Paying for It (Gus Dury, #1)
Gus Dury once had a high-flying career as a journalist and a wife he adored. But now he is living on the edge, a drink away from Edinburgh's down-and-outs, drifting from bar to bar, trying not to sign divorce papers. But the road takes an unexpected turn when a friend asks him to investigate the brutal torture and killing of his son, and Gus becomes embroiled in a much bigger story of political corruption and illegal people-trafficking. Seedy doss-houses, bleak wastelands and sudden violence contrast with the cobbled streets and cool bistros of fashionable Edinburgh, as the puzzle unravels to a truly shocking ending.

Paying for It (Gus Dury, #1) Details

TitlePaying for It (Gus Dury, #1)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2009
PublisherPreface Publishing
ISBN-139781848090224
Rating
GenreMystery, Crime, Thriller, Fiction, Noir, Novels

Paying for It (Gus Dury, #1) Review

  • Josh
    January 1, 1970
    ‘Paying for it’ is a no holds barred, white knuckle scrap in league with Ken Breun’s tortured and tumultuous Jack Taylor novels where alcoholism and dysfunctional families are paramount to the protagonist’s psyche and stability. Black has one interesting quasi private investigator on his hands in Gus Dury – a man with nothing to lose and seemingly less to gain who still manages to find compassion in the eyes of an old man (Milo) and a sense of duty for a father’s loss (Col).Assuming the persona ‘Paying for it’ is a no holds barred, white knuckle scrap in league with Ken Breun’s tortured and tumultuous Jack Taylor novels where alcoholism and dysfunctional families are paramount to the protagonist’s psyche and stability. Black has one interesting quasi private investigator on his hands in Gus Dury – a man with nothing to lose and seemingly less to gain who still manages to find compassion in the eyes of an old man (Milo) and a sense of duty for a father’s loss (Col).Assuming the persona of a PI, Gus is tasked with finding Billy’s killer (Col’s son) who endured lengthy torture before succumbing to a less than comforting end. As the closets are cleaned out, Gus second guesses his friend’s intentions and character after discovering his shady dealings with unsavoury criminal types. From police corruption, international sex slave rings, criminal entrepreneurs, and seedy characters with a big fish/small pond mentality – Gus, along with accomplices Hod and Amy has his hands full.While the core plot was entertaining in itself, I liked Gus’ support network in Hod and Amy and enjoyed reading about his pre-adult life under rule of an overtly strict and abusive father, and subsequently his recent trials as a single man having been separated from his wife due to an excessive drinking problem which led (partially) to his spot in the unemployment que.Gritty and raw with a sense of bleak humour only a scholar of the noir tradition could muster, ‘Paying for it’ spins the craft through a local dialect to capture the readers imagination and heighten the essence of a grimy Edinburgh. 3.5 stars.
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  • Andy
    January 1, 1970
    Probably one of the best crime thrillers I have ever read,looking forward to reading more about Gus Dury :)
  • Keith Nixon
    January 1, 1970
    The first Gus Dury novel in the series which introduces us to the washed up journalist and all his problems in gritty detail as he investigates the murder of a friend's son in seedy Edinburgh. Gus's sidekicks, Hod and Mac the Knife, accompany him as they literally cut a swathe through the murky underworld.In recent weeks I've rattled through four Tony Black books and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. I took all of two days to demolish this one. Fundamentally I really appreciate the style: short, The first Gus Dury novel in the series which introduces us to the washed up journalist and all his problems in gritty detail as he investigates the murder of a friend's son in seedy Edinburgh. Gus's sidekicks, Hod and Mac the Knife, accompany him as they literally cut a swathe through the murky underworld.In recent weeks I've rattled through four Tony Black books and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. I took all of two days to demolish this one. Fundamentally I really appreciate the style: short, punchy and neat paragraphs with sharp dialogue (that can be very blunt in its statement!). Dury himself is no superhero, but in his own way unstoppable. It's some of the best writing I've ever read and right up there at the top of the quality crime fiction genre. I have a very small number of authors in various genres that I pick up immediately a new book comes out, Tony Black is now part of this list.
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  • Jacqueline Tait
    January 1, 1970
    Took a little while to get into, quite a good plot, with a twist at the end. Dury kind of annoyed me to begin with but warmed to him by the end of the book, so will pick up the next and see where he ends up.
  • Brandon Nagel
    January 1, 1970
    Great beginning to what I am sure is an amazing series. I love every book Tony Black has written.
