Born Bad Marnie Riches

img_1496

 

Manchester has its own Mario Puzo

This book is stunning.

Say hello to the gangland of Manchester.

The O’Brien family run one half of the City. The Boddlington Gang runs the other.

There has to be conflict and, bloody hell is there conflict, very bloody conflict

The head of the O’Brien family, Paddy, is a ruthless gangster that treats those close to him as badly as he treats his enemies; but his family love him.

His brother Frank runs one of Manchester’s top night clubs, at which his son is a celebrity DJ

His enforcer, or Loss Adjuster, ss he calls himself, is Conky McFadden.

Conky is a fascinating character. A man that thinks nothing of beating people to a pulp or carrying out revenge shootings, yet he is into the classics and thinks deeply. He reminds me of Colin Dexter’s Morse gone rogue.

Then there’s Paddy’s wife Sheila. His punch bag and sex toy, when he’s not using younger versions in Franks club. Sheila runs her own cleaning company, a semi legit business she’s quite proud of.

On the other side of the City Tariq Khan and Jonny Margulies run The Boddlington Gang, an operation every bit as nasty as the O’Briens. They traffic young girls and force them into prostitution, make and distribute drugs, run guns, and destroy everything that comes into their path.

Just like the O’Briens, the Boddlingtons are all about family, but unlike Paddy Tariq and Jonny treat their families like human beings, and keep them in the dark about how they actually earn their money. So somebody’s in for a shock.

Just like the O’Briens, the Boddlingtons have an enforcer, Smolensky, The Fish Man. Why is he called the fish man, because he runs a fish mongers, and also because he guts and displays his victims like a dressed salmon, what a character, he even leaves sliced cucumber along the side of bodies.

After a conflict in Franks club, with a young drug dealer from the Boddlingtons, that leaves Paddy in hospital following a heart attack, the last thing I expected was that Paddy would say enough is enough and decide to retire to Thailand, but he does.

And that’s when the problems start, Paddy decides to sell up and he wants to do business with Jonny and Tariq. It is never going to be easy and somebody really doesn’t want him to sell up.

What ensues is a gangland battle that affects both gangs. Both enforcers are chasing around the city trying to find out who carried out the latest attacks, and carrying out revenge attacks of their own.

Paddy’s family is torn apart, so are the families of Tariq and Jonny.

Meanwhile Sheila is suffering in silence, with an admirer who can’t do anything about his feelings for her. Conky, the misfit of an enforcer hates, the way Paddy treats Sheila but his loyalty is to his boss.

There are subplots in this book that will have the reader loving a character on one page, and hating them the next. There are moralistic twists and turns which will see the reader empathising, and having disdain, with a person all at the same time.

The interwoven lives of the gang members earning illicit money through drugs, prostitution, and violence, should make the reader hate them all. But they are human, they have problems and you just can’t help liking them at times.

The book starts of really well, and right up to the very last page, just keeps getting better and better.

Somebody has to make this book into a film. Guy Ritchie, or Danny Boyle this story should be your next blockbuster, just don’t change anything its perfect as it is.

Advertisements

The Missing Ones Patricia Gibney

51uedmjr1sl

 

The Missing Ones        Patricia Gibney

Every now and then something good comes into your life.

This happened to me the other day. I requested a copy of The Missing Ones, a debut novel by Patricia Gibney.

The book was downloaded to my Kindle and I started reading what has turned out to be an absolutely, brilliant book.

Let me introduce you to the main character.

Detective Inspector Lottie Parker.

She is 43 years old, a widow who is struggling to bring up three teenage children, struggling with the death of her husband, struggling with alcohol, and struggling with the arrogance and ignorance of her Senior Officer Superintendent Corrigan.

I think it’s fair to say life a struggle for Lottie.

But Don’t feel sorry for her, all those things just add to a character you can’t help falling in love with. Whilst she’s battling just to keep her life on track, she is a good Police Officer in the midlands of Ireland, and this book could not have been set anywhere else.

There is a murder to investigate, historic child abuse by the clergy, corruption within the town council, good priests, bad priests, nice cops and functioning cops, all interwoven into one fantastic story.

The story is told with Lottie as the main protagonist. She is called to the murder of a 51-year-old woman in a Cathedral.  This is the first of a series off killings which take place over New Year 2014, in the middle of a snowy winter.

Anonymous flashback chapters tell the story of horrific happenings at St Angela’s Children’s Home in 1974. Good luck guessing who is having the flashbacks, it kept me intrigued up to the end.

