A Book Spy Review: ‘Every Night I Dream Of Hell’ By Malcolm Mackay

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Set in Glasgow, Scotland, a man named Peter Jamieson runs a vast crime organization. It’s widely known and respected among other crime families that Jamieson owns the streets in Glasgow–and nobody dares to threaten his operation. 

Things change, though, when Jamieson and John Young, his trustworthy sidekick, end up doing time behind bars. With the top dog off the street, the time is ripe for someone to set up shop on Jamieson’s turf–that is, if they have the stones to try and take it.

To keep that from happening, Jamieson has Nate Colgan brought in to serve as his Chief Security Consultant, which essentially means he’s a crime consultant tasked with analyzing threats and taking them out before they can damage Jamieson, his crew, or the crime empire he’s built.

Nate is a hard-nosed, no-nonsense hired muscle who understands crime and what it takes to protect one’s brand. As he analyzes Jamieson’s situation, Nate initially indicates that an internal power struggle–created by the gang’s leader sitting in prison–is likely the biggest thing the crime honcho has to worry about. That theory quickly changes, though, when a new gang shows up to claim Jamieson’s streets.

While rumors swirl about where, exactly, they came from, one thing is for certain–a new gang is in town, and they’re here to wage war against Jamieson’s empire while he sits on the sidelines behind bars.

With the new threat identified, it’s up to Nate and Jamieson’s other loyal henchman to defend their turf as a gang war breaks out on the streets of Glasgow. 

Interestingly, while the author goes to great lengths to make the reader aware of Nate’s reputation on the streets, he presents his main character quite differently. Instead of the rough, tough brawler people fear, Nate is actually a little bit of an intellect. He’s also the father to a young daughter, whom he loves and works to provide for, albeit with a dangerous way of earning a paycheck.

As the new gang rolls in, so does Nate’s ex-girlfriend, who happens to be the mother of his child. When he learns she may be linked to the people threatening his boss’ empire, things take a turn and add a new ripple to Malcolm Mackay’s violent, shifting plot.

While chock-full of potential, Every Night I Dream of Hell misses the mark in one key area. Nate Colgan is underdeveloped, and what is known about him doesn’t necessarily make him someone readers will like, relate to, or root for. And if you don’t care about the main character, readers will have zero reason to care who wins the turf war–which the whole story relies on.

The fact that Nate is a loving parent is a step in the right direction, but few other redeeming qualities will make it hard for readers to embrace the story’s lead character. While those who do will surely enjoy Mackay’s novel, those who don’t will find the plot underwhelming and uninteresting.

Book Details

Author: Malcolm Mackay
Pages: 288 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 0316271772
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Release Date: April 11, 2017

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