My Rating: 5/5
Synopsis: Life is about choices, those already made and those yet to come.
For John Cooper, more than most, this is especially true. Lost, hopeless and alone, he drifts through the Brighton underworld, a slave to his heroin habit and all but forgetting the man he used to be as he succumbs, dose by dose, to the drug that is both sustaining and killing him.
The only people of import in his life are Mandy, a 16 year old prostitute who he cares for like a daughter, and Phil, mid-thirties and suffering from autism, a fact that many of the local drug dealers use to their advantage as they get him to ferry drugs all over the city.
When Phil dies of a suspected overdose, however, John's long-buried instincts begin to rise to the surface. Knowing that his friend would never use drugs, he begins to investigate what he knows is a murder when the police fail to show any interest.
Unwittingly, John plunges himself and everyone around him into a murky world of drugs, violence and betrayal, all the while struggling against the addiction that consumes him.
My Review: From the very beginning of this book I was gripped. John is, although an addict, an immensely likeably bloke. It seems like the only people in John’s life are a 16 year old prostitute Mandy and an autistic guy named Phil. Life is the norm’ for John as he goes about his days waiting for the next fix. When Phil is found dead John instantly knows he has been the victim of a murder and not suicide like the police seem to be convinced by. At this early stage in the book we see John suddenly show a side to him from his previous years, as a copper!
As the story heats up Joh struggles to get anybody to take him seriously, but his persistence means other people in his life pay the price. The knock on effect for John is one that will have him putting his own life at risk to tell the truth. Between that and watching him try desperately to kick the habit, you can’t help but root for him! I really liked some of the other characters that appear such as Hannah and Gareth Bell. The story itself was brilliant and I read this (for the second time) in just over a day. There is plenty of action, as well as some dark and very serious moments. The book had my emotions ping-ponging all over the shop. I can honestly say I enjoyed it as much the second time around (if not more).
There is one thing that baffles me though about this author. Before anybody asks the question, no I am not related to him and no I do not get paid for my opinion! Why on earth after 4 amazing books has this guy not been picked up and handed a publishing deal on a plate? I am certainly not an expert on the matter but I know what I like and I read a hell of a lot of books each year. I think Publishers are majorly missing out with this guy and feel compelled to ask the question why???? Having checked the reviews from all 4 books on Amazon it seems like nearly 80% of his reviews rate his books at 4 or 5 stars. Sometimes the book world baffles me. All I can say is if you want a gripping and enthralling read for less than the cost of a pint, this bad boy is the one!