  • Moore
    January 1, 1970
    There are glimpses of the sort of thing I like here- but it is patchy and uneven in writing style, and the plot is almost transparent its so worn. The first third is crammed full of jokey 80’a references and cliches, in an attempt to set a devil may care atmosphere around hard bitten Gus Dury - but they are jaded and tiresome- ‘she had the standard footballers wife look, peroxide blonde, shag me boots, what the Scots call ‘all fur coat and nae knickers’ - as we say in Scotland’. Well, as does ev There are glimpses of the sort of thing I like here- but it is patchy and uneven in writing style, and the plot is almost transparent its so worn. The first third is crammed full of jokey 80’a references and cliches, in an attempt to set a devil may care atmosphere around hard bitten Gus Dury - but they are jaded and tiresome- ‘she had the standard footballers wife look, peroxide blonde, shag me boots, what the Scots call ‘all fur coat and nae knickers’ - as we say in Scotland’. Well, as does everyone Tony Black, everyone who persists with that cliche. But these fade about half way in - the writing thins out as the Eastern European (?) people smugglers come forward and Dury shambles his way from scene to scene like a drunk bull in a china shop. There’s no puzzle to figure out here really- it’s all pretty straightforward, and so it’s hard to feel any support or affinity for Dury because he’s not really accomplishing anything. I felt indifferent by the end -too run of the mill, nothing to see here. But- I’m sure this recommendation came on some good authority - so I am probably more disappointed than if I’d just picked it up in Oxfam books 😂
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  • Jason Beech
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve read a few of Tony Black’s hit and miss novellas. This is the first novel of his I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. The plot twists and turns, though you might expect much of it, but you read it for the protagonist, Gus Dury. He’s a former reporter who now slums it in drink and odd jobs. When an old friend asks him to find out who killed his son, Billy, Gus becomes mixed up in an Edinburgh underworld slick with the scum of Russian gangsters, corrupt politicians, and a sex trade in underage I’ve read a few of Tony Black’s hit and miss novellas. This is the first novel of his I’ve read and I really enjoyed it. The plot twists and turns, though you might expect much of it, but you read it for the protagonist, Gus Dury. He’s a former reporter who now slums it in drink and odd jobs. When an old friend asks him to find out who killed his son, Billy, Gus becomes mixed up in an Edinburgh underworld slick with the scum of Russian gangsters, corrupt politicians, and a sex trade in underage east European girls.All of that is entertaining enough, but I loved more how Gus works out his own inner demons through drink, through strong friendship, through his estranged wife, his ma, and his foul old dad. There are golden turns of phrase scattered throughout, and when the book’s end comes, you’re ready for the second in the series.A blast.
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  • Gordon Johnston
    January 1, 1970
    Alcoholic journalist becomes PI in a simple and fairly predictable Edinburgh based thriller. Gus Dury is an interesting, if annoying, lead character, and the combination of first person narrative with good sense of place gives a firm foundation.The characters are very one dimensional - the drunken journalist, the ruthless career politician, the assorted underworld figures - giving very little nuance in this world. And Dury uses more rhyming slang than anyone I've ever seen outside EastEnders.
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  • Bill McFadyen
    January 1, 1970
    Set in an Edinburgh the tourist board does not advertise Paying for it is a tale of down beats , bad cops and Russian baddies plus of course bent politicians. There are holes in the story as large as the River Forth and A’s is usual in such books the key player has a recovery capability of Lasarus . A good book to enjoy on a sun lounger on a lazy afternoon.
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  • Lars
    January 1, 1970
    On my desperate search for a good crime series worth continuing, Tony Black's 'Paying for it' was my most recent try. I like Noir, I like Pulp, I like Hard-boiled crime, and by this measure, the read was quite enjoyable. The protagonist, Gus Dury, is a boozy alcoholic, former journalist, soon-to-be divorce, living in Edinburgh. He is doing one of his buddies a favor by investigating the murder of his son. Dury is a really cool and literate guy who delivers easy-going quotes even when he is beate On my desperate search for a good crime series worth continuing, Tony Black's 'Paying for it' was my most recent try. I like Noir, I like Pulp, I like Hard-boiled crime, and by this measure, the read was quite enjoyable. The protagonist, Gus Dury, is a boozy alcoholic, former journalist, soon-to-be divorce, living in Edinburgh. He is doing one of his buddies a favor by investigating the murder of his son. Dury is a really cool and literate guy who delivers easy-going quotes even when he is beaten up, which happens quite often in the book. His background is comprehensible but also a bit ordinary, guess it, yes, he was battered by his father until he fled home, and this family history makes a big part of the personal story. The novel is written quite skilled and really intense, but nevertheless, the story isn't the most innovative one I ever read as a background of a fallen man.The case itself has a reasonable amount of suspense, playing in Edinburgh's criminal community, strongly gaining momentum in the end when the book gets a really fast read. I had some difficulties with the fact that the protagonist was so sleazy and fucked-up. Not that I wouldn't like that in a Noir crime novel, but somehow I asked myself why and how Dury manages to pursue the case, as he is always so close to the next bottle of beer or whiskey. At least in the beginning, there is really no self-reflection – maybe that's quite common for an alcoholic, but again, there is only a small step from being temporarily in difficulties to being completely fallen, and the author doesn't really explain the motives and goals of his protagonist. One of the things I liked better is the offhand manner in which Dury comments on many actual topics like gentrification in big cities or just bad taste in music. I guess I will at least read the second book of the series.
