Martin Sivok was a high-level gunman in his native Czech Republic. Having gotten into trouble at home, he has escaped to Glasgow, where he resents having to go "back to school" as a low-level thug. He's trying to make his way in the new world when he falls for Joanne, who works in the family bookstore and lives a quiet life, offering Martin his first taste of middle-class stability. Suddenly, making real money is imperative: he wants to buy an apartment for Joanne's adolescent daughter, so he and Joanne can live together at her house in peace.
As For Those Who Know the Ending opens, Martin is tied up in a deserted warehouse, a bloody gash on his head. It will take the reader the length of the book, told largely in flashback with a roving point of view, to learn how he got there and whether he'll make it out alive.
For Those Who Know the Ending revisits the Dickensian cast from Mackay's novels Every Night I Dream of Hell and The Night the Rich Men Burned. It's set in the Glasgow underworld, and has its predecessors' bone-dry humor, squirm-making suspense, utter lack of mercy and unexpectedly fleshy characterizations. One career criminal is coping with the loss of his young child; another is concerned about how his daughter will respond to his new girlfriend ("That worried Nate more than anything he did in his work"). The book is full of bruised egos and hurt feelings--just don't expect a moral dilemma or a crisis of conscience. --Nell Beram, author and freelance writer