@*&%!%^%$ Tony Black!
Sure, the book is packed with Edinburgh patter (unless Black is taking the piss and titillating we foreigners with made-up slang) and dark observations about the underside of the city's bright, tourist-attracting facade (though the protagonist, Gus Dury, admits a soft spot for some of the attractions.)
No, why I really can't stand Black is that I'll never be able to write a novel set in an incredible shrinking newspaper without being haunted by the thought that Black describes such a milieu better than I ever could:
"The newsroom had been decimated. I remembered the days when this place hummed with activity. Now it was a sorry reflection of its former glory. The staff numbers must have been cut by fifty per cent, padded out a bit by a few kids chasing work experience. I shook my head."and
"The paper used to be based in one of the city’s old baronial buildings. They sold it, turned it into a hotel. The office is now housed in one of Edinburgh’s many chucked-up-in-five-minutes jobs. I hear if times get tough the building can be quickly converted into a shopping mall. Forget about the workers that spend all their waking lives in there – best to keep those options open. The way newspapers were going since the web came along, I could see a Portakabin on the horizon."© Peter Rozovsky 2014