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The Night the Rich Men Burned

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"Malcolm Mackay has created his own world." --The Sunday Times [UK] "A sharp-edged morality play delivered with the relentless intensity of machine gunfire."--Library Journal Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends from Glasgow's desperate fringes, become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades: debt collection. While one rises quickly through "Malcolm Mackay has created his own world." --The Sunday Times [UK] "A sharp-edged morality play delivered with the relentless intensity of machine gunfire."--Library Journal Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends from Glasgow's desperate fringes, become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades: debt collection. While one rises quickly through the ranks, the other falls prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle, accumulating steep debts of his own. Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business--Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer--vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known. Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-maneuver one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very center of this war; as the pressure builds, each will find their actions--and in-actions--coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most . . . The Night the Rich Men Burned is a novel for our times, and Mackay's most ambitious work to date, proving that in Glasgow's criminal underworld, there's nothing so terrifying as money.


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"Malcolm Mackay has created his own world." --The Sunday Times [UK] "A sharp-edged morality play delivered with the relentless intensity of machine gunfire."--Library Journal Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends from Glasgow's desperate fringes, become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades: debt collection. While one rises quickly through "Malcolm Mackay has created his own world." --The Sunday Times [UK] "A sharp-edged morality play delivered with the relentless intensity of machine gunfire."--Library Journal Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass, two friends from Glasgow's desperate fringes, become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades: debt collection. While one rises quickly through the ranks, the other falls prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle, accumulating steep debts of his own. Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business--Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer--vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known. Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets, as those at the top make deadly attempts to out-maneuver one another for a bigger share of the spoils. Peterkinney and Glass will find themselves at the very center of this war; as the pressure builds, each will find their actions--and in-actions--coming back to haunt them. But it is those they love who will suffer most . . . The Night the Rich Men Burned is a novel for our times, and Mackay's most ambitious work to date, proving that in Glasgow's criminal underworld, there's nothing so terrifying as money.

30 review for The Night the Rich Men Burned

  1. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    Confrontation, scramble for money, confrontation, scramble for money.... repeat indefinitely. It also had way too many characters.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway, but did not affect my opinion. This is the story of two young thugs in the Glasgow underworld: Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, who are on diverging paths. Alex falls in love with a party girl (prostitute) and cannot find steady work, while Oliver's quiet but firm personality allows him to find jobs and start his own nefarious business as a lender/collector (although there is no explanation as to how he gets the necessary money.) Underlying their stories I won this book as a Goodreads giveaway, but did not affect my opinion. This is the story of two young thugs in the Glasgow underworld: Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, who are on diverging paths. Alex falls in love with a party girl (prostitute) and cannot find steady work, while Oliver's quiet but firm personality allows him to find jobs and start his own nefarious business as a lender/collector (although there is no explanation as to how he gets the necessary money.) Underlying their stories is a battle among the criminal bosses for control of various enterprises, primarily loan sharking. I found there were too many characters introduced, leaving too little time to develop the protagonist's characters. Oliver's grandfather was the best character in the novel.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Raven

    The Night The Rich Men Burned is Mackays 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 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.What I find particularly interesting about the novel is how both Peterkinney and Glass, starting from the same point, find their lives take such different directions, from ostensibly having little, or no, difference between them in terms of their socio-economic beginnings. Glass senses an opportunity for them to gain financially in the employ of a local debt-collector, bedazzled by the prospect of a life of glamour, girls, drugs and violence, and drags Peterkinney into his seemingly foolproof plan. Initially Peterkinney seems less sure of the long term benefits of this course of action, but as the book progresses there is a marked change of fortune for them both. Despite his initial reluctance to Glass’ pipe-dreams, Peterkinney uses his smarts and grows in stature, moving further away from the narrow existence he formerly inhabits, (unemployed and sharing a small flat with his Grandad), whilst Glass spirals downwards into an abyss of debt and despair. With the subtle shifts in the timeline that Mackay employs, we as readers see this deviation of their respective fortunes and, subsequently, as the inherent weaknesses or underlying coldness of their individual characters are brought to bear on the ways their lives evolve, our sympathies are roundly manipulated with each new episode. This is the real strength of Mackay’s writing, that he presents all his protagonists with such a studied and dispassionate air, that he requires of us to form our own allegiances to, and sympathies with the characters he presents. No one is particularly likeable, indeed with most of the characters exhibiting a strong prevalence to violence and financial gain at the expense of others, you would little expect to experience any real empathy with any of them. Cleverly, however, you do find your perception of certain characters shifting and changing, and that is a real and unexpected pleasure of this book, over and above the fairly linear style of plotting that the story reveals. With little or no focus on location per se, aside from the general feeling of a gritty inner city setting, with the inherent dangers and social decay that lies beneath, it is all the more admirable that such extreme focus on characterisation carries the weight of the book throughout with little distraction. Completely unflinching in its depiction of violence and the immoral exploitation of the lower classes by these grasping loan sharks, The Night The Rich Men Burned, never shies away from the stark realities of life within the criminal fraternity. Oddly dispassionate, with a spare and staccato prose style, Mackay once again illustrates his original and refreshingly different take on the crime genre. Not a comfortable read, and one that will cleverly play with your perceptions of, and attitudes to, the characters within its pages which, I for one, find a much more rewarding reading experience. An excellent read.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Karl

