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I bought this book three months ago at the airport when I was going on holiday and I have only just finished reading it, that alone is not a good sign that this book was very good as if I like a book I will read it in a matter of weeks not months.
Standing in WH Sminths at Manchester Airport with hundreds of books to choose I really did not know what book to read and I think what made me buy this book was the little red circle on the fromt cover that says "As good as Martina Cole or your money back". Now I have said in previous reviews that I absolutely love Martina Cole and have read all of her novels therefore if this book was going to be as good as those then it was sure to be a great read. However after spending the last three months forcing myself to read it I now wish I still had the receipt so that I could go and get my money back.
Black Widow is a novel written by a relatively new writer Jessie Keane. Her first novel, Dirty Game was published by HarperCollins in 2008 and this is her second follow up novel. Jessie Keane's life is described as "one of idyllic early years, and struggles against the odds from her teen years onwards. Family tragedy, bankcruptcy and mixing with a bad crowd all filled her life".
The book is set in 1970 and tells the story of Annie Carter, a woman who has everything. She is happily married to the man of her dreams, Max Carter and they have a beautiful 3 year old daughter called Layla. They have escaped the 'mob' life in London and now live a life of luxory in Majorca. Max is still the head of the Carter firm but he has left his brother Jonjo running the show in London. Getting all of the financial benefits of the business but without having to do any of the dirty work.
Annie's perfect life is turned upside down in one fatal day. While relaxing by the pool with her husband, daughter, brother in law Jonjo and his new girlfriend Jeanette disaster strikes. Waking from what she thought was an explosion Annie finds Max and Jonjo are both dead and somebody has taken her little girl.
Within a few hours Annie speaks to the people who have taken her daughter and they demand she returns back to London, after which they will tell her how she can get back her beloved daughter. Annie and Jeanette go back to London and call upon one of Annie's dear friends Dolly, a madame of a massage parlour. She stays they can stay there but Jeanette soon scarpers.
Annie soon receives a call and discovers that somebody has taken her daughter in order to get money. They make a demand for half a million pound, a lot of money nowadays never mind in the seventies. Annie is determined to get her daughter back.
Her first thought is to try and find the money, Max was a successful business man, surely he had money? She begins to delve into the Carter business upsetting a few people along the way and re-igniting an old feud with the Carter firms enemies, the Delanies. Annie really is in it way above her head.
As she struggles to find the money she then turns to a New York gangster Constanine Barolli. He is more than willing to help her both with finding her daughter and lending her the money, but only in return for other things. Can Annie resist his charms and is she willing to do anything to get her daughter back?
In all honesty I didn't enjoy this book, it was a very slow burner. Towards the end, say the last third, the story does pick up and become more gripping and interesting. This however does not make up for the fact the rest of the book is pretty dull, I found I had to make myself read it. Reading a book should be something enjoyable and not a chore.
Maybe as a new author Jessie Keane will improve and she does have a new novel coming soon called Scarlet Women. I think she compares to Martina Cole at all, it might be a good way to get people to buy the books but if the book doesn't back up the claim then it is not good advertising.
Black Widow - Jessie Keane
This is my first Jessie Keane read and it certainly won't be my last.
Black widow is the second book in a trilogy, but it can easily be read as a standalone as the reader is told briefly of the history between characters.
Black Widow is based around Annie Carter wife of Max, the head of the Carter Clan. Annie, Max and there 4 year old daughter Layla are living in 1970s Majorca when there is a hit on them, leaving Annie alone at the house and Max and Layla gone. In a fight to save her family Annie travels to London to rescue them anyway she can.
This was a well written book with twists and turns at every corner, it will certainly keep you entertained. You see different sides of Annie, the soft and vulnerable to the strong. You see what she goes through as a mother and Head of a clan. I look forward to the next instalment of the Annie Carter trilogy, as the ending has left lots of routes open.
This was another book I took on holiday to scratch that 'more meaty' itch I had after too many fluffy girly books recently.
The story starts with Annie Carter enjoying life in Majorca with her husband Max and daughter Layla. But Max is the head of the Carter Firm (London Mob) and someone has tracked him down.
One minute everything is tranquil, the next Max and Layla are gone, and it's left to Annie to sort out the mess left behind.
She heads back to London to try and raise the cash the kidnappers have demanded for her daughter, but The Firm is not in the shape it should be.
The story is pretty fast in pace, but not really as meaty as it could be. By that, I mean that I just couldn't really connect with the characters, mind you I did insist it finishing the book before heading out for dinner!
Once I'd finished the book, that was it tho, I was done. A good book for me will leave me thinking about the characters for a while after the last page. This one just didn't do that.
That's not to take anything away from the story. It's well written, with some surprising twists and turns, and you do have the hope that the daughter will be rescued, but it just didn't grab me the way I'd hoped. I think it was probably the background of the story itself for me. Mob stories are just too far away from my real life to affect me I guess.
If I was to come across another Jessie Keane novel, I would give it a browse. She writes well, but I'd think about the basis of the story before shelling out my cash.