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Gang Land: From footsoldiers to kingpins, the search for Mr Big

I THOUGHT I would move away from fiction this week and take a fascinating look into the world of true crime, from the small fry who serve drugs on street corners to the Mr Big characters whose influence spans continents. A former crime correspondent of the Observer, Tony Thompson is widely regarded as one of Britain's top true-crime writers and this book demonstrates why. By building up a network of “anonymous” contacts, Thompson is able to give an in-depth insight into the gang wars that break out between different neighbourhoods on the London Streets, and how modern gangs taunt each other with rap songs they load to YouTube. The animosity and hatred built up between rivals has led to many

Run

*Click on Book Cover to go to Amazon Sales page IF you like your gangsters of the rough and ready 'oop north' variety, it seems Mandasue Heller is the go-to author that fits the bill. Having spent 10 years living on Manchester's notorious Hulme Crescents estates she uses this background for many of her novels. And Mandasue likes to keep herself busy, singing in cabaret and rock groups, 70s cover bands and blues jam bands. As part of that scene, I'm sure she has built up a wealth of ideas and plots. I thought I'd give Run a go but was quite frankly a bit disappointed. I didn't really like the characters and Jake was the kind of two dimensional cardboard cut-out we see far too much in this gen

Tennison

* click covers to go to Amazon sales pages IT MAY be pushing it a bit to put Lynda La Plante in the gangster fiction genre, but having been brought up on the Prime Suspect series with Helen Mirren I think there are enough dodgy characters involved to make out a good case for including her. Of course, perhaps the first crime gang you can associate with Lynda is the Widows, who took centre stage in a popular TV series back in the early 80s. Dolly and her crew got together to finish off an armed robbery which went wrong, leaving their husbands dead. It ran for two series with a third following ten years later, catching up with Dolly after her release from prison. None of Lynda's characters woul

The Promise

CASEY is being touted as an up-and-coming star in the genre and seems to have built up quite a following. I thought I would give The Promise a try, the story of young sisters Georgie and Marnie Parker, who are left to fight their own corner when their mother is jailed for a horrific crime. While the premise sounds good, unfortunately I found this slow and rambling, and could feel no affinity or sympathy with any of the characters, even the two little girls, who don’t really take centre stage until midway through the book. It takes some time to grasp exactly where the story is going and some of the detail is too vivid and excruciating, even for me. I feel there are too many angles to the plo

© 2014 Nick Rippington. All rights reserved.

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