    This copy is signed by the author Malcolm Mackay.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Dave Szostak

    Back-stabbing and violent power plays in the world of Scottish usury. Mackay writes in an Ellroy-esque fashion, with clipped, compressed prose. A harsh, at times vivid, but conventional tale of Glaswegian thuggery.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Michael Martz

    I've truly enjoyed Malcolm Mackay's novels of the Scottish underworld. He's a fine crime writer, sort of a cross between Lee Child and his sharp, staccato sentences that propel the action forward, and Elmore Leonard, who writes about the criminal mind very realistically and pens great dialogue. The Night the Rich Men Burned (NRMB) is a good example of a story with some pretty big universal themes (honor, loyalty, ambition) played out on the stage full of criminals with nary a law enforcer in I've truly enjoyed Malcolm Mackay's novels of the Scottish underworld. He's a fine crime writer, sort of a cross between Lee Child and his sharp, staccato sentences that propel the action forward, and Elmore Leonard, who writes about the criminal mind very realistically and pens great dialogue. The Night the Rich Men Burned (NRMB) is a good example of a story with some pretty big universal themes (honor, loyalty, ambition) played out on the stage full of criminals with nary a law enforcer in sight (the only cop in the book is bent as can be....). There's a lot of action in NRMB that I don't want to spoil, so I'll keep this at a high level. The actors in the plot are all members of the Glaswegian underworld, mostly doing lending and collection activities. Big 'families' of crooks run most of the action and various underlings at different levels do the things most legit businesses do, such as sales, marketing, operations, accounts receivable, etc., the difference being that they're done with a slightly different spin. For example, A/R might involve a personal visit to a 'late payer' and a severe beating or, worst case, a bullet to the head. Mackay actually does a great job explaining the details of the activities in which his characters are involved and, since I like a book that teaches me something, I now am much better versed on how the loan sharking industry works in Scotland. Remind me to not do any borrowing over there..... NRMB starts off small, with a couple of young toughs engaged by one of the families to rough up a guy. It goes a little off the tracks but they get in the good graces of the family. One of the young 'uns, Oliver, decides to make crime a career, the other, Andrew, falls in love with a hooker and his life goes off the rails. In the meantime, there are power struggles galore across the families and everyone's scheming to take over. While the underworld is churning, Oliver begins to quietly build his own mini-empire and also has his eyes on the big prize. Andrew, still in love with his hooker, has no income, a drug/drink/party habit, and mounting debt that someone's gonna collect. I'd like to say there's nobody to 'root for' in a book where 99% of the characters are bad guys, but that's not the case. The young guys introduced in the beginning are who get you hooked. You have to admire Oliver's ambition and Andrew's love for his lady and general cluelessness are poignant. Fascinating, too are the scheming and thought processes of the big fish as they plan their moves and dodge figurative bullets (not much shooting actually goes on in the UK). The conclusion isn't of the 'feel good' variety but isn't unexpected. NRMB is one fine crime novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The Night The Rich Men Burned Brilliant Scottish thriller writer Malcolm Mackay has written a brilliant new novel based in the deep dark underbelly of Glasgow, The Night The Rich Men Burned. This book was written with ambition to be something different than the usual police procedural thriller narrated so that we see the brutality of the underworld and it delivers on all levels. Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass are two teenage friends and have been for years, they are unemployed and dreaming of The Night The Rich Men Burned – Brilliant Scottish thriller writer Malcolm Mackay has written a brilliant new novel based in the deep dark underbelly of Glasgow, The Night The Rich Men Burned. This book was written with ambition to be something different than the usual police procedural thriller narrated so that we see the brutality of the underworld and it delivers on all levels. Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass are two teenage friends and have been for years, they are unemployed and dreaming of just having money in their pockets. Oliver is the pragmatic thinker who likes to way his options up and then there is Alex with head full of magic beans and dreams. Marty Jones is a pimp and debt collector who uses young lads to do his dirty work, pays them a little but they get to go to parties with ladies who give favours out. Marty hires Alex and Oliver to do a job on a collector who has been skimming him. Somehow they manage the job but not without a few cock-ups. Marty can see the potential in Oliver and well Alex is just a mouthy teen with cotton wool for brains. While Oliver goes from strength to strength in the underbelly slowly making a reputation for himself, his friend Alex is in love but in a downward spiral. One gets the jobs the other well gets nothing but love and