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William McIlvanney

© Neil Sinclair

William McIlvanney

William McIlvanney is widely credited as the founder of the Tartan Noir movement that includes authors such as Denise Mina, Ian Banks, and Val McDermid, all of whom cite him as an influence and inspiration. McIlvanney’s Laidlaw trilogy “changed the face of Scottish fiction” (The Times of London), his Docherty won the Whitbread Award for Fiction, and his Laidlaw and The Papers of Tony Veitch both gained Silver Daggers from the Crime Writers’ Association. Strange Loyalties won the Glasgow Herald’s People’s Prize. William passed away in December 2015.

All William McIlvanney's books

Latest reviews

  • “One of the most eagerly anticipated publishing events of the year – and this novel did not disappoint!”
    — Crime Fiction Lover, Nov 17 2021
  • Ian Rankin created one of the world's most enduring and beloved investigators, the surly Detective Inspector John Rebus. The novelist has churned out more than two dozen Rebus books, but this time fans are in for something — and someone — completely different. Rankin talks...
    — CBC Radio: The Sunday Magazine, Oct 29 2021
  • “As in the original Laidlaw trilogy, the writing here is so sharp that nearly every sentence could split open a haggis.”
    — Minneapolis Star Tribune, Oct 11 2021
  • Vick Mickunas’ 2021 interview with Ian Rankin.
    — WYSO's Book Nook, Sep 29 2021
  • “[With The Dark Remains readers can] savor walking down the mean streets of 1970s Glasgow once again with the stoic Laidlaw. For that pleasure, we have Ian Rankin to thank and, one final time, the man himself, William McIlvanney.”
    — Washington Post, Sep 23 2021
  • “McIlvanney's gift for evoking the bruised humanity in Glasgow's underclass will remind readers not only of Rankin and his Scottish contemporaries, but also of Englishman John Harvey and, across the pond, Michael Connelly."
    — Booklist (Starred), Sep 15 2021
  • "At his death in 2015, McIlvanney left notes for an unfinished novel, and there was only one writer to bring the project to posthumous fruition. Now we have The Dark Remains by McIlvanney and Rankin, and it’s a finis to be relished."
    — The Financial Times, Sep 7 2021
  • "Reading The Dark Remains yields far more than the strangely amazing and touching answer to ‘What if you combined crime noir geniuses McIlvanney and Rankin?’”
    — New York Journal of Books, Sep 7 2021
  • "This story of twists and tough guys leaves behind shattered lives and broken relationships, even for the good guys. Everything is spiced with alcohol and human longing. In the end, no one can match wits with Laidlaw and how he orchestrates the story, almost like a puppeteer, to its crescendo. For Laidlaw fans, the voice and layers come as close as it gets to the original trilogy."
    — The Big Thrill, Sep 1 2021
  • “The world McIlvanney and Rankin create—there’s no indication of who wrote what, and readers will be hard-pressed to tell—is deliciously fluid in its conflicts... A precious chance to spend a few more hours with a franchise that ended much too soon.”
    — Kirkus Reviews, Jul 1 2021
  • “Laidlaw... surprises the reader at every turn, showing himself to be literate, intelligent, and thoughtful. McIlvanney’s fans will relish this gritty early perspective on Laidlaw.”
    — Publishers Weekly, Jun 30 2021
  • Crime and Scotland go together, fictionally at least. Set aside J.K. Rowling, and the leading, certainly the most popular, Scottish novelists today are crime-writers, with Ian Rankin and Denise Mina only two of those who show us how nefarious activity permeates society. Most...
    — Jul 24 2015
  • Our book today is William McIlvanney’s Strange Loyalties (not, as the last couple of “Mystery Mondays” might lead you to believe, Strange Loyalties … of the Dead!), the third murder mystery novels to feature Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw, who stalks the mean streets...
    — Apr 20 2015
  • This third book in the series begins with Jack Laidlaw’s despair and anger at his brother’s death in a banal road accident. His questions as to the dynamics of his bother’s death lead to larger questions about the nature of pain and injustice about meaning of his own life.
    — Apr 6 2015
  • This month in international crime fiction, we travel to the rain-soaked streets of Edinburgh in the 1970s. Europa Editions, through their World Noir imprint, has brought Laidlaw, the first of William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw Investigations across the water for their debut on...
    — Aug 18 2014
  • Europa editions proves their commitment to international crime classics once again by reissuing William McIlvanney’s Laidlaw, the first Scottish noir.
    — Jul 23 2014
  • “[Laidlaw] felt his nature anew as a wrack of paradox. He was potentially a violent man who hated violence, a believer in fidelity who was unfaithful, an active man who longed for understanding. He was tempted to unlock the drawer in his desk where he kept Kierkegaard,...
    — Jun 22 2014
  • Glasgow Detective Inspector Jack Laidlaw, nearly forty, feels his own nature: "as a wrack of paradox. He was potentially a violent man who gated violence, a believer in fidelity who was unfaithful, and active man who longed for understanding. He was tempted to unlock...
    — Jun 17 2014
  • Originally published in 1977, William McIlvanney's Laidlaw, the first book in a trilogy, set a standard for noir mystery. In this reissue, McIlvanney's gruff, broad strokes read as freshly as ever. Glaswegian detective inspector Laidlaw is the quintessential hardened, hard-drinking...
    — Jun 3 2014
  • First published in 1977, this reissue of the stunning first volume of McIllvaney’s Scottish crime trilogy introduces Det. Insp. Jack Laidlaw. The brooding, philosophical Laidlaw is the odd man out in his Glaswegian police cadre, always the one who’s...
    — Apr 28 2014


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