The Glasgow Curse: My Life in the Criminal Underworld: William Lobban

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Evening readers! This weekend is a weekend of reading and reviewing! YES! I have left the whole weekend free for blogging and mylittlebookblog sure needs it right now. I’m tired of squeezing writing reviews and keeping up-to-date with plotlines on my lunch breaks. All I find is that I’m confused as to where the plot is going, or I end up spending double the time in the evening correcting the mistakes I have made from writing the review too fast. Enough is enough! Additionally if you are waiting for a review it is very likely that I have actually read your book but have not had the time to review it, so look out for reviews popping onto here tomorrow and Sunday. Although I love my new job I need to keep an eye that MLBB isn’t neglected so expect more posts soon! So onto the review…enjoy.

This chilling and disturbing memoir tells the story of one of Glasgow s most notorious criminals. In his own words, William Lobban tells how he was born in Exeter Prison to a violent, schizophrenic mother. His upbringing in the East End of Glasgow was just as bleak, and he ended up in care, destined for a life of violence and insecurity. Aged only 15 he masterminded a daring break-in to a Glasgow pub, and many years of armed robberies, dealing class A drugs and gang fights followed. When he wasn’t causing mayhem on the streets, Lobban was serving terms in various young offenders institutions and prisons, where he was involved in some of the most serious prison riots of recent years. In the course of his criminal career Lobban became closely associated with the infamous Paul Ferris, who was later to incriminate him as the murderer of fellow gangster Arthur Thompson Jr. Police also believed that Lobban was the man behind the brutal double killing of Bobby Glover and Joe Bananas Hanlon, but none of these charges was made to stick. Finally released from prison in 1998, Lobban decided to walk away from a life of crime, but at first it proved impossible for him to break the way of life that had moulded him, and only in recent years has he found a measure of peace and stability. In this searing expose of the Glasgow underworld he reveals the true facts behind those crimes, which he really committed, and those of which he is falsely accused.

Oh who doesn’t like a book with a bit of grit and grime? This book describes a truly life changing story that I really wasn’t expected but surprisingly thoroughly enjoyed. William Lobban, the author, has really managed to encapsulate the drama we see on our television screens but give it a real life twist that really sticks in the mind of the reader long after the book has been finished. I must admit I couldn’t put this down; I could almost smell the stench of the dirty underbelly of Glasgow’s streets crawling with distinctive dastardly characters. Surprisingly despite this, the book doesn’t have an overtly shocking factor; instead it feels incredibly real and close to home. You can see the children playing in the street, calling and screaming to one another, dodging trains and getting into all kinds of trouble whilst the adults drunk on special brew brawl with each other swearing and gesticulating. It’s all close up and in your face but in a way that only helps to sustain the reader’s interest. When thinking of how to review this book brutally honest is really the simplest way to sum this book up; raw facts, hurt, emotion, family and crime is all mangled together into a book of pure grit. I must admit that this does make Lobban’s account of his life rather disturbing in places especially the descriptions of his early childhood; an only child living between two homes, with very little positive family figures to show him the right path and being subjected to appalling child abuse you cannot help but find the whole experience rather overwhelming. Although it is not surprising that being exposed to such a routine life of crime lead to Lobban’s life taking the same direction as his family members before him the book left me to question my thoughts and beliefs as to the ‘cards we are dealt.’

The only small element that I found less impressive was the discussion of Paul Ferris; this introduction of content seemed to be about point scoring rather setting the record straight and it just felt a little wrong. I thought it would offer more closure but it seemed to be more about ruffling fethers. However overall this is a completely absorbing horrifying but interesting insight into the world of crime, gangs, love, hate and anger. It’s raw, honest, and cruel but well written to keep the pace moving and the reader absorbed well worth a read!

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