Tuesday 14 January 2020



Violence in the Blood documents Thompson's rise to power from the backstreets of Glasgow to the industrial heartland of the Midlands.

Malkie Thompson's got ambition and he won't let anything stand in his way in his bid to rise to the top. He's outgrown Glasgow and his boss, McAlister. It's time to step out from the shadow of his mentor and establish his own Firm.

Join the rampage as Malkie and his crew blaze a trail of mayhem and destruction north and south of the border, and witness the birth of the crime syndicate.

A December re-read of a novella I previously enjoyed back in 2017.

Why am I re-reading books when I have a stack of unread ones? Well the book is the first in a short trilogy of three linked novellas and I want to read the third soon, but needed a refresh on the first two.

My thoughts are very similar to first time around.
An ambitious gangster, Malkie Thompson descends on the Midlands from Scotland and sets about undermining and dismantling local king-pin Vinnie Edwards' criminal empire.

Graphic violence, certainly not for the squeamish as we follow Thompson's takeover, also enjoying his Scottish backstory and his rise from far from smooth rise from foot soldier to feared leader and the reasons behind his venture south.

Unlikable characters inflicting violence on other unsympathetic people, regardless of the consequences to innocents caught in the crossfire. Lots to like for me as I do enjoy in-your-face protagonists.

4 from 5 again.

Read - December, 2019
Published - 2016
Page count - 105
Source - purchased copy
Format - kindle

* January 2017, thoughts below (no change really, though the book seems to have grown legs from the first time of reading, or maybe I got some duff information regarding a page count)

Malkie Thompson's got ambition. He'll do whatever it takes to get to the top and nothing's gonna stand in his way. Follow Thompson's rise to power from the backstreets of Glasgow to the industrial heartland of the Midlands. Join the rampage as Malkie and his crew blaze a trail of mayhem and destruction north and south of the border.

There will be blood, murder and mayhem. You’ve been warned.

A fast-paced 50-odd page tale of gangsters and criminality. Taut prose, with barely a word wasted. Newman gives us the rise of Malkie Thompson in 1988, moving in on Vinnie Edwards and his turf, much to our soon-to-be-deposed king-pin's chagrin and that of the local police with whom he has a tacit understanding.

Thomson pulls a job under Edwards' nose and causes some grief between Edwards and his pet poodle copper, DI Morrison. A stand-off between the two with guns isn't going to be good for business. One bent copper with embarrassing photographs and pressure from the hierarchy for a result and a return to a more peaceful climate. One annoyed gangster, suspecting that his paid-for-copper has crossed him and has something to do with the 60k job pulled on his patch.

Malkie Thomson's only just getting started. Newman takes us back to Glasgow and Malkie's rise in the Glaswegian underworld, before more grief down south as his business with Vinnie Edwards comes to a climax.

Not many likable characters on display but an enjoyable tale of gangsters, violence, cunning and ambition. Lots to enjoy. Right up my reading alley.

4 from 5

Mark J. Newman has written a few more tales in his Crime Syndicate series, which I hope to read later this year. He has his website here. He's also on Facebook here and catch him on Twitter - @marknewmanwrit1

Read in January, 2017
Published - 2016
Page count - 51
Source - Amazon FREEBIE purchase
Format - Kindle


  1. Col, I don't find violence in novels, however graphic, as disturbing or unsettling as I find them in the movies, often prompting me to switch off or switch channels. The Malkie Thompson trilogy sounds good and seems to have a Harold Robbins feel to it. The fact that all three are novellas is a big plus.

    1. Prashant, I believe the first is free on Amazon so you can try without any pain. I can definitely stomach more on the page than the screen. Surprisingly maybe I'm fairly sure I have something from Robbins in the tub. Do you have a favourite?

    2. A Stone for Danny Fisher, Never Love a Stranger (his first), 79 Park Avenue, Memories of Another Day, Where Love Has Gone... Col, you can give his latter books, early 80s onwards, a miss. And you can read them all in a week's time.

    3. Danny Fisher is in the tubs. I'll look the others up thanks, like I need more books?

  2. Cheers Col - just grabbed this for free on Amazon. Re: page count - if an author re-uploads e-book content, earlier versions of the file get refreshed on your Kindle, which is nice!

    1. Thanks Tom, for the info. I'm OCD about page counts and it seemed an unlikely difference, but I shan't lose any sleep over it. I hope you enjoy the book when you get to it.

  3. If I'm being honest, Col, I don't think I'd go for the violence. That would probably be enough to stop me. But that said, I think it sounds like an interesting context and plot. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Probably more my cup of tea than yours Margot. It would be a dull old world if we all liked the same thing!

  4. Sounds a lot of fun. Pity it's not on Smashwords . . .