Sunday, September 12, 2010

BYE BYE BABY by Allan Guthrie

Jay Stringer over at Do Some Damage wrote that Allan Guthrie's novella BYE BYE BABY is a police procedural... but it's so drastically different from every other police procedural (from subject matter to the characters) that it shouldn't really be grouped into that genre.

I agree. This is a purely original, funny, sharp piece of writing. It has a plot that develops in an unorthodox, non-linear fashion--hardly resembling many of the police procedurals I've read. It's often noted that Guthrie is one of the top working mystery writers, and he certainly lives up to that reputation in BYE BYE BABY. 

The story centers on Frank Collins, a detective who weaseled his way in via a powerful uncle. Collins, who is resented and bullied by the other cops, is assigned a case concerning an eight-year-old boy who's gone missing. The mother of the boy, Ms. Wilson, features prominently in the story, and Guthrie deftly constructs her character with an economy of details. I don't want to give away too much more, as there are two twists that knocked me flat on my ass.

Collins narrates the novella, but it was Ms. Wilson who narrated of the original short story that was the basis for the novella. Guthrie includes this story at the end, which provides a fascinating take on the same events, presented as a grim, sparse tragedy.


  1. He is one fine writer and a nice guy to boot.

  2. I agree with you on both counts Patti.
    Bye Bye Baby is a tremendous piece of work.
    Allan's a writer from whom everyone can learn, no matter what level they're at or how many books they've published. Thing is, for me his work is like close magic - I can see it, but can't work out for the life of me how it happened.