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The Night the Rich Men Burned Hardcover – 14 Aug 2014

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Mantle; Main Market Ed. edition (14 Aug. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447264371
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447264378
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.8 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 390,001 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Malcolm Mackay's writing rings true . . . [he] is quite unlike the general run of writers of Tartan Noir. Indeed he is quite unlike most crime writers . . . He writes with authority, and this is what makes his novels compelling . . . Mackay's underworld is convincing . . . Mackay writes with such assurance that he makes it credible . . . Mackay's achievement is to have created a credible world of his own . . . He is a very unusual writer, one who skilfully gives the impression that he is without illusions about how people think and act. (Scotsman)

For his Glasgow trilogy, Malcolm Mackay accumulated praise and awards rarely accorded to a new crime writer, all the more astonishing for an author who has rarely ventured into the city that he describes with such vigour. Can he keep it up? His fourth novel, The Night the Rich Men Burned, says yes. Different characters and more intricate storylines than the books of the trilogy, but recognisably the same terrain. Mackay has created his own world of Glasgow gangsterism, and within it two friends try to set up an empire of debt collectors that is not to the liking of the existing operators. (Sunday Times)

Hailed as the rising star of Tartan Noir, this is Mackay's much anticipated follow-up to his critically acclaimed Glasgow Trilogy . . . Mackay captures the helplessness of a recession-ravaged industrial city. (Sunday Express)

Malcolm Mackay has only been a published crime writer since June last year but his Glasgow Trilogy attracted the sort of acclaim normally reserved for far more experienced novelists. Fans of the trilogy will be relieved to know that The Night the Rich Men Burned - Mackay's fourth novel and the first to stand alone - does not stray far from the already tried and tested formula . . . [It is] a fast-paced read, combining an enjoyably voyeuristic insight to the violent world of these gangsters with enough of a focus on their lives and motivations to make them if not likeable at least understandable. Mackay's description of his chosen setting is superb . . . the characters are well thought out and believable . . . the huge number of fans Malcolm Mackay has garnered since his first release 14 months ago is unlikely to be disappointed. (Daily Express)

Mackay's writing is shot through with grim poetry. Mackay doesn't waste words on elaborate topographical descriptions, or detailed accounts of the weather. We are hardly aware if it is hot or cold; we are not even sure, at times, if it is night or day. All that matters are the words and actions of his cast. The actors are almost entirely male and, with rare exceptions, they are flawed but potentially violent wasters who prey on the weaknesses of society's natural victims. Make no mistake. If this is theatre, it is the theatre of cruelty. You will not finish this book and feel better about the human condition. It is an emotionally exhausting read, and contains many of the elements of classical tragedy - the continuity of place, the fatal coincidences, and the vaulting ambition of powerful men. There were strong hints of Mackay's skill as a writer in his Glasgow Trilogy and you can read our reviews of books one, two and three by following the links. But this is on a different level altogether. It is a harrowing, but quite brilliant tour de force. (Crime Fiction Lover)

The Night the Rich Men Burned is the fourth novel from Tartan Noir's relative newcomer and like a stick of gangland rock, there is 'villainy' written through every page of his remarkably authentic and brutal crime thrillers. After the highly-acclaimed Glasgow Trilogy, some feared that there were no back street stones left unturned in the impressive Mr Mackay's violent, signature underworld, but his new standalone novel offers the same uncompromising slice of the big city's twilight zone. The Night the Rich Men Burned is not just a tale of time and place but a salutary portrait of people living on the margins of ordinary life, those born with little hope and low expectation who either walk a punishing straight line or take the crooked turn to fast money and rampant thuggery. Mackay has an astonishing grip on the criminal psyche, providing a brief but enlightening character study of his grisly cast of cons before the story even begins. And be warned... these bad guys are unrelentingly brutal, the few good guys are pitifully powerless, the tension is knife-edged and the uncompromising violence is as painful as a punch in the solar plexus. This is the dark side of Glasgow that lurked behind the smiles of the Commonwealth Games... Mackay ensures we don't forget it's there. (Lancashire Evening Post)

Centring again on the seedy underbelly of Glasgow, and life among the criminal classes, this was another gripping and terse read that kept me hooked, and as the story plays out, Mackay effortlessly ramps up the tension to a well played out and unsettling conclusion. A truly excellent read, and strongly illustrative of the wealth of talent on the Scottish crime writing scene. (Raven Crime Reads)

