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I enjoy British books set against a background of crime, such as those written by Martina Cole, who is brilliant at this genre. I am always looking out for other authors who tackle this type of novel with such passion, so when I read the blurb for June Hampson's ''Fatal Cut'', I was optimistic this could be a good addition to my book collection.
The book is set in Gosport, Hampshire and as I lived in Portsmouth for eight years, I enjoyed the setting and knew some of the places mentioned. Daisy Lane is our heroine and she runs the Daisychains pub in Gosport. Her ex-partner, Roy Kemp, is in prison with the Kray twins and she currently has a relationship with policeman Vinnie Endersby.
The plot has many strands and is quite complex. Daisy has to sort out her relationships, as Roy is coming out of prison soon. Her best friend and work colleague, Vera, has to keep an eye on the girls who work for them and these include Leah, Angel and Susie, who each have their own storyline in here. Plus there are threats on Roy's life and those of his family, including Daisy. And a trip to Kenya.
The novel covers quite a few complex themes - drugs, prostitution, violence, porn, gangland crime - and is not for those with a weak stomach. There are many scenes of violent acts and plenty of swearing too, so this isn't suitable for children or your grandparents to read!
The novel is certainly not a bad one and after a slow start, I enjoyed it and read over a hundred pages in one go. However, it does have several faults. It tries to cram too much in and can be rather confusing. There are so many characters, that it is hard to remember who is who.
The characters of Daisy and Vera are beautifully written and I soon felt attached to them. They are believable and you soon feel you know them.
I felt June Hampson was not as skilled in writing male characters well. Vinnie Endersby seemed rather two-dimensional to me and as for Roy Kemp, I got an impression of him from the text, then suddenly he would do or say something which seemed completely out of character. So in the end, I felt Roy's character was not consistently written, which made the text jar sometimes.
Another issue I had with Hampson's wrirting is that she seemed to ''info-dump'' rather a lot, so it felt she was adding in more information than was necessary and in a way which was clunky and detracted from your escapism into the story. Similarly, in one of the violent attacks in prison, the scene was more effective written as it was initially, yet she then felt a need to explain the attack in more detail, which seemed to be ''overkill''.
Overall, I did enjoy the novel, but I wouldn't rush out to order any more of hers. I felt she was trying to be Martina Cole, but failing. Good, but not good enough.