Jake Arnott, Author . Soho $25 (348p) ISBN 978-1-56947-373-3

Talk about antiheroes: the three narrators of this novel of London's gritty underworld are set on murder, revenge and larceny. Tony Meehan is a washed-up crime journalist currently ghosting the memoir of Eddie Doyle, "[j]ewel thief, bank robber, known associate of most of the major gangland faces," who's just out of prison after serving time for his role in a heist of £15 million in gold, most of which was never recovered. Julie McClusky, the daughter of a murdered gangster, has become a middle-class actress—but she's also searching for her father's killer under the guise of working on her boyfriend's movie about London criminals. Shady businessman Gary "Gaz" Kelly has always modeled himself on "[v]illains and gangsters. The Kray Twins. Harry Starks. Flash bastards. Legends." Unlike the Kray Twins, Harry Starks is Abbott's creation (last seen in 2001's Long Firm ); he's the supposed mastermind of the bullion theft, the possible key to the whereabouts of the gold and Julia's number one suspect. When Starks is spotted at Ronnie Kray's funeral, the search for him begins in earnest, and that search, as well as the crimes uncovered in its wake and committed during its progress, dominate the rest of the book. Arnott's plotting is intricate and his prose hard-edged, made more so by his atmospheric use of Cockney and slang and his close-up look at frightening but human villains. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 10/04/2004
Release date: 10/01/2004
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-0-340-83242-4
Paperback - 338 pages - 978-1-56947-407-5
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!