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  • Esme
    January 1, 1970
    "'Gus. Gusgo. Gusie-Boy …'Das große Können dieses Mannes, hundert Prozent pure Säuferkunst, einfach so aus meinem Namen Poesie zu machen."Gus Dury war mal Journalist, bis er abstürzte. Ein Kneipenwirt bittet ihn, den Tod seines Sohnes zu untersuchen. Die offizielle Todesursache lautet zwar Selbstmord, aber Billy-Boy wurde vor seinem Tod gefoltert. Nicht so einfach für Dury, denn er hat jetzt einen anderen Fulltime-Job: Gus ist ein richtig harter Säufer."Nach einem mächtigen Schluck kippte ich au "'Gus. Gusgo. Gusie-Boy …'Das große Können dieses Mannes, hundert Prozent pure Säuferkunst, einfach so aus meinem Namen Poesie zu machen."Gus Dury war mal Journalist, bis er abstürzte. Ein Kneipenwirt bittet ihn, den Tod seines Sohnes zu untersuchen. Die offizielle Todesursache lautet zwar Selbstmord, aber Billy-Boy wurde vor seinem Tod gefoltert. Nicht so einfach für Dury, denn er hat jetzt einen anderen Fulltime-Job: Gus ist ein richtig harter Säufer."Nach einem mächtigen Schluck kippte ich aus den Latschen. Von Fledermäusen attackiert, kam ich wieder zu mir. Meine Hände zitterten so heftig, dass ich keine einzige erwischte. Doch sie verschwanden bald wieder. Lang bleiben sie nie. Und außerdem sind es sowieso die Bussarde, wegen denen man sich wirklich Sorgen machen muss."Das erste Viertel von Paying for It (Geopfert) fand ich klasse. Bis ich gemerkt habe, dass nicht so viel dahinter steckt. Das ist locker und witzig geschrieben und wirkt auch irgendwie hingerotzt. Gus trinkt sich durch den Tag, verachtet vieles und fast jeden. Aber ohne einen Funken Selbstironie und dann ist diese ätzende Gehässigkeit schwer zu ertragen. Denn wenn es nichts gibt, was einem wichtig ist (außer das eigene Ego), dann ist man schon tot, auch wenn man noch atmet. Originell ist Dury auch nicht, er scheint wie eine Kopie von Jack Taylor. Doch was bei Ken Bruen Melancholie und bitterer Humor ist, klingt bei Tony Black nach selbstmitleidigem Jammern und dann nützen auch die lockeren Sprüche nicht mehr viel.Unterhaltsam ist das Buch, keine Frage, wenn man halt diesen Stil mag. Der Fall ist auch ganz solide aufgebaut und durchaus spannend. Das Ende hat es in sich, darauf war ich nicht gefaßt. Kein großer Knaller, aber für den ersten Teil einer Serie in Ordnung.
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  • Loopyloo100
    January 1, 1970
    Set in Edinburgh this is an atmospheric and gritty novel, but also full of dark humour. Gus Dury is an ex-journalist and his wife is divorcing him as the demon drink has taken a strong hold of him. His friend Col’s son is found dead, but the police say that he committed suicide. Gus finds out this isn’t true and Col asks him to find the killer of his son and what’s with the cover-up? Gus endeavours to find the truth and along the way we meet some unsavoury characters, as well as a wolf, and see Set in Edinburgh this is an atmospheric and gritty novel, but also full of dark humour. Gus Dury is an ex-journalist and his wife is divorcing him as the demon drink has taken a strong hold of him. His friend Col’s son is found dead, but the police say that he committed suicide. Gus finds out this isn’t true and Col asks him to find the killer of his son and what’s with the cover-up? Gus endeavours to find the truth and along the way we meet some unsavoury characters, as well as a wolf, and see Gus facing his own demons regarding his upbringing with his cruel and harsh father.What a fantastic crime novel, I found this exceptionally entertaining. At times it felt you could really warm to Gus, but then at others you just wanted to yell at him to get a grip, but then I guess that’s the way it can be with alcoholics. I found that characterization was great, plot was superb and it was really fast paced and also contained emotional depth. For me this had everything that I love in a book, although be careful if you don’t like strong and sometimes course language. I have visited Edinburgh, but feel I only scratched the surface and there’s much more to it than meets the eye if this novel’s anything to go by. What I also find strange is that I’ve read Ian Rankin, but his books have never really shouted at me, but this book most certainly does!Gus is definitely a character I wish to follow and I can’t wait for the sequel: Gutted.I highly recommend this book!
