J. J. Connolly, Author . Duck Editions $15.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-7156-3018-1

The worst thing about drug dealing, whether you're a classy top dealer trading millions or a down-and-out street pusher, is that you have to relate to a lot of total idiots—loudmouths and tough-guy wannabes who aren't afraid to "get nicked by old bill and thrown in the boob" (arrested by the police and jailed). The unnamed main character of Connolly's flawless, lightning-swift pulp crime drama—rich in the language of the British underworld—is a smoothly diplomatic 29-year-old cocaine dealer who has earned a respected place among England's Mafia elite. He manages high-level trafficking with a tough old veteran partner, Mister Mortimer, a man who has seen his share of prison and deadly fights. Just as the young dealer is eyeing an early retirement from the business, big boss Jimmy Price hands down a tough assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward, a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite. Complicating matters are two million pounds' worth of Grade A ecstasy, a brutal neo-Nazi sect and a whole series of double crossings. Navigating the many levels of the international underworld, Connolly convincingly chronicles his anti-hero's transformation from a turn-the-other-cheek diplomat to a revenge-charged hit man, setting his sights on anyone who stands in his way. It's the good bad guys against the bad bad guys in this brilliantly crafted, linguistically dense, European wise-guy tale, and readers will find themselves gunning for the triumph of lesser evil. (May)

FYI:Guy Ritchie has optioned the film rights to Layer Cake.

Reviewed on: 05/14/2001
Release date: 04/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 340 pages - 978-0-7156-3096-9
Paperback - 344 pages - 978-0-8021-4168-2
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