debts, where the interest rate is out of control and repayment is expected or there could be a whole load of trouble. While Oliver is making his way and money in the underworld making the most of the weaknesses of Marty and other underworld figures such as Potty Cruickshank, he is young and striving getting a reputation for getting the job done. Like all things he builds up enemies in the underworld who would like to see Oliver cut down to size and would even pay to see him out of the business. Alex is in a downward spiral in a real crash and burn the drink and drugs are a large part of his life, as is being ignored by those underworld bosses who will not employ him. He is in love with Ella who has to work just to make the money Alex spends, she is good for him and she does love him. Oliver and Alex even though estranged will cross paths in the crosshairs of an underworld battle to sort out who the king or kings of Glasgow will be. Someone will be the winner in the new underworld and there is little the police can do other than investigate the crumbs that are left. This is a fantastically well written thriller that pulls no punches and at the same time does not glamorise the underworld. It is hard hitting unglamorous account of Glasgow’s underbelly and how ambitious you may be you have to have the balls to live amongst them, just don’t be surprise when they come to castrate you. This is a brilliant thriller which is dark and brutal, with an authenticity that grips you, the Glasgow accent screaming at you from every page. This is a truly innovative thriller where the tension slowly builds up and is completely compelling. MacKay controls the tension all the way through to deliver the punches with enough power at the right times. Tartan Noir does not get better than The Night The Rich Men Burned.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    I read Malcolm Mackay's first novel, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, which was really fresh and distinctive. With his latest, The Night the Rich Men Burned, the author shows growing confidence in creating a broader Glasgow story with a bigger cast of characters. He pulls this off superbly. Such is line-up of criminals and scufflers in the novel that a five-page Who's Who is provided as a prompt for readers. Personally, I didn't find this necessary, so well depicted are the figures in this I read Malcolm Mackay's first novel, The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter, which was really fresh and distinctive. With his latest, The Night the Rich Men Burned, the author shows growing confidence in creating a broader Glasgow story with a bigger cast of characters. He pulls this off superbly. Such is line-up of criminals and scufflers in the novel that a five-page Who's Who is provided as a prompt for readers. Personally, I didn't find this necessary, so well depicted are the figures in this gangland story. At the core of events are two young wannabes, the penniless youths Oliver Peterkinney and Alex Glass. Unemployed and desperate, they get involved with a mid-level pimp and debt-collector, Marty Jones. Being disposable, they're useful to Jones to dish out warnings to the indebted. On their first job, though they are pretty amateurish, they bash up a thug who owes money and hope for advancement. But, while Glass is all mouth, it is the cold, calculating Peterkinney who catches Jones's eye and is set for bigger things. There are finely etched characters throughout, from hardman Alan Bavidge to big boss Billy Patterson and the city's top loan shark, the grotesque 'Potty' Cruikshank. Amid all the machismo and tough talk, however, the tale is tinged with sadness, illustrated by lonely figures such as Peterkinney's grandfather, who, like Glass, is ditched as Peterkinney establishes his own debt collection business. Mackay is brilliant at forensically dissecting every moment and dilemma, switching point of view between the players frequently as odds are weighed and risks calculated. His beat is the lives of men playing dirty but not without paying terrible prices. The author is a terrific chronicler of the underworld, and anyone who wants an escape from whodunits and cop tales should take a walk on the wild of Glasgow with Mackay as guide.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    It's gritty and awfully complicated. It starts with a list - a bit over four pages - of thumbnail descriptions of the players in Glasgow's debt collection and enforcement scene. Unfortunately, I found it, most of the time, more complicated than interesting. The turf wars and the treachery are never ending and they induce fatigue rather than tension. Mackay's description of the low to mid level crime scene is depressingly believable. The four main characters - Oliver Peterkinney, Alex Glass, his It's gritty and awfully complicated. It starts with a list - a bit over four pages - of thumbnail descriptions of the players in Glasgow's debt collection and enforcement scene. Unfortunately, I found it, most of the time, more complicated than interesting. The turf wars and the treachery are never ending and they induce fatigue rather than tension. Mackay's description of the low to mid level crime scene is depressingly believable. The four main characters - Oliver Peterkinney, Alex Glass, his grandfather and his girlfriend Ella are all well developed. The cast of lesser villains, not so much.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tony

