By PKW Elgin on 8 March 2015
The Mattress brings us back to the reality of Glasgow city gang life, After a memorable visit to the highlands with Paul, ‘Wan Eye’ (the lovable one eyed collie dog), and many new and very interesting characters in book 4, it takes little while to adjust to reading about how time has advanced the activities of the Manky gang. This is real gangland warfare. No holds barred. Brutal at times. Scenes describing how ‘The Big Man ‘encourages’ people to tell him what he must be told are not for the squeamish reader. This is fiction, maybe, but the author is including a social history of Glasgow at in the 1970’s, and from my memory of the newspapers then, these book occurrences could mirror fact.
With gangs there must be the inevitable police. Police are ordinary people doing ordinary things with their lives, until they put their uniform on. All of the police characters introduced to the reader in this book bring with them humour, dedication to duty, frustration with authority (the boss has got it wrong again), a little hardness, cynicism, down right nastiness, ambition, and also likeableness.
I liked in particular two interview scenes described in great detail. One was the Assistant Governor for Polmont Young Offenders Institution being interviewed for the position of Governor of Barlinnie Prison. The other at Polmont when the Chaplain tries to get into the mind of Johnboy Taylor. regarding especially his views on religion. These passages are well handled by the author.
There will be different views on how the story ends. It certainly builds up to a good ‘will it happen or not? Will I cheat and read the last page?
I enjoyed the book very much. All of the journals so far have been excellent.
I look forward to Journal 5 ‘The Wummin’.