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Reg McKay


1953 - 2009

Crime-writer. Born in Keith (Moray), McKay moved to Govan (Glasgow) in his early teens. Here he was soon involved in gang fighting, but it is said that an encounter with a meat cleaver changed his life. His school career was successful and he studied psychology and sociology at the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1975. Despite a desire to become a journalist, McKay spent the next twenty years as a social worker, improving the lives of an underclass of Glasgow society. He rose to become Director of Social Work for Argyll and Bute Council and Scottish Director for the children's charity NCH (National Children's Homes).

In 1998 he left Social Services to pursue his ambition to write. McKay corresponded with former Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris suggesting a collaboration to tell his story, and the result was The Ferris Conspiracy (2001). The pair went on to write the novel Deadly Divisions (2002), Vendetta (2005) and Villains (2006). McKay gleaned information from contacts in the Glasgow underworld. With gritty novels based on real-life such as Armed Candy (2002) and The Last Godfather (2004), the story of crime-boss Arthur Thompson (1931-93), McKay became the top-selling writer of true crime in Scotland, producing sixteen books in ten years.

Latterly he lived in Paisley. McKay was diagnosed with cancer in March 2009 but was to write a brutally-honest column describing the progression of his illness in the Daily Record newspaper until shortly before his death. His funeral took place at Craigton Crematorium.


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