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  • Rob Kitchin
    January 1, 1970
    Paying For It is written from a first person perspective, the reader viewing the world through Gus Dury. And it’s the view from one step away from the gutter. Dury knows how to drink himself to oblivion, how to push those people that still care away, how to provoke dangerous people into a fight and then take the punishment. And yet he still retains some humanity and dignity, some semblance of journalistic righteousness and justice. For the most part I enjoyed the novel. Dury is plausible, the ch Paying For It is written from a first person perspective, the reader viewing the world through Gus Dury. And it’s the view from one step away from the gutter. Dury knows how to drink himself to oblivion, how to push those people that still care away, how to provoke dangerous people into a fight and then take the punishment. And yet he still retains some humanity and dignity, some semblance of journalistic righteousness and justice. For the most part I enjoyed the novel. Dury is plausible, the characterisation well realised, the dialogue believable. The prose is workmanlike, and the pacing good. At times though the story lacks credibility – Dury drinks so much, and takes beatings that would leave him so incapacitated that he’d hardly be able to function. And yet he soldiers on, with folk for the most part ignoring the battered and bruised state he's in. After a particularly savage beating in which he loses his teeth, his mother’s comment is that he looks like he needs a good feed! And there are a couple of continuity issues, such as Nadja losing her East European accent after the first couple of scenes, and a couple of puzzling questions concerning the resolution. Despite those issues, Paying For It passed a few pleasant hours and the teaser instalment of Dury’s next outing, Gutted, did its job.
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  • Diane
    January 1, 1970
    My first taste of Tony Black - hmm, not bad, he seems to know all the classic lines from all the "notable" movies, and I've never read so many different analogies in one sitting!Overall, a pretty good book, it took me a bit to wrap my head around the Scottish lingo and "isms", but once I did the read went more smoothly.Gus Dury, poor guy - you would think he would learn to keep his mouth shut at times, but the fella must like pain! A different type of character for me - investigative reporter th My first taste of Tony Black - hmm, not bad, he seems to know all the classic lines from all the "notable" movies, and I've never read so many different analogies in one sitting!Overall, a pretty good book, it took me a bit to wrap my head around the Scottish lingo and "isms", but once I did the read went more smoothly.Gus Dury, poor guy - you would think he would learn to keep his mouth shut at times, but the fella must like pain! A different type of character for me - investigative reporter that has seen much better times. We learn some of his background and about his slide from steady employment so-to-speak; and we learn a bit about Edinburgh, Scotland - which I enjoyed actually.The storyline is what held my attention while I struggled with his slang. People smuggling, prostitution, political corruption, gangsters, and even a real wolf in a glass cage - gotta love it!I give this book 4 stars and a thumbs up. I would and will recommend this book/series to others. It is worth the read.
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  • Keith Nixon
    January 1, 1970
    The first Gus Dury novel in the series which introduces us to the washed up journalist and all his problems in gritty detail as he investigates the murder of a friend's son in seedy Edinburgh. Gus's sidekicks, Hod and Mac the Knife, accompany him as they literally cut a swathe through the murky underworld.In recent weeks I've rattled through four Tony Black books and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. I took all of two days to demolish this one. Fundamentally I really appreciate the style: short, The first Gus Dury novel in the series which introduces us to the washed up journalist and all his problems in gritty detail as he investigates the murder of a friend's son in seedy Edinburgh. Gus's sidekicks, Hod and Mac the Knife, accompany him as they literally cut a swathe through the murky underworld.In recent weeks I've rattled through four Tony Black books and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all. I took all of two days to demolish this one. Fundamentally I really appreciate the style: short, punchy and neat paragraphs with sharp dialogue (that can be very blunt in its statement!). Dury himself is no superhero, but in his own way unstoppable. It's some of the best writing I've ever read and right up there at the top of the quality crime fiction genre. I have a very small number of authors in various genres that I pick up immediately a new book comes out, Tony Black is now part of this list
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  • Chris
    January 1, 1970
    Having never read any of Tony Blacks work as was sceptical at first as i am with all new authors but i needn't have worried Paying For It was a fantastic read. With just enough action and suspense to keep you turning pages without seeming too far fetched, which, if i'm honest a lot of authors today are taking things in to the realm of fantasy when the books supposed to be based on everyday events. However Tony has the mix spot on the gritty side of Edinburgh that people have never seen comes thr Having never read any of Tony Blacks work as was sceptical at first as i am with all new authors but i needn't have worried Paying For It was a fantastic read. With just enough action and suspense to keep you turning pages without seeming too far fetched, which, if i'm honest a lot of authors today are taking things in to the realm of fantasy when the books supposed to be based on everyday events. However Tony has the mix spot on the gritty side of Edinburgh that people have never seen comes through in a shocking and frankly scary way that doesn't do the tourist board any favours but for a lover of crime novels you will not be left wanting.
