For Those Who Know the Ending takes place in the criminal underworld of Glasgow. Crime bosses run the show in this faction-ridden locale, where foot soldiers commit murders so that 'someone else could make money.' ... Into this grim environment enters Martin Sivok, a 31-year-old Czech hood-for-hire with a shaved head and a case of culture shock. He quickly teams up with a young Glasgow-born Pakistani, Usman Kassar. Together, the two rob a bookmaker’s business used to store gang money, which puts them in the bad graces of the criminals they’ve stolen from ... Soon, against his better judgment, Sivok finds himself caught in a downward spiral: 'More money, more risk, more violence.'
From Mackay’s arch title to his granular examinations of his characters’ behaviors and thoughts, it’s clear that his approach differs from that of many Scottish crime-fiction authors ... Mackay’s Glasgow criminals think like businessmen and even see themselves as workers in the 'crime industry.' ... Devotees of crime fiction featuring ravening gangsters and over-the-top violence should exercise patience with Mackay. His Glasgow gangsters are fully fleshed human beings finding their way
Martin Sivok wakes up in a deserted warehouse. He is tied to a chair and the balaclava he was wearing earlier has gone. Who is Martin and what led him to this pretty pickle? We’re about to find out. For Those Who Know the Ending does exactly what it says on the tin – because right from the off we know that poor Martin is cruising for a bruising. But there’s a long, long way to go before all the pieces of this particular jigsaw fall into place ... Make no mistake, this is a gripping and at times gruesome read but the sheer skill of the plotting and overwhelming sense of desperation makes it a book that’s hard to put down. It is remarkable that this author can summon up such an authentic picture of Glasgow’s underbelly while living peacefully on a remote Scottish island! Mackay is a lover of the work of Hamnett and Leonard and that hardboiled style is echoed in his sparse, staccato sentences and clipped dialogue.
Martin Sivok is good at what he does, but after leaving Brno under some pressure, he doesn’t expect the opportunities for new work in a new home to fall into his lap. His drought ends when low-level dealer Usman Kassar invites him to serve as gunman on a routine heist he’s researched thoroughly. Miraculously, Sivok and Kassar escape with 32,000 pounds and without killing anybody...Kassar concludes: 'It was a success.' But although they haven’t left any corpses behind, they’ve left enough clues to make it much likelier than they’d expected that Colgan and Fitzgerald can trace and identify them ... Dour, dead-eyed, and appropriately disillusioned, though the unfolding is more ritualistic than suspenseful.
When Martin and his buddy, Usman Kassar, steal £32,000 from a bookie belonging to the Jamieson crime syndicate, Martin, the more cautious of the pair, wants to take his half and lay low, but the flashier Usman is already planning another job. Meanwhile, Nate Colgan, the reluctant acting head of the crime organization during the prison term of Peter Jamieson, the real leader, plans his revenge ... As with all of Mackay’s work, the violence is shot through with dark humor, and even the lowest criminals have their fair share of humanity. Tartan noir fans will find plenty to like.