After discovering Martