Customer Review

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read Get Carter And Try Again, 12 Nov. 2013
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This review is from: The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter: The Glasgow Trilogy Book 1 (Kindle Edition)
I bought this because it was brought to my attention during the Crime Thriller Book Club Award. I also love a good noir and live in hope of discovering the new Ted Lewis. "The Necessary Death Of Lewis Winter" (TNDOLW) is not a bad read. It is deftly plotted and you certainly turn the pages. Mackay does what all good noir writers do, creates his own version of the underworld and portrays it as an "industry" that has rules and codes that are normal for those that populate that twilight world. This is a good mechanism for creating atmosphere and gives a sense of reality that could not be otherwise achieved unless you intimately know a load of gangsters and hit men.
The principle characters are well drawn and the book is populated with bent cops, gangster molls and innocent parties. Furthermore, many of the characters are not morally black or white and as a consequence the shades of grey that are necessary for noir are well painted.
So fare so good then, why three stars and not five?
Well, the big weakness of this book is that it completely fails to achieve the sense of place that is so essential for great noir. If we are to walk down these mean streets, we actually have to know were they are and feel them. We only know that we are in Glasgow because Mackay tells us so. Had he not mentioned we could have been in cardboard city! This detracts enormously from the atmosphere which otherwise could have been quite brilliant.
Frankly, Mackay could learn from the greats.
Read Ted Lewis and you certainly know when you are in "The Smoke" -- you can feel it. He doesn't have to tell you. Ditto for Elmore Leonard's Detroit. Raymond Chandler's LA or even Mickey Spillane's NYC. Unfortunately with Mackay you could be anywhere or nowhere.
To other readers, I would say give TNDOLW a go -- you'll probably like it.
To Malcolm Mackay I would say read Get Carter by Ted Lewis and return to the key board. Today you are good. Tomorrow you could be great!
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