Russell James has been named “the Godfather of Noir” by Ian Rankin. Russell writes crime novels - about criminals and victims, not the cozy procedural or whodunnit. He is the editor of Great British Fictional Detectives.
You know how among all the kids acting tough at school there is one that stands out, the only one who convinces? Malcolm Mackay is that man.
His characteristically urgent prose style drives his narrative at a remorseless pace as the Gunman – old and approaching the end of his career – works out what options he has left. An almost legendary figure, feared and respected in his trade, he has been a killer contracted to Glasgow gangs for several decades. How long can this continue? His last jobs have not gone well. Over sixty and nursing a hip replacement, he must surely give way to his younger protégée, Calum MacLean, whom we met in the first of Mackay’s trilogy – but he and Calum are friends, in so far as friendship is possible in their business. Mackay brings these stern realities to a myth-like conclusion.
Don’t worry that it’s set in Glasgow – there’s no dialect. Nor that it’s the second in a trilogy – it stands alone. By all means read the first book; you’ll enjoy it. But it’s time to get on board. Hail the new king of Scottish crime. This is a superb book. It should win prizes.