Blog Tour: Parallel Lines, R. J. Mitchell

Book Review: Parallel Lines, A DS Thoroughgood Thriller, R. J. Mitchell

Parallel Lines

Thriller: Parallel Lines, A DS Thoroughgood Thriller, R. J. Mitchell

Blog Tour January 15, 2021


It would not be fair to say that Parallel Lines starts slowly. It takes some time introducing characters, giving readers a feel for the seamier side of Glasgow, things that first novels should do. The fact that it does so by beginning with partners DS Angus “Gus” Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie being called to the scene of an armed robbery in progress should give the readers ample notice that although this book is set in Scotland, they have actually landed on board a bucking bronco of a thriller that is going to take them through twists and jolts and shocks to the system one after the other right up to the final intense conclusion.


DS Thoroughgood has been a detective for many years. He is very good at his job but two things have escaped him. One is professional: Declan Meechan started as a small-time hood around the same time that Thoroughgood became a policeman. Over the years they have become bitter enemies, not only on opposite sides of the law but on competing desires for the same woman. As Thoroughgood rose through the ranks of the department, Meechan rose in the hierarchy of the Glaswegian mob, gaining increasing control over the flow of drugs into the city. Which brings up the other elusive feature for the detective: he has never settled down with the woman he loves. Celine Lynott has been wooed by both men, but her fate now seems intertwined with Meechan’s.


Which begs the question: Is Thoroughgood after the gangster for professional reasons or for personal reasons?


Things begin to come to a head as a gangland war heats up. Bodies are showing up across town: beaten, stabbed, shot, burned, decapitated, and sundry other means of execution indicating that they are not just being killed but they are being killed to send a message. Someone is making a move to control more of the drug trade, and Thoroughgood believes he knows who.


As he gets closer to pinning the murders on the gangster, he finds that Meechan remains just beyond his grasp. Witnesses who are willing to testify are being killed before they can come clean. A rival officer in another department is charged with solving some of the murders, but the investigation appears to be stalling. Thoroughgood’s only hope is relying on the tips from a confidential informant who has his own agenda.


Suffice it to say, the action and the tension increase throughout the book. The conflict between cop and gangster reaches an incredible climax, and somehow there remain enough people standing to expect a continuation of this conflict in future books.


Author R.J. Mitchell is a retired cop. His writing feels almost like a cop telling his war stories. A very well spoken cop who worked hard to tell those stories in a compelling way. The battles between the police and the gangsters, and between the gangsters themselves, the tragic involvement of innocents caught up in the violence, the danger of walking that line between corruption and decency, all have a sense of authenticity. DC Hardie is not the kind of cop we have come to expect in detective fiction. A strong family man, quite overweight, but very capable and willing to even (reluctantly) chase an armed suspect through the streets of Glasgow. Fortunately for his heart, it ended up being a relatively short chase. DS Thoroughgood has a backstory that is carefully and partially revealed through the course of the book. I will just say that the book does an excellent job of exploring hurts that have never healed in this man’s soul.


I have the distinct pleasure of visiting each of the first three DS Thoroughgood novels over a three week period of time. As much as I enjoyed this one, it takes no great detective skills to suspect that I may not stop there. Mitchell tells a great story, fills it with great characters, and employs a sharp writing style that uses the music of ordinary conversation to take us into the minds and lives of Glasgow’s best…and worst.


RJ Mitchell DS Thoroughgood banner


Our thanks to Emma Welton of Damp Pebbles Blog Tours for our copy of this book, given in exchange for our honest review. For other perspectives, check out the bloggers who are filling the other stops on this tour. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla.


Parallel Lines

Book Review: Parallel Lines, A DS Thoroughgood Thriller, R. J. Mitchell


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