This is the second book in The Glasgow Trilogy, following The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter. That title character, Lewis Winter, was a necessary sacrifice two months before the present action, in what would be only the first step in an all-out war between crime syndicates the likes of which hadn’t been seen for decades.
From the publisher: Frank MacLeod is one of the best at what he does. Thoughtful. Efficient. Ruthless. But with his health failing him, how long before he’s no longer of use to his employers? A new job. A target. A chance for Frank to prove he’s still got what it takes. Something is about to go horribly wrong, though. And up-and-coming hitman Calum MacLean will be called upon to pick up the pieces. Most gunmen say goodbye to the world with a bang. Frank’s still here. No longer in his prime, certainly, at 62. But with decades of experience at the top of his profession, underestimating such a man could prove to be deadly.
Calum, 29, is a good choice for several reasons: He has never been arrested, no convictions, never seen the inside of a jail cell. He’s been in the business for over ten years. He succeeds in finishing the job MacLeod couldn’t. And the fallout over that job is that his boss feels Frank may have no further use to him. Callum, Frank’s mentee, is at the heart of the solution. The title is not meant as an existential question, it is a very realistic one. When a hired killer has to pack it in, so to speak, how does he go about it? Frank thinks “He’s lasted longer than he should have. Retirement, old age, they aren’t things men in his line of work usually have to deal with . . . Gunmen don’t get happy retirements. Nobody gets to walk away.” It quickly becomes obvious that not many people can be trusted to do the jobs they are being paid to do, or not only those jobs at any rate, no matter which side of the law they’re on. Frank thinks, prophetically, “Typically, really, you should never trust anyone in this business.”
Calum is a fascinating man. About a third of the way through the book, we are told that “Calum’s reading a book. Red Harvest by Dashiell Hammett, if you care.” And he is experimenting with a real relationship, for nearly the first time. Interestingly, p.o.v. moves among the men in “the business” or “the industry,” as they refer to their criminal activities, as well as a couple of cops. And the “saying goodbye” can translate to something truly dangerous for all concerned, with the knowledge in the gunman’s head, and it often comes down to self-protection and not risking a disgruntled gunman feeling kicked aside and somewhat useless, wanting to find a way out of that mindset, to the possible (probable?) detriment of others.
This is a wonderful novel, highly recommended, and I can’t wait to read the last book in the trilogy, “The Sudden Arrival of Violence,” up next!...Continua
This book is the second in a trilogy of books that take you into the heart of an organised crime gang in Glasgow, led by Peter Jamieson.
The central character is a gunman called Calum Maclean, who is a gunman for hire, who has to decide to stay freelance, or join a criminal empire!
His mentor, is a gunman called Frank MacLeod, who has been in the killing business for over 30 years.
The plot is well constructed, and flows very smoothly, realistic dialogue and
descriptions of modern Glasgow life, it also shows the other side of the criminals, as they deal with the normal home life issues, on top of their day to day criminal careers.
The characters are very strong credible people, and you find that you even end up sharing some empathy with the criminals!!
Well recommended for a good crime read, and I'm looking forward to reading the last part of the trilogy!...Continua