THE SITE FOR DIE HARD CRIME & THRILLER FANS
iBookKindlePrintReviews

Every Night I Dream of Hell

2 Mins read

imageWritten by Malcolm Mackay — Glasgow crime novels seem to be two a penny these days, but this one is different. Firstly, the city is a kind of mute spectator to the events. Apart from one or two brief references to streets and districts, there is a welcome absence of the sat-nav style of scene setting employed by some novelists. Secondly, ye will nae find any cod Scots dialect in the narrative – Malcolm Mackay dis nae do tha kind o’ thing, ye ken.

Most of the action is seen through the eyes of Nate Colgan, feared gangland enforcer. For those who are new to Mackay’s novels, there is certainly a back-story to be discovered. Colgan’s ultimate boss, Peter Jamieson, is doing time in Barlinnie prison, along with his right hand man, John Young. In their absence, there is something of a power vacuum, despite Jamieson doing his best to control his empire via a smuggled mobile phone and his solicitor. No-one is quite sure who is boss, but Angus Lafferty had taken it upon himself to try and hold together the extensive criminal enterprise of money laundering, drugs and prostitution.

At this point, it could be useful to check out the story so far from our reviews. The author’s Glasgow Trilogy began with The Unnecessary Death of Lewis Winter. We also reviewed The Night The Rich Men Burned, which isn’t part of the series, and Mackay spoke to us about his work in this interview.

Nate Colgan has been appointed as Head of Security to the Jamieson organisation. He is neither flattered nor impressed by his new title. He knows he will be expected to carry on breaking legs and battering heads as per usual. Colgan is not an unduly complex man, but neither is he an unredeemable thug. He has a daughter, Rebecca, by Zara Cope, a woman who is no stranger to criminality. His only current relationship is with Kate Newbury, but he finds it difficult to be close to people, and he keeps her at arms length.

A gang of interlopers from Birmingham is rumoured to be muscling in on the Glasgow scene, and they announce their intentions with a professional one-bullet hit on a minor functionary in Angus Lafferty’s drug dealing operation. Colgan and his young apprentice Ronnie Malone set out to find the Birmingham gang, but they seem to have vanished from the face of the earth. Colgan’s equanimity is disturbed by the unexpected – and unwelcome – reappearance of Zara Cope, and things get worse when he realises she may be connected to the boys from down south.

The cast of characters is lengthy, and sometimes confusing, but Mackay helpfully provides a list of the dramatis personnae at the beginning of the book and, despite my familiarity with the novels, I had to refer to it on more than one occasion.

The action plays out relentlessly and brutally, and Mackay very cleverly gives Colgan just enough humanity for us to accept him as the central character, without actually liking the man. The dialogue is needle sharp and throughly convincing. There is a beautifully understated irony in the descriptions of the various gangsters when they have meetings. They all like to think of themselves as simply businessmen, and they dutifully follow all the courtesies and conventions of men who deal in frozen desserts rather than pain, humiliation and death. There are occasional touches of black humour, but this as dark and deeply unsettling a book as you will read all year.

Mantle
Print/Kindle/iBook
£6.02

CFL Rating: 5 Stars


3 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related posts
KindlePrintReviews

There Are No Happy Loves by Sergio Olguín

Translated by Miranda France — There Are No Happy Loves is the third crime thriller in a series by award-winning Argentinian writer Sergio Olguín, featuring the irrepressible and libidinous investigative reporter Verónica Rosenthal. It follows on from The Fragility of Bodies (2019) and The Foreign…
KindlePrintReviews

The Damned Lovely by Adam Frost

This contemporary noir novel takes a few pages to settle into, even if you’re familiar with the Cali hardboiled lingo it’s not easy to follow but persevere and it’s well worth it. Adam Frost has a distinctive voice, his narrator is a fascinating character and…
KindlePrintReviews

Tessa Goes Down by Jason Bovberg

If you can judge the health of a genre by the state of its independent publishing, then crime fiction is doing just fine. The American independent scene has never been healthier. Authors like Nick Kolakowski, Eric Beetner and Tom Pitts continue to deliver the goods…
Crime Fiction Lover