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 outmanoeuvre 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 both will find their actions - and inactions - coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most....
The incredible standalone novel from the award-winning author of The Glasgow Trilogy.
Longlisted for the CWA Steel Dagger for Best Thriller 2015.
©2014 Malcolm Mackay (P)2016 Macmillan Digital Audio
This novel is set the same world as the Glasgow trilogy, and some characters from those books appear.
It is a stand alone tale. The writing is deceptively simple, and it's very much a plot driven crime novel. Nothing profound or particularly thought provoking but an extremely engaging, easy read nonetheless.
The narration is fine, some of the stresses grated me a little but overall the narrator suits the book well enough.
One tip : skip through the very long list of characters at the opening of the novel. You won't need them - this isn't Tolstoy - and all characters are introduced fully in the text. This list might be fine in print but really adds nothing to an audiobook.
"Failure on many counts"
(This review applies not only to the current book but also to the other four, very similar, books by Mr Mackay that have been published over a very short span of time.)
As far as the writing is concerned, there are many events that occur among a large cast of characters, but little in the way of cohesion or plot. Things just happen, and then the next thing happens, and so on. There is absolutely no suspense or tension, which I think ought to be crucial in a successful crime novel. The characters are very bland, superficially described, and difficult to differentiate. The story shows little sense of time -- it takes almost to the end of the book to find out how much time passed between the beginning and the end. More egregiously lacking is even a remote sense of place. If you read Ian Rankin, you always know you're in Edinburgh; Adrian McKinty takes you to Belfast, and you know you're in Louisiana when you read James Lee Burke's Robicheau's novels. The current book could have been set anywhere, but unfortunately goes nowhere.
The reading is equally bad. The narrator has no idea of pacing. He lacks the ability to make voices not sound like caricatures. Finally he mangles nearly every sentence by putting emphasis on the wrong word, thus altering and sometimes destroying its meaning. I constantly found myself mentally rereading a sentence to try and capture what I think the author meant to write.
I persevered through this and the other four Mackay novels in hopes of better, but in the end I was sadly disappointed.
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