Are the killings in 2014 connected with the happenings, of 40 years ago, in the now abandoned home?

Can Lottie solve the murders?

She will have to ignore her boss, rely on her team, and hope she can. Why? Because nobody is safe until the killer is caught. Nobody.

I said that every now and then something good comes into your life. Well in this case two things have.

Detective Inspector Lottie Parker and her team; and the author Patricia Gibney who has written a brilliant page turner of a Crime Thriller.

Let’s Hope we hear a lot more from both of them.

The Marsh Kings Daughter Karen Dionne

 

img_1485

 

This book reads like part modern day thriller, part biography.

Helena today is a family woman with a husband and two daughters, but even her husband has no idea of who the young Helena was, and what she went through before her transformation.

The young Helena was the daughter of the Marsh King. Her mother was his victim; she had been kidnapped as a teenager and held in the middle of the swamp lands of Michigan, where she was abused and kept captive, eventually giving birth to Helena.

Helena loved her father; he taught her to survive in the swamp, to track, to shoot, to use a knife and to fend for herself. But his love was tough love, vicious punishments were inflicted on Helena when she got things wrong. Even worse punishments were inflicted on her mother.

As she grows older Helena begins to realise her father and mother are not the only people in the world. The only knowledge she has of the world outside the swamp are some old Geographic magazines. She may be a good hunter gatherer, but she is very naive.

The young Helena had escaped the swamp and started to build a new life for herself. She stands out from other youths of her age. Her naivety is charming but her “its black or white” thinking leads her into a few scrapes with her new family and the community she lives in.

The book starts with Helena having a day out with her youngest daughter. Everything is going well until she turns the radio on. A killer has escaped from the local prison, it’s not just any killer, it’s the Marsh King, her Father.

She knows the only person that is going to be able to track him into the marsh is her, she knows his field craft, he taught her everything she knows………But did he teach her everything he knows.

The story switches between Helena today tracking her father, and through older Helena’s memories, the story of the young Helena.

What a story it is. I hadn’t read a book like this 3 years ago. That’s because nobody in the UK writes psychological thrillers, or crime thrillers, set in the wilderness, or none that I’ve found.

The Kindle has opened a whole new world to me and two of my favourite authors now are C.J. Box and Greg Isles.

It’s time to add another name to my list Karen Dionne has written one of the best crime-psycho-thrillers I’ve read in a long time. It’s almost as if somebody has taken the best of Box and merged it with the best of Isles.

She describes life in the swamp so well, that in the evenings when I was reading it I could have been there.

Helena, her main character had me Loving her, hating her, empathising with her and just about every other feeling an author can take a reader to.

This is a great read, but stand by for a few bumps along the way when you read it.

Witness Caroline Mitchell

51x-lfirghl

Another original concept for a psychological thriller by this brilliant writer.

I sat down with this book early on New Year’s Eve afternoon, and put it down when the fireworks were going off outside.

What a way to end a year.

This story has, at its core, an abusive relationship where a man keeps control over his girlfriend by demeaning her as a person; physically, emotionally and mentally.

The relationship ended 10 years ago and is recalled in a journal kept by the main protagonist Rebecca. Her nightmare came to an end when her abusive partner Solomon was jailed for a serious crime.

Becky, as she is now known, has started a new life in the wilds of the Welsh Countryside. She is married to a vet and has a lovely daughter.

Everything is good in Becky’s life until she finds a strange phone and starts getting texts on it. Solomon is out of prison and wants revenge for his ten years behind bars.

Becky is to witness a crime for every year he has been in prison. She cannot tell anybody about the crimes, she cannot tell the Police she has witnessed the crimes, and worse of all, she must choose the victims of the crime.

At first the crimes are petty but each is more severe and people start to get hurt.

This book explores the abusive relationship in 2005. It describes how Solomon targets a weak Rebecca at a time when she is most vulnerable, and how he uses his personality and charisma to embed himself in her life.

The parts of the book set in 2015 explore some moral dilemmas that are frighteningly realistic. This book explores how a person can choose which of the people they love to suffer over another. Would it be easier to substitute strangers for loved ones……….Could you use the Witness tasks to extract revenge???

Who will be the victim of the ultimate crime.

The story is great, it’s original, and it had me hooked from start to finish.

The writing is excellent. There was no point in this book where I “skipped over” any passages.

Save the best till last, as the saying goes. Well this was the last book I read in 2016, and I can’t think of a better read all year.