Author: Debbie McGowan
Genre: Crime, Thrillers and Mystery, LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction
Published: 22nd September, 2016
Length: 87,000 words (310 pages) approx
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-071-5
Formats: ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)
Three years after the death of his civil partner, DCI Gray Fisher is finally ready to make the break from the police. For too long, he has used his work as a means of survival; now, he's looking forward to a nice, quiet life in academia.
Investment banker Will Richards is a walking, talking contradiction. With his love of surfing and his farmhouse menagerie of rescue animals, he's far removed from Gray's idea of the perfect man, but that's 'not a problem'. Gray wants nothing more than friendship, and Will seems happy to accept that. After all, with his mum's illness and resigning from his job, he's got enough on his plate already.
Assuming, of course, he's telling the truth.
When former colleague, Rob Simpson-Stone, asks for Gray's help with a case of a destitute banker who faked his own death, Gray is understandably reluctant to get involved...until Rob reveals the identity of one of the suspects.
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(Andrea Harding - she's my editor, and you can't have her. Just kidding, but I don't know what I'd do without her. If you'd like her to be your editor, too, you can find her at www.expresseditingsolutions.co.uk.)
If you're familiar with Beaten Track Publishing, and let's face it, if you're here or reading this you probably are, you absolutely must be familiar with Our Deb, the literary genius that is Ms. McGowan, and her longstanding series Hiding Behind the Couch.
You can imagine our delight when quite some time ago, upon finishing HBTC Season 6, Two by Two, that whisperings started about a novel revolving around the intriguing if somewhat elusive Gray Fisher. Now this examining of 'more peripheral' characters from 'The Circle' - the core group of characters in Hiding Behind the Couch - has been expertly navigated before, in Crying in the Rain, to mixed review. Like Crying in the Rain, The WAG and The Scoundrel does feature LGBTQ characters, but if you're expecting this to be some kind of M/M steamfest, you'll be sorely disappointed. If, however, your gratification lies in an experience of genuine characters portraying real people, you will adore this intimate audience with real men.
Gray Fisher has had more than his fair share of trauma and problems, but he's a strong, manly man; you'll find no 'softly', 'sighing' or 'simpering' here. He is hardened through past experience, and we bear witness a realistic demonstration of when the head and heart collide, and the blossoming of a friendship strays into something more.
Finding it hard to balance his expertise as a detective, and his feelings towards his friend Will, Gray struggles with a plethora of issues; he needs to learn to be alone, to deal with his prior addiction, and learn to open his heart, all whilst juggling with the idea of helping former colleague Rob Simpson-Stone with a very intriguing case. Our other protagonist, the aforementioned Rob, has his own issues to deal with, in his hopes of regrouping his little family, dealing with the death of his former lover, and trying to move on in a way that balances his professional and family life. The struggles that both men seem to go through are somewhat similar, but seeing the way they prioritise and grow in different ways is fascinating as it unfolds.
Ultimately, The WAG and The Scoundrel is a crime thriller; a detective story, if you will. However, like all of Debbie McGowan's books, this is character-driven fiction at its best. With a whole showcase of richly drawn detailed characters whom we get to know and understand, both human and animal alike, this is a delightful offering of people, both at their best and worst. I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by Will's furry family and ragtag bunch of accomplices, and to anticipate any of the twists and turns that befall our protagonists in their quest for the truth. Ultimately, I challenge you to go into this book with an open mind, and to enjoy the ride.
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About Debbie McGowan
Debbie McGowan is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she 'ran away' to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science - tough with two toddlers, but they had a 'stay at home' dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.
Website: DebbieMcGowan.co.uk / HidingBehindTheCouch.com
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