Irvine Welsh (Vintage)

Sex and violence are mainstays in Irvine Welsh’s gritty realism, but in his latest book Crime, these two themes collide with particular pathos.

Detective Inspector Ray Lennox (a minor character in Welsh’s previous novel Filth) is in Miami with his fiancée Trudi, recovering from a breakdown induced by a particularly nasty child sex murder case back 
in Edinburgh.

After a blazing row with Trudi, Lennox embarks on a coke-fuelled bender which brings him into contact with another victim of sexual predation: 10-year-old Tianna.

Haunted by the Edinburgh case he is compelled to save her – but can he?

As ever Welsh’s characters are well drawn and satisfyingly complex. Lennox’s growing paranoia that every man is a paedophile is believable and Tianna’s precocious sexuality, a grotesque side effect of her abuse, is handled with great sensitivity.

But too often Lennox’s narrative makes Crime read like a public service treatise on the evils of paedophilia.

Like we needed to be told.