    This standalone book is an effective if somewhat clinical followup to Mackay's excellent Glasgow trilogy. I say "clinical" because it often reads like an anthropologist's field notes from studying the criminal tribe that are the moneylenders and debt collectors of Glasgow. The motivations, calculations, and decisions of seven main characters, and more than thirty supporting characters (some of whom appear in the Glasgow trilogy) are tersely laid out over the course of several months of a power This standalone book is an effective if somewhat clinical followup to Mackay's excellent Glasgow trilogy. I say "clinical" because it often reads like an anthropologist's field notes from studying the criminal tribe that are the moneylenders and debt collectors of Glasgow. The motivations, calculations, and decisions of seven main characters, and more than thirty supporting characters (some of whom appear in the Glasgow trilogy) are tersely laid out over the course of several months of a power struggle in "the industry." It all kicks off with two jobless, penniless teenagers, Alex and Peter, trying their hand at debt collection. Working for Marty, a bit of a flashy chancer with his fingers in other pies (like drugs and prostitution), they make every mistake in the amateur's book. In the aftermath, jittery Alex comes away with little to show for it (except a new girlfriend who is a sex worker by night), while his cool, reserved pal Peter is the one who uses the job as a springboard to a new criminal career. Both get sucked into the vortex that is the jockeying for the city's debt collection business, a fight that's brewing between Marty, the obese old-school gangster Potty, and scrappy newcomer Patterson. Needless to say, plenty of bad things happen. But what's interesting is the dissection of the manners of moneylenders and their associates. I'm not sure I've ever come across a crime writer who uses interior monologue to the extreme Mackay does, and it's an interesting, if distancing, choice. It's not quite a page-turner, but it is quite good if you enjoy the insidery details of criminal enterprise. The plotting is a bit baroque, and tracking allegiances does require continuous reference to the four pages of dramatis personae at the front of the book.

  11. 4 out of 5

    J

    This is sort of a side story to the Glasgow Trilogy, which was fantastic. The major players in that book are mentioned, but nowhere near center stage. Instead, one of the side criminal enterprises of that series of books is the alley we dart down for this fun, nasty time. It's helpful in filling out the universe, but you neither need to read those books to understand this one, nor read this one to get a better sense of the trilogy. Instead, it's just sort of tangential, which is nice, because This is sort of a side story to the Glasgow Trilogy, which was fantastic. The major players in that book are mentioned, but nowhere near center stage. Instead, one of the side criminal enterprises of that series of books is the alley we dart down for this fun, nasty time. It's helpful in filling out the universe, but you neither need to read those books to understand this one, nor read this one to get a better sense of the trilogy. Instead, it's just sort of tangential, which is nice, because Mackay tied things up so tightly in the last book of the trilogy that he needn't have to come back. But the side story rips along with a pair of crime muscle and their separate paths, one a success who sticks to the job, one a failure who gets distracted by trying to live up to a lifestyle. How their paths weave back and forth, coming near, then far, then very very near, is a nice quality of the book, but this may be the weakest of Mackay's books I've read because it has too much diffuseness of focus, too many characters whose points of view we're getting. The larger tapestry of characters works in a trilogy because you have the time to fuss with these individual threads. Here, because of the compactness of the novel, I'd have preferred more sticking to our mains.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard Thompson

