Book review – Cracking, slick crime debut from Mackay

2013-01-27 10:00

You know you’re on to something really good or very bad when you pick up a crime fiction novel with this kind of title.

Fortunately for us, Malcolm Mackay delivers.

This is the story of 29-year-old hit man Calum MacLean.

A freelancer based in Glasgow, Scotland, he’s fastidious by nature and meticulous in his work.

He prefers life alone and values his freedom.

But with his talent, the underworld bosses are taking notice.

When mid-level crime boss Peter Jamieson calls on MacLean’s talents, the young gunslinger knows it is the beginning of something big.

They want him to be part of the family.

They want to own him.

The deal maker/breaker is small-time peddler Lewis Winter, a middle-aged hustler who hasn’t advanced in the criminal underworld for more than 20 years.

But now that Winter has taken up with mob doll Zara Cope, he wants better things for himself.

He needs to make real money for the beauty to stay with him, so he takes risks that put him in Jamieson’s way – and MacLean’s cross hairs.

But killing Winter is proving to be more difficult than at first anticipated.

At times funny, violent and melancholy, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter reads like a Guy Ritchie movie.

If you really enjoy venturing into the dark belly of the criminal underworld and have an appreciation for dry British humour, you won’t be able to put this debut novel down.

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