in the future, but may have to read it on my Kindle instead of listen on Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 06-28-13

Magic!

I loved this gritty novel - read by the author himself which added to the atmosphere even his endearing little mistakes do not detract from the story.
I'd love to know when the rest of the Laidlaw books will be available on Audible as I'm eagerly awaiting them.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • c
  • 07-05-14

McIlvaney- Scotland's Raymond Chandler

Would you listen to Laidlaw again? Why?

Most definitely! This Glaswegian detective is a combination of 'troubled man' , scholar, social worker, psychologist and is as consummately clever and tough as they come. A hugely compelling and appealing character.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Laidlaw?

The author uses what I think are immense literary and observational skills each time he analyses the leading characters in this novel. Impossible to point to just one example in a novel that is so rich with these examples. Even the toughies have their finer points.

What aspect of William McIlvanney’s performance might you have changed?

I enjoyed his reading because he wrote this excellent novel and knows exactly how to deliver it to its best BUT, it was often very off-putting to hear so distinctly whenever he needed to swallow or moisten his lips. This is where technically the pro's are best.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

LOVED the whole narrative and scene-setting around the interview Laidlaw has with the mother of the victim's friend!

Any additional comments?

I just so admired the author's ability to combine poetic and insightful descriptions of Glasgow and the various characters with the hard-hitting and more violent aspects of life and crime in this city. This is NOT a who-dun-it nor is it just a hard-hitting tartan-noir. It's almost a social commentary on modern day Glasgow and its damaging inequalities and ever-present dangers. Some really great one-liners that will make you smile though.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Kay
  • 02-10-14

Laidlaw is AMAZING

Would you listen to Laidlaw again? Why?

Would Listen again, it flowed like poetry in parts & gritty in others, Laidlaw is a cross between Taggart & Gene Hunt,

What did you like best about this story?

EVERYTHING! loved Laidlaw & would like to see it on the T.V or Big Screen

What does William McIlvanney bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

His voice is hypnotic, its his timbre & rhythm of reading not forgetting his accent that can only do the words justice

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Where Laidlaw reads to his children & then again when he puts his son back to bed, shows a softer side to the character

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Lindsay
  • 01-28-14

Great storytelling

Where does Laidlaw rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

The author's take on the style of the story is rather soporific and great for going to sleep to. You have to really listen and often revisit earlier parts to get the full sadness and intertwining of the lives and the characters. There is no hero in this book just people with interrelated lives.It is like being in a noisy pub with a great raconteur and hating every distraction that is interrupting your enjoyment of the tales you are being told.I have different books for different times and different moods so this is one for solitary times when you want to meet an old friend and have a chat. I am sure on my next listen through i will find that i have missed a lot it is very richly layered.

What other book might you compare Laidlaw to, and why?

Probably something done in a stream of consciousness style as you drift through the unravelling of time and place and symbiosis.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

He could have set his characters as from different parts of scotland it was hard to tell who was speaking a lot of the time there was very little light and shade or change of pace in the voices

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were several character revelations of our antihero Laidlaw where he let his mask slip and we saw glimpses of the man underneath. I won't spoil these for other listeners.

Any additional comments?

Despite the difficulty listening to the narrator the book gained from having the author give his own feelings and pace so i will definitely buy the next written and read by William McIlvanney.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • SnapWriter
  • 03-31-15

Beautifully Read, utterly satisfying, more please?

This is read beautifully by the author with an accent as melodic as the prose are lyrical. A story to rival any of the best sellers, with a character to rival Rebus.

This is one of the most satisfying reads in my entire Audible membership (2007). I recommend it to fans of crime fiction and those who want to listen to the best fireside voice on the site.

I can't praise this highly enough, and the length of just over seven hours is a comfortable and manageable one.

Download now, not to be missed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • David
  • 01-16-14

I really like this book, well written...

...full of characters who demand your respect in a city that exudes edginess.

However, narrating it yourself isn't the best move. It's read like a diatribe, just one loooonnnngggg sentence. I've had to go back a few times and rewind - a pause, a breath, maybe a slightly different voice, some punctuation would really help. I guess that's why there's so many professional narrators.

The story's great though, so worth persevering...

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Paul D
  • 04-09-17

Loved it! More please

Great book - rich characters, rational original plot, great narration. I eagerly await more from this author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Graeme from Preston
  • 01-07-15

Great 70s Scottish crime

Set in 70s Glasgow this tough look at policing then must have seemed very brutal at the time. Now we have so many examples of crime horror, but what brings this story to life is the dour Glaswegian voice of the narrator. Once you get into the rhythm and the dialect it seems like you're there, taking buses to interview witnesses and charging around a terrifying city full of "hard men".

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Sheila
  • 03-14-14

Such a let down

Would you try another book written by William McIlvanney or narrated by William McIlvanney?

Don't think so

What was most disappointing about William McIlvanney’s story?

I tried to listen to this book several times and couldn't make it out. Some of this was due to the reader, who being the author, probably knew what he was writing about.
This is the only book, in 6 years that I am thinking of returning.

How could the performance have been better?

Perhaps a different reader

What character would you cut from Laidlaw?

This I can't say

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 04-06-17

thanks Willie

thanks Willie you done it for me, and Scotland. will we see your like again. l bloody hope so

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  • Andy
  • 12-04-14

Superb Crime, incredible narration.

I was recommended this by a friend, and coming at a "Scottish Crime Noir" work I didn't really know what to expect. But as soon as I listened to the Sample I was hooked! Hearing the author (who is Scottish) reading in a thick Scottish accent was awesome for me. I could understand how some people might find it hard, so listed to the sample first.

I loved this book - it's so much deeper than I expected, the descriptions are intense and often funny. I especially liked the Scottish Summer descriptions. The author has been so careful that everything seems to have been well thought out, simple things get great attention which I liked a lot.

Overall I think this is a great read, for me, something really different and interesting. I hope the second book is narrated by Mr McIlvanney soon!!!