FANS of Tony Black’s hugely popular Gus Dury crime novels - including those who have been following the Evening News’ weekly serialisation of his mystery novella Long Way Down - might be a little surprised by the prolific author’s latest offering.
A far cry from the hardboiled ‘tartan noir’ crime novels with which he made his name, The Last Tiger, which gets its official launch at Blackwell’s book store on Thursday night, is a bold and heartbreaking novel set not on the mean streets of Auld Reekie, but in Tasmania.
Twelve year old Myko and his family have fled the Czarist occupation of their native Lithuania for the freedom of America only to discover their ship has arrived in Tasmania.
Myko wonders what will become of them as he watches his mother and father become anxious about how they will survive in this new land, settled by the wild sons of convicts and, scarier still, where tigers roam.
Myko has never seen a tiger before except in his picture books and is filled with fear as stories of the tigers’ vicious attacks on the Island’s settlers are retold to him.
He wishes his brother, Jurgis, was with him but knows his sibling’s disappearance is something he should force out of his mind. But when his father takes work as a tiger trapper and Myko discovers the den of the last tigers, the family are thrust into a fight over the last of these beautiful, wild beasts that will force dark secrets to the surface - and pit son against father.
Tony Black Book Launch, Blackwell’s, South Bridge, tomorrow, 6.30pm, free but ticketed, 0131-622 8222
The Last Tiger by Tony Black is published on Thursday in paperback, £8.99