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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 genre.

What makes it worse is that our heroine Leanne Riley is supposed to be street savvy, and I would have expected her to see Jake coming from a mile off.

There are plenty of hints that this charming, handsome and loaded man isn't quite what he appears.

He has managed to turn himself from the weedy whimpy kid he was at school to the master of all he surveys in just a few years.

As for Leanne, she is fresh out of a relationship with a bloke who cheated on her and is forced to live in a crummy bedsit surrounded by a junkie and a mad woman. She has seen her fair share of charlatans, yet seems to ask few questions of this new man in her life and ends up moving in with him and taking advantage of his 'small fortune'.

Anyone who has any remote connection with the genre can see what is coming next. The love affair backfires because of the secrets he keeps from her, including a previous partnership gone bad between Jake and a psychotic gangster from up the road in Liverpool.

Leanne's an easy target for them in their efforts to get back at Jake who, it now appears, is a well-known hard man capable of the very worst skullduggery.

I can’t say any more without sounding the spoiler alert, Mandasue does her best to ratchet up the tension and some of her peripheral characters are interesting. The book has a great start and it's just a pity that the plot is a bit too clichéd for my liking. Plenty do like it, though, with Run riding high in the Amazon Urban charts.

It has also attracted plenty of positive reviews. I suspect she has a very loyal local following.

Two stars

#MandasueHeller #gangsterfictionreview #Run #Manchestercrimeauthor #NickRippington #Gangsterfictionblog

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