Friday, September 05, 2014

A New Glasgow Crime Fiction Voice: Malcolm Mackay

Denise Mina. Tana French. William McIlvanney. Stuart Neville. Whether the setting is Ireland or urban Scotland, these authors authors bring us dark crime fiction that confronts the "other side" of British dominion: the long shadow of war and domination, whether invited or not, that seems to justify a bitter and violent response from a conquered culture.

On a recent trip "across the border" to Canada, Dave and I prowled the shelves at Brome Lake Books, looking for authors we might not have come across here in the States. The book I brought home was THE NECESSARY DEATH OF LEWIS WINTER by Malcolm Mackay. It's "Glasgow noir," told from the point of view of the criminal underworld -- but it's also a wonderful sort of "Heart of Darkness," tugging at the results of one "necessary" murder. There's an insistent intimacy to the way the characters show their lives, even told in the third person; who'd have guessed that sociopaths could seem so honorable and likeable? Ooops, it's fiction, right? (But think Whitey Bulger and you won't be far off.)

Mackay's books are spinning across the Atlantic, and at least the three that make up his Glasgow Trilogy are pretty easy to order; his fourth, The Night the Rich Men Burned, is harder to find at this point. But that's okay -- I devoured THE NECESSARY DEATH OF LEWIS WINTER and I'm glad to take my time adding the others to my shelf. Check out the author's website if you have a moment.

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