    From the Goodreads blurb: Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up on Glasgow's most desperate fringes. Soon they will become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades. But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts. Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business - Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, From the Goodreads blurb: Two friends, Alex Glass and Oliver Peterkinney, look for work and for escape from their lives spent growing up on Glasgow's most desperate fringes. Soon they will become involved in one of the city's darkest and most dangerous trades. But while one rises quickly up the ranks, the other will fall prey to the industry's addictive lifestyle and ever-spiralling debts. Meanwhile, the three most powerful rivals in the business - Marty Jones, ruthless pimp; Potty Cruickshank, member of the old guard; and Billy Patterson, brutal newcomer - vie for prominence. And now Peterkinney, young and darkly ambitious, is beginning to make himself known ...Before long, violence will spill out onto the streets... A big cast, and a complicated tangle of agendas. It wasn't until we were nearing the end of the book that we realized that most of the action in this book intersected with the events in the final book of the Glasgow Trilogy so the time line was a bit confusing. MacKay's heroes aren't your typical heroes but in this book if was hard to know to cheer for. This was book #27 on our 2019 Read-alouds List.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Callahan

    I enjoy Malcolm Mackays world of organized crime, my favorite books so far are still the first two books of the Glasgow Underworld Trilogy, (The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter and How A Gunman Says Goodby). The authors rapid fire style is a perfect fit for the genre and his characters are authentic. In this book, I really enjoyed the character development and the plot involving the two main protagonists whose stories bookend the novel. I was less interested in some parts of the story that I enjoy Malcolm Mackay’s world of organized crime, my favorite books so far are still the first two books of the “Glasgow Underworld Trilogy”, (“The Necessary Death of Lewis Winter” and “How A Gunman Says Goodby”). The author’s rapid fire style is a perfect fit for the genre and his characters are authentic. In this book, I really enjoyed the character development and the plot involving the two main protagonists whose stories bookend the novel. I was less interested in some parts of the story that involved detailed administrative aspects of the criminal organizational structure and I thought these diminished the overall impact of the book. As an aside, it’s interesting to note the difference in attitudes towards guns in Scotland vs the USA and how the whole story might be different if relocated to a US city.

  14. 5 out of 5

    D

    Better than his first two books not as good as The Sudden Arrival of Violence. The Night the Rich Men Burned is a little darker than his previous three. Part of the story is the corruption of two young men in different ways by the criminal underworld and the rest, like his other novels details people trying to figure out how to succeed in the criminal "industry". Mackay always has characters meditate on the keys to success in the criminal underworld different tactics that don't always work out. Better than his first two books not as good as The Sudden Arrival of Violence. The Night the Rich Men Burned is a little darker than his previous three. Part of the story is the corruption of two young men in different ways by the criminal underworld and the rest, like his other novels details people trying to figure out how to succeed in the criminal "industry". Mackay always has characters meditate on the keys to success in the criminal underworld different tactics that don't always work out. I enjoyed this book, it's in the same world as the Glasgow trilogy but the characters are mostly new. Its darker and less enjoyable but maybe a better book. The evil is more real, more present. With every book Mackay reveals new abilities as a writer. I'm excited to see what he does next.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Elena

    I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway but it was a DNF. I couldn't connect with the story at all. There were way too many characters and I couldn't keep up with who was who or why they were there, even with the 4 pages of character descriptions in the beginning of the book. I thought that maybe this book would have been intriguing or interesting but it just wasn't. It seemed that really nothing was happening and crime was only hinted at, not really displayed in a visceral or I received this book through a GoodReads giveaway but it was a DNF. I couldn't connect with the story at all. There were way too many characters and I couldn't keep up with who was who or why they were there, even with the 4 pages of character descriptions in the beginning of the book. I thought that maybe this book would have been intriguing or interesting but it just wasn't. It seemed that really nothing was happening and crime was only hinted at, not really displayed in a visceral or compelling sense. There are too many good books for me read instead of this one, which is dull and confusing.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Roger Scherping

