In this, the fourth book of The Glasgow Chronicles series, dark clouds are gathering over Springburn’s tenements, in the lead up to the Christmas holiday period of 1971. The Mankys, now one of Glasgow’s foremost up and coming young criminal gangs, are in trouble…big trouble…and there doesn’t seem to be anything that their charismatic leader, Tony Gucci, can do about it. For the past year, The Mankys have been under siege from Tam and Toby Simpson, notorious leaders of The Simpson gang from neighbouring Possilpark, who have had enough of The Mankys, and have decided to wipe them out, once and for all.
To make matters worse, Tony’s mentor, Pat Molloy, aka The Big Man and his chief lieutenant, Wan-bob Brown, have disappeared from the Glasgow underworld scene, resulting in Tony having to deal with Shaun Murphy, who has taken charge of The Big Man’s criminal empire in The Big Man’s absence. Everyone knows that Shaun Murphy hates The Mankys even more than The Simpsons do.
As if this isn’t bad enough, Johnboy Taylor and Silent Smith, two of the key Manky players, are currently languishing in solitary confinement in Polmont Borstal. As Johnboy awaits his release on Hogmanay, he has endless hours to contemplate how The Mankys have ended up in their current dilemma, whilst being unable to influence the feared conclusion that is unravelling back in Springburn.
Meanwhile, police sergeants Paddy McPhee, known as ‘The Stalker’ on the streets for reputedly always getting his man, and his partner, Finbar ‘Bumper’ O’Callaghan, have been picking up rumours on the streets for some time that The Simpsons have been entering The Big Man’s territory of Springburn, behind Shaun Murphy’s back, in pursuit of The Mankys.
In this dark, gritty, fast-paced thriller of tit-for-tat violence, The Stalker soon realises that the stage is being set for the biggest showdown in Glasgow’s underworld history, when one of The Mankys is brutally stabbed to death outside The Princes Bingo Hall in Springburn’s Gourlay Street.
With time running out, Tony Gucci has to find a way of contacting and luring The Big Man into becoming involved in the fight, without incurring the wrath of Shaun Murphy. To do this, Tony and The Mankys have to come up with a plan that will bring all the key players into the ring, whilst at the same time, allow The Mankys to avenge the murder of a friend.
Once again, some of Glasgow’s most notorious and shadiest ‘duckers and divers’ come together to provide this sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching and often violent tale of chaos and survival on the streets of 1970s Glasgow.