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  • Gail
    January 1, 1970
    I would never normally have picked this book up. The first few sentences shriek of insincerity and the narrative voice is distinctly parodic of Raymond Chandler, but lacking his distinct originality and authenticity. Was I supposed to find it funny? Was it a sincere attempt to imitate a master of the genre? If so, I've clearly missed the memo; it simply left me irritated. I didn't finish it. Rare for me, ask like to be able to give a fully informed review. Read it if you want to ... But don't sa I would never normally have picked this book up. The first few sentences shriek of insincerity and the narrative voice is distinctly parodic of Raymond Chandler, but lacking his distinct originality and authenticity. Was I supposed to find it funny? Was it a sincere attempt to imitate a master of the genre? If so, I've clearly missed the memo; it simply left me irritated. I didn't finish it. Rare for me, ask like to be able to give a fully informed review. Read it if you want to ... But don't say I haven't warned you! Life is far too short for reading rubbish copycat books like this, when there are so many wonderful books to be read!
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  • Rory Costello
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this. Though crime forms the foundation of this novel, it's really a story about humanity and family ties more than anything, especially fathers and sons.Gus Dury is a rich and multi-layered personality; the story is propulsive and winds up with a twist that I did not see coming at all. The Edinburgh atmosphere is depicted in a way that you can feel with all your senses, and there's a thread of sardonic humor that I also enjoyed greatly.
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  • Sephie
    January 1, 1970
    I only read this because I won copies of it for my reading group.Certainly not a genre I choose to read, but I did enjoy the witticisms and dry humour which underlined the narrative.A Taggarty/Ian Rankin-type Scottish 'morrdorrr' plot, involving the Russian Mafia and a hard-drinking/smoking protagonist.
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  • Sarah Blyther
    January 1, 1970
    I love a book when i care about the people in the story and i cared about Gus. Mr Black was new to me but I enjoyed this one so much i went online and bought another 3 he had written and enjoyed them just as much.I can not wait for his new book.
  • Jordan McPeek
    January 1, 1970
    Alcoholic former journalist looks into the murder of a friend's son as a favour. Little too much on the main character's stuggles, too little on the plot. I can see why Ken Bruen blurbed it. Reminded me of Bruen throughout.
  • Gary
    January 1, 1970
    The 1st book in the Gus Dury series by Tony Black was recommended to me by a work colleague who was blown away by it. We have very similar tastes in books but not in this case. The book was ok but I was not left thinking that I would like to read the next book in the series.
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  • Sandra
    January 1, 1970
    Really liked most of it. The dialogue, cultural references, metaphors & similes (wasn't taking that much note, just admiring) and the pace of this was good, just the MP didn't ring that true. But I shall look out for more, definitely.
  • Sheila Stewart
    January 1, 1970
    Good, enjoyable read.I was about to give up, thinking I had read this before. However, I persevered and couldn't put it down. I love the language and colloquialisms.
  • Stargazer
    January 1, 1970
    Glad I read the 4th one first.
  • David
    January 1, 1970
    Another Scottish author and new to me but I enjoyed this one so will probably look for others.
  • Robin Jonathan Deutsch
    January 1, 1970
    Brilliant novel. One if the best I've read this year. Great dialog and story.
  • Neda
    January 1, 1970
    Slow paced, nothing much really happens.
  • Rob Twinem
    January 1, 1970
    enjoyable
  • Julie Edwards
    January 1, 1970
    The best book I've read in ages..so down to earth, and completely absorbing...I hope there will be many more featuring Gus..read in one sitting xx
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