The Last Godfather: The Life and Crimes of Arthur Thompson by Reg McKay
One dark night in London during the 1960s, the city's famous twins in crime, the Krays, were holding court in their busy nightclub when they were told somebody wanted to see them. This in itself was audacious enough but what happened next simply beggared belief. There, on the Krays' home turf, the stranger who had made this bold request pulled a sawn-off shotgun from under his coat and demanded that Ron kiss his brother Reg's arse. As Ron knelt and complied with what he'd been asked to do, the grim-faced man smirked and, in a strong Glasgow accent, announced, 'Ma name's Arthur Thompson - ye'll remember me!' Backing out and still holding the gun, Thompson jumped into a waiting cab and sped off through the streets of London This is the opening of The Last Godfather, the true story of Arthur Thompson as it has never been told before.
I wasn't too excited about reading this as the last non-fiction book I'd read about Glasgow crime wasn't too exciting. This, however, was really good.
It was very clear, concise, and easy to read. I tend to find that a lot of non-fiction crime books get really bogged down with details, but this was a lot more about personality, and was written almost as fiction. It gives a good idea of what kind of people the characters really are, and the crimes become more shocking as a result of this.
However, there were a lot of areas where I was suspicious that I was reading fiction. There were instances where McKay had laid out dialogue that only the people who had been there would have known, and these were people were either dead, or the type whom I doubt would have submitted to an interview for this novel. Although this made the scenes more real, I felt a bit cheated.
Also, a lot of this book is dedicated to Paul Ferris and not Arthur Thompson. On closer inspection I've found out that Reg McKay is a friend of Ferris's, and that in fact this book is a retaliation! This is news to me, and very, very interesting.
All this aside, it is a good read, particularly if you're from or are familiar with Glasgow.
61 / 66 books. 92% done!
(A wee note to apologise - I struggle quite a bit when reviewing non-fiction. I know this review isn't up to standards, and it's for this reason! Hopefully I'll improve soon, any tips would be helpful!)