Review: No Man’s Land

Neil Broadfoot – No Man’s Land

Published by Constable, paperback £8.99. I received a copy of the hardback edition from the author for review purposes.

The annual Scotland v England football match at Bloody Scotland, held on the Cowane’s Hospital bowling green, is always an entertaining affair, but for one writer it provided a moment of inspiration. Neil Broadfoot, a former Scotsman journalist with three Edinburgh-set novels under his belt, was watching the match a couple of years ago when he suddenly thought: “This would be a great place to dump a body.” The seeds of what became No Man’s Land were sown.

Connor is a former cop who now works as a close protection officer, who we meet in an explosive moment of action as he chases and outwits a reluctant witness who dodged his minder during a High Court trial in Edinburgh. Meanwhile, in Stirling, DCI Malcolm Ford is investigating after a man’s body has been found, arranged in a particularly gruesome fashion. When a second body is found, at the university, Connor is laser-focused on finding out who is killing people in Stirling with a message he hasn’t seen since his cop days back in Belfast…

No Man’s Land is fast-paced to the point of breathlessness, keeping you turning the pages to find out what will hit next. It’s often bone-crunchingly violent, but there is plenty of dark humour, and the final revelations are much knottier than you might guess from the opening chapters. Connor is physically tough with a mind that worries at problems like a dog with a chew toy. He’s an intriguing character, with hints dropped about his past that I’d like to see expanded as the series progresses.

Broadfoot doesn’t pull his punches in No Man’s Land, making it a forceful statement of intent for a new series.

This review was first published as part of a feature on Bloody Scotland in The Scotsman on 18 September, 2018. This is copyright of The Scotsman Publications and is being used in this instance with their kind permission.

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