The Night The Rich Men Burned
There's nothing so terrifying as money. . .
Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up on Glasgow's most desperate fringes. Soon they will become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades. But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts.
Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business - Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer - vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known . . .
Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-manoeuvre one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very centre of this war; and as the pressure builds, each will find their actions - and inactions - coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most . . .
From the award-winning author of the Glasgow Trilogy, The Night the Rich Men Burned is a novel for our times, and Malcolm Mackay's most ambitious work to date.
I loved Mackay's Glasgow Trilogy. In many ways this is more of the same. The format works so well for him so why fix it? The tough underworld setting, the gritty characters, the snappy prose. In fact, it could almost be book four in the series. The publisher calls it a 'new standalone novel' and, to be fair, the main characters are new, but this book picks up the carnage left behind - in The Sudden Arrival of Violence - with many familiar characters mentioned.
It's Mackay's longest book to date and perhaps his most ambitious.
The two friends, at the heart of the book, have different attitudes and approaches. One seems willing to be exploited. The lure of the money, girls, parties and respect is enough for him to offer his services, whatever he can do. The other is smarter, less willing, and yet, he's the one in demand, until he realises he's capable of going it alone in the unstable and dangerous world of money lending.
It's not long before they are both in too deep.
The portrayal of the debt collecting business packs as much punch as Mackay's previous world of hitmen and drug lords, only it's perhaps more timely, and, how two young men can find themselves enticed, trapped and desperate is believable. From girlfriends to grandfathers their relationships are heart tuggingly authentic.
Violent and gritty. A stylish tale about image, timing, opportunity and loyalty. Brilliant.
About Malcolm Mackay:
Malcolm Mackay was born and grew up in Stornoway where he still lives. The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, his much lauded debut was the first in the Glasgow Trilogy, set in the city’s underworld. It was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award for Best Crime Debut of the Year, the Scottish First Book of the Year, and was featured in ITV3's Specsavers Crime Thriller Club programme. How A Gunman Says Goodbye, the second book in the series, won the Deanston Scottish Crime Book of the Year Award. The Sudden Arrival of Violence is the final book in the trilogy.