Iain M. Banks
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Stewart Gilmour is back in Stonemouth. After five years in exile his presence is required at the funeral of patriarch Joe Murston, and even though the last time Stu saw the Murstons he was running for his life, staying away might be even more dangerous than turning up. An estuary town north of Aberdeen, Stonemouth, with it's five mile beach, can be beautiful on a sunny day. On a bleak one it can seem to offer little more than seafog, gangsters, cheap drugs and a suspension bridge irresistible to suicides. And although there's supposed to be a temporary truce between Stewart and the town's biggest crime family, it's soon clear that only Stewart is taking this promise of peace seriously. Before long a quick drop into the cold grey Stoun begins to look like the soft option, and as he steps back into the minefield of his past to confront his guilt and all that it has lost him, Stu uncovers ever darker stories, and his homecoming takes a more lethal turn than even he had anticipated. Tough, funny, fast-paced and touching, Stonemouth cracks open adolescence, love, brotherhood and vengeance in a rite of passage novel like no other.
natural, not self-conscious or coquettish. A hand, in front of my face; fingers snapping once, twice. ‘And we’re back in the room,’ Ferg said. He pushed me between the shoulders to set me walking down the rest of the shallow slope of dune, following Josh MacAvett and Logan Peitersen, the other two guys we’d come with from town. Josh was Mike MacAvett’s eldest son and the same age as me. We were friends as much through familial expectation as anything else; I was Mike Mac’s godson and Josh was
cleverer people in particular. BB’s useless, I haven’t even been near a fight in nearly ten years, the staff here would appear to be pals of D-Cup and his chums, and I now don’t even have my phone, which has been picked up by Pool Hall Heavy-set Guy Number 2 and is being pawed at like he’s never seen an iPhone before. ‘Look, I talked with Don Murston just yes—’ ‘Ah don’t fuckin care who ye fuckin talked to! You fuckin talk to me like—’ ‘I’m not—’ I begin. ‘Don’t fuckin interrupt me!’ D-Cup
for us, assuming I took this job. I’d already had what had felt like a semi-formal meeting with Don, up at the house. We were well past the what-are-your-intentions-young-man? stage. I was marrying his eldest daughter, the wedding was pretty much fully organised and everything was arranged. Mrs Murston had taken over almost from the start after our original idea of running off to Bermuda or Venice or somewhere – either just the two of us or with a very few close friends – had been dismissed as
shot past him and raced after the rest of the gang. They’d made the elementary mistake of keeping together and running back the way we’d come, rather than splitting up, so while they made it as far as the gap in the whin and piled into it with the sort of alacrity rats up drainpipes could only dream of, the greenkeepers were right behind them. They caught Wee Malky by the ankles and dragged him straight back out again. The fastest of the pursuing golfers held the now howling Wee Malky while the
do that to Ellie? It was – it had been, I was in the process of deciding – a linedrawing-under fling, a last and very much final hurrah that meant I had kissed goodbye to the delights of other women with a fine, decisive flourish: a bittersweet, never-again moment that would remain my secret and Jel’s for ever more. In the end, after all, I wasn’t yet married to Ellie, I hadn’t taken any vows in public, before any congregation or gathering of friends and family, and so technically no trust had