Wood’s outstanding first novel focuses on a bumbling group of petty Glasgow criminals, who undertake the improbable theft of the Dark Side of the Moon, a rare purple diamond … The entertaining journey includes some wonderfully funny interludes, some cruelty that rebounds unexpectedly, and clever surprises.
This splendid offering is tagged ‘a caper novel,’ but watch out. Anyone expecting a romp, like Donald E. Westlake’s Dortmunder novels, is in for a surprise. The thieves are a collection of maladroits, and the dialogue zings, as in Westlake and numerous other caper crafters, but there’s also something much darker lurking below the immensely readable surface of this powerhouse of a novel … The revelations in the twisty finale are backdropped by a conflagration that is a magnificent piece of writing purely on its own. In all, a fiercely beautiful novel.
Les Wood’s Dark Side of the Moon is the painfully funny tale of a jewel heist that never should have happened and a plan gone unsurprisingly wrong … Wood’s creation of this underworld is brilliantly insidious. Whether hardened, hapless, or both, these men are memorable and vivid, caught up in spirals of greed, fear, violence, or just numb confusion. The general running dialogue is a slangfest of Glaswegian argot, keen insight, and profane babble, yet it never seems gratuitous or forced. And at the base of these various misadventures is often a surprising humanity: lost chords of compassion, remorse, and dim flickers of hope … Full of jaggedly poetic charm and twisted humor, Les Wood’s Dark Side of the Moon is a fine novel about an unforgettable Scottish demimonde.