Review: The Second Cut
By Louise Welsh
Title: The Second Cut
Author: Louise Welsh
Publication: May 2022
This is my first Louise Welsh book but perhaps not my last. This is another case of something tipped me off on reading their work because a review or a blurb caught my eye. Though the hardcover is not set to be released until May 2022, I was able to get the ebook from my local library.
Rilke (no first name) is an aging gay aucitoneer whose old prankster friend, after tipping off a house that could use some auction love, ends up dead in an alleyway. Rilke lives by his own moral code, sometimes the line is thinned, as we follow him to find what has happened and why Jojo is dead. We watch as Rilke finds himself drawn into a shadowy Glaswegian life where everything is not as it seems. Was Jojo murdered or did he really just OD?
Whenever I get started in a thriller, or a mystery, I expect a big payoff. The villian and the hero, regardless of gender, have a showdown and good almost always overcomes evil. There may not always be retribution or even some kind of release but when we figuratively close the book, we know the world has not ended.
This is what I was expecting with The Second Cut but it was not what I got. Welsh’s work is a slow burn thriller as we twist an turn deeper the seedy side of Glasgow. While Rilke himself is an unrealible narrator, Welsh’s love of him as a character is clear. We get a fully formed person who we know that smokes, like IPAs, is on Grindr quite a bit, and loves his tweed suites and handmade shoes. He’s a gentlemen, of sorts, who attempts to navigate a world where what it seems may not be what it is.
While I didn’t get the payoff I wanted, though Welsh did tease of such thing, this is not a negative thing. I got turned on to a new to me author whose work I really enjoyed. I liked that the thriller was written differently than most and you had to work a bit to figure what exactly is going on. No one likes having their stories spoon fed to them and this is where Welsh shines. They know how to take a plot and beat it into their version of submission.