    This book takes some getting used to, with its occasional fragmented sentences, its choppy style, and the frequent changing of tense. The worst part is that for the first half of book you're working hard just to try to keep straight all of the characters and their intricate business relationships. It takes too long for the actual plot to develop, but when the plot finally does appear, it is worth the trouble and the wait. The central conflict is very compelling, the characters believable, and This book takes some getting used to, with its occasional fragmented sentences, its choppy style, and the frequent changing of tense. The worst part is that for the first half of book you're working hard just to try to keep straight all of the characters and their intricate business relationships. It takes too long for the actual plot to develop, but when the plot finally does appear, it is worth the trouble and the wait. The central conflict is very compelling, the characters believable, and the transformation of Peterkinney is presented in a manner worthy of any classic tragedy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    Wow! This is a dark, intense thriller framed around the loan collection gangs in Glasgow. It centers around two young men struggling to find work and it spirals into the violent and destructive paths their lives take when they enter that trade. It is dispassionately written with a sense of harsh reality. Not an easy book to read but a real page turner. I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Williams

    This follows on from the Glasgow trilogy and has many of the same characters involved. Same gritty quality but focuses on two young men -Peterkinney and Glass-who start out on the fringes of the criminal world. Their paths diverge though and they both follow a differing course into the life. Have enjoyed these books and the world they portray. A little bleak and depressing but, I guess, that is the way it is.

  19. 5 out of 5

    John McDonald

    When the Washington Post reviewed The Night the Rich Men Burned, the reviewer wrote, "[i]t's been a long time since so many pages went by so fast." I can't think of a better way to express what an exciting story this was. The only complaint I have is that the ending left unanswered issues and events that I think should have been concluded. But, that is what makes a book good and compelling, isn't it? Leaving the reader to wonder, what the hell just happened.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    Tight writing with little extraneous fluff, this story takes you on the journey where two friends take different paths in life. And even though you know it's all going to come to tragedy, heartbreak and no good, you have to see it through to the end. I could have done without the numerous times when a certain act would make the character to "appear weak." After a while, the reader should be able to spot where that's going to happen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sean Branson

    A gritty story about the Glasgow underworld, this novel follows the rise of young Oliver Peterkinney through the underbelly of the debt collection business. Throughout the story, you are exposed to the other players/rivals in his world as they experience highs, lows, and heartbreak through their business deals and bad decisions.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Alex Jones

    Another cleverly written tale of the Glasgow underworld, not that you would know it was Glasgow and I only know it is because Ive read the Glasgow Trilogy preceding this book. A tale about loan sharks and collectors and violence , 2 young men starting out in the big world Of crime, one goes one way , one starkly the other, enjoyable well written follow up, looking forward to The next Another cleverly written tale of the Glasgow underworld, not that you would know it was Glasgow and I only know it is because I’ve read the Glasgow Trilogy preceding this book. A tale about loan sharks and collectors and violence , 2 young men starting out in the big world Of crime, one goes one way , one starkly the other, enjoyable well written follow up, looking forward to The next

  23. 4 out of 5

    Nat Wachowski-Estes

    I was frustrated with the author's writing style. The plot is intriguing and kept me turning the pages, but the writing is so choppy. There are too many 3 or 4 word sentences in this book... I found the rhythm of the writing to be a hindrance.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Gavin Simms

    A self-contained novel set in the same universe at the time of the third of the Glasgow trilogy. Part noir, part gangster, part tragedy. A lot of losers in the brutal cut throat world of money lending and clubs and drugs in Glasgow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Barbpie

    This hard-boiled tale set in Glasgow goes full circle in a disturbing way.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Theodore Kinni

    Mackay's ongoing saga of organized crime in Glasgow continues with the tale of two young men who find jobs in the industry.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kent

    excellent rocket-fast paced book - choppy sentence structure fit the thoughts of the numerous players - predictable ending, but very interesting read

  28. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Bates

    Probably my least favorite of Mackay's straight crime novels but still very much worthwhile. Meanders a little more than some of his others but still features his trademark strengths and pays off at the end.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Brooks

    The Night The Rich Men burned is a good book, a underworld of debt collectors and a thriller that keeps you entertained and on edge through it , Mackay again writes a book that keeps you interested to the very end.. Loved this book.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristen

    I won a copy through a Goodreads giveaway. At first I thought that the character list in the front was handy. Then I realized that seemed to be the only proper introduction to anyone. I spent more time checking who was who than I did actually reading. My to-read pile is too large to waste more time on something that is too confusing.

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