The Sudden Arrival of Violence (The Glasgow Trilogy) Hardcover – 16 Jan 2014
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Superb . . . Mackay is a true original, managing to conjure up a gripping new way of portraying city-noir. This, from a writer who has lived his whole life in far-off Stornoway, with only few short visits to the Glasgow he has so vividly created. He's no longer a rising star. He's risen (Marcel Berlins The Times)
Reviewers often groan at the hyperbole with which publishers adorn new novels, but with Malcolm Mackay it is justified. His poetic titles (The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and How a Gunman Says Goodbye) are infused with the sense of menace that is the sine qua non of the genre while tipping the wink that this is crime writing with ambition. The Sudden Arrival of Violence is the conclusion to Mackay's acclaimed Glasgow trilogy . . . The youthful Mackay has the command of a writer twice his age, and he has delivered a conclusion to his trilogy that is just as cohesive and forceful as his previous two books. (Financial Times)
The final novel in Malcolm MacKay's wonderful Glasgow trilogy . . . Gripping and vivid, with a labyrinthine plot involving double - and triple-crossing, The Sudden Arrival of Violence is told in a staccato, abbreviated style throughout. It's very difficult to keep this up, let alone do it well, but MacKay succeeds magnificently, and his third novel is well up to the high standard of its predecessors (Guardian)
This is a story to take in one gulp . . . Malcolm Mackay's lauded Glasgow Trilogy pounds a familiar beat - fans of Taggart and William McIlvanney's Laidlaw will know it well - the Glasgow backbeat of chisel-faced hard men, organised crime, vengeance, punishment beatings, vicious killing . . . As you'd expect from a writer whose previous books have been listed for - and won - major crime fiction prizes, the prose is as terse as the tale is tense . . . Mackay grabs the action from the start . . . He completely commands his material as he steers it towards a dramatic culmination. (Scotsman)
It's a virtually unanimous verdict. Few new novelists have enjoyed such comprehensive acclaim in the critical fraternity as the young Scottish crime writer Malcolm Mackay. His books, the first of which was 2013's The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, suggest a Scottish equivalent of the hardboiled James M Cain; a writer who doesn't waste a word and who nourishes a certain poetic sensibility - as evinced by the titles of the other two books in his trilogy, How a Gunman Says Goodbye and now this acerbic final volume, The Sudden Arrival of Violence. Every debut in the crime fiction field is inevitably (and wearingly) trumpeted by its publisher, though many such books fall by the wayside. But this is a writer who justified the publisher's hyperbole and has had critics attempting to come up with new adjectives to praise him. The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter places the reader uneasily in the mind of a hitman. Using the familiar trappings of the crime novel, the book was still utterly original. What makes all three novels in the now-completed trilogy particularly impressive is the terrifyingly laidback, authentic toughness - surprising, coming from an unassuming 30-year-old author from Stornoway (where he still lives) in the Outer Hebrides. Mackay has conjured and brilliantly sustained throughout his three novels an astringent vision of the Scottish underworld. Crucially, he has not forgotten the importance of pithy characterisation. In The Sudden Arrival of Violence, the author draws a variety of strands together, but not in a too schematic fashion. Calum MacLean is a hitman working for two criminal bosses. He is always watching, alert for the weaknesses that will give him an advantage. But as Calum begins to arrange his retirement, a gang war breaks out between one of his bosses and a bitter rival, and inevitably the gunman is drawn into the bloodiest of showdowns. I hadn't the slightest doubt that Mackay - whose youth belies a crime novelist of worldly authority - would pull off this concluding volume with the kind of understated panache that distinguished its predecessors ... and so it has proved. (Independent on Sunday)
Dangerously original. (Saga Magazine)
Mackay's clipped, spare, present tense narrative is urgent, clever and ominous. In a field so crowded as crime writing it is not easy to present an original voice. Malcolm Mackay's laconic tone is his alone . . . the Herbrides have produced an author of their own who strides easily into the top division. (West Highland Free Press)
Brutal but elegantly constructed (New York Times)
The stunning conclusion to the Glasgow Trilogy from the celebrated author of The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and How a Gunman Says GoodbyeSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
But nothing in crime is simple and it isn’t long before events spiral out of Callum’s control and all the time, DI Michael Fisher is circling closer and closer, just waiting for the chance to take them all down …
The conclusion to Malcolm Mackay’s GLASGOW TRILOGY is another tautly written, hard-boiled tale that ties up the loose ends and provides a satisfying conclusion to this strong crime trilogy. Callum’s really developed as a character over the books and the end game between Shug and Jamieson really comes good with Fisher lurking in the background, trying to put all the pieces together from the first book. There are some neat twists, the pacing works well and although the plot line is stripped down and simple, Mackay injects plenty of suspense and I enjoyed the parallels between Jamieson and Young and Shug and Fizzy. I really like the way Mackay shows the relationships and the distrust between the men in this story and how there can never really be friendships when you enter a life of crime. That said, the introduction of Alex MacArthur came a little too late in the trilogy for me and I wished that there had been some earlier interaction between him, Shug and Jamieson to provide a context to some of the events in this book and at times contrivance is relied on to keep events moving forward.Read more ›
The story is of the Glasgow underworld and how different "organisations" manoeuvre for power between each other and within themselves. As before, we get the points of view of a number of characters which is a difficult trick to pull off but MacKay does it brilliantly, showing the way in which these things play out and the rapid changes in perspectives and loyalties as things change. He is so good at this that, slightly disturbingly, I found myself concerned for a cold-blooded gunman and wanting him to be safe. It's an excellent, exciting and thoughtful story, full of tension and insight and which avoids most of the clichés of the genre.
I find MacKay's style riveting. He writes mainly in short, staccato sentences. Not many adjectives. No similes or metaphors. It moves the action along. Builds the tension, too. You get the idea, and it's fantastically effective, I think. Despite the title, there isn't all that much graphic violence. What violence there is, is described in the same tone as the rest of the book which, to me, makes it exceptionally vivid and disturbing.
I was completely hooked on this as I have been on the previous two books. If you like a good crime novel (this is a lot more than a basic thriller) you'll probably love this and I recommend it very warmly indeed.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is the final novel in The Glasgow Trilogy, and it is a wonderful way to wrap up the series, living up to the high standard set by the earlier novels: “The Necessary Death of... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Gloria Feit
I have hardly been able to put this set of books down, totally absorbing read. Malcolm MacKay is a vPublished 7 months ago by Shona Spittal
Excellent final chapter to the trilogy - Malcolm Mackay does a brilliant job of making a cold blooded killer into a character that you have empathy with!Published 10 months ago by ELOLOAZUL
Treat the Trilogy as one and read the lot in one hit! It's worth reading "The Necessary Death ..." short story first though.Published 10 months ago by Jonathan Wright
One problem with Mackay.doesn't write enough stories, but that is probably why his tales are so great.Published 10 months ago by mairi smyth