Book Description

The incredible new standalone novel from the award-winning author of The Glasgow Trilogy

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Raven TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Sept. 2014
Format: Hardcover
The Night The Rich Men Burned is Mackay’s first standalone project, although marked by the familiar character list, there are sporadic mentions/re-introductions of familiar figures the former Glasgow trilogy comprising of The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, How A Gunman Says Goodbye and The Sudden Arrival of Violence. This novel put me in mind of a kind of twisted Bildungsroman, as it is heavily centred on the adverse fortunes of two young men, Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass. Both are paving their way in the seedy and violent world of Glasgow’s criminal fraternity- a hotbed of violence, criminal rivalries, and a bunch of inherently dislikeable men jostling for dominance in the lucrative world of debt-collection, drugs and strip clubs. Written in Mackay’s now trademark style, in clipped, pared down prose, all underscored with a compelling emotional distance to the characters and events he presents, The Night The Rich Men Burned will astound and delight you in equal measure…

In common with his previous books this is an incredibly character driven book, as all the inhabitants , and participants in the warring criminal factions, are separated by codes of allegiance to the nefarious crime lords within each faction. As they plot and scheme to assert their power in the lucrative world of criminal activities, there is a sense of a constantly changing power game. The main players in this, Marty Jones, an exceptionally nasty piece of work; established loan shark, Potty Cruikshank and scheming newcomer Billy Patterson, are all men with a casual attitude to violence and keen to exploit those they consider weak and needy. It is into this world, that Glass and Peterkinney take their first tentative steps, and which provides the thrust of the plot overall.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Andy H on 24 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anybody who has read "The Glasgow Trilogy" will know how good this guy is at creating excellent plots and intriguing characters in the shady world of exploiters and exploited players in the world of crime. This stand alone book maintains the standard. Another excellent read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By D. J. Paterson on 5 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I was in the right place at the right time (actually my lounge, one afternoon, perusing Twitter) when Mantle (Pan Macmillan) Senior Editor, Sophie Orme tweeted that she had some uncorrected book proofs of Malcolm Mackay's new book to give away. Not one to pass a freebie, I responded post haste.

Of course I was aware of Mackay (who hasn't heard of fantastically titled The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter?), but this is the first time I'd read any of his work. The book isn't your typical crime fiction - yes, there's death, but we know the culprit each time, and there's nobody trying to solve the crime - not as part of the story, anyway. It's written in third person, but in what seems to be quite a different style. And did those things work for me? Too bloody right, they did! I loved the book, the story, and the glimpse into the sordid lives of the characters involved.

The book is set in Glasgow (according to the blurb on the back of the book - but it could be anywhere) and follows the fortunes of two young chancers, Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass as they try to navigate their way through the dark and dangerous world of loan sharking and money collecting. At the same time, the three people at the top of the business are engaged in a cat-and-mouse game to see who can dominate this aspect of the criminal underworld.

The book realistically portrays the darker side of money lending, and the people who are trapped in a downward spiral of owing money that they will never be able to repay. This book isn't overloaded with blood and gore, and is all the better for that. As I mentioned earlier, this is my first read of Malcolm Mackay, but it certainly won't be the last.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Malcolm R on 29 Dec. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Set before, during and after the events of the Glasgow Trilogy, this is a harder than nails tale of money lending and debt collecting revolving around Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends with big ambitions. The plot evolves like a Greek Tragedy, inexorably leading to revenge and retribution but good does not win as there are no good people involved. The style of writing is different and may not be to everyone's liking but this is a must read, something of a first for me to say!
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Format: Hardcover
I've already read the original Glasgow trilogy, and this quite easily fits in with the earlier books. Set in the same time period, and with appearance occasionally of characters from the earlier books, it's all very familiar. But as the saying goes, why change a winning formula.

This time, rather than being at the top end as a hitman, we follow two young boys trying to break into the crime industry, the Debt collection side to be accurate. One, Alex Glass, discovers that the criminal life is not all he imagines it to be. The other, Oliver Peterkinney, discovers that brawn is perhaps not all he needs.

If that makes it sound like more of a character study than a straight forward crime novel, it's intentional. In common with his other books, the min thing is the character. Watching Alexs descent is at times horrific, yet rings entirely true for the person that he is. There's times you sympathy for those tow, and the other characters who slip in and out the book, wane and rise. Mackay seems not to have favourites, so the characters sympathy depends a lot on how the reader sees them.

All in this is an excellent addition to what is a strong body of work.
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