Lighting candles: A Paramilitary's War with Death, Drugs and Demons

Lighting candles: A Paramilitary's War with Death, Drugs and Demons

Book rating: 05 Paperback

By (author) David Leslie


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  • Publisher: Black and White Publishing
  • Format: Paperback | 256 pages
  • Dimensions: 156mm x 234mm x 22mm | 399g
  • Publication date: 13 November 2014
  • Publication City/Country: Edinburgh
  • ISBN 10: 1845027515
  • ISBN 13: 9781845027513
  • Illustrations note: 8pp colour plates
  • Sales rank: 1,511,856

Product description

When Manny McDonnell was twelve he awoke to discover British troops surrounding his home in the toughest area of trouble-torn Belfast. Internment had begun and, encouraged by a fiercely Republican mother, he took to the streets with other school kids, throwing bricks, bottles and petrol bombs at soldiers. Jailed at fifteen for having IRA links, he became a unit commander leading deadly missions for the INLA before joining the IPLO, a group so vicious even the IRA ordered it to disband. But his decades of commitment to a free united Ireland turned to disillusion when bombs killed two little boys. By then he was a regular visitor to Scotland, where he befriended major gangland player Paul Ferris and then became the right-hand man of Tam 'The Licensee' McGraw. This remarkable, colourful account of one man's nightmare journey through blood, bombs, bullets and smuggling is a mix of tragedy, fear and humour and is a unique insight into the world of major crime. It includes stories telling how police unwittingly helped car bombers; a terrifying brush with the deadly Shankhill Butchers; the businessmen who made fortunes investing in drugs; hunting a child killer and a host more. It is also the story of how it is possible to put the past behind you and begin a brand new chapter.

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Author information

David Leslie was a senior journalist with the News of the World for over forty years, latterly as Scottish Crime Editor. He is the author of several books including Crimelord, the story of underworld supremo Tam 'The Licensee' McGraw, and The Happy Dust Gang, telling how businessmen plotted the start of major cocaine smuggling. He has appeared in television documentaries giving unique insights into notorious crimes and criminals and is a regular contributor to radio stations and newspapers, drawing on his extensive and unchallenged knowledge of the Scottish underworld.

Customer reviews

By John 26 May 2014 5

I read a review calling this a fascinating in site into splinter group republicans in Ireland well when I checked into the killing history of these so called splinter groups it's remarkable. They killed airey neave and over 50 British soldiers among scores of police and loyalist paramilitary members so if that's a splinter group then what is main stream? This man was radicalised at the age of only (16) because of the British army occupation of Northern Ireland and went on to become a ruthless leader of what can only be described as a bunch of killing machines. I think the book is well written and show the thinking of why men become radicalised in the first place. This man was a serious mover in paramilitary circles and I would not have likes to have him after me.

By John Kennedy 25 May 2014 5

Highly recommend this book, although I wouldn't like to get on the wrong side of this man. This guy is a serious dude and he has caused some serious damage in the north of Ireland and Scotland. Having thought about the life he has led from being in jail for PIRA membership at just 16 to going on to command PIRA/INLA/IPLO units shows the seriousness of the type of ma he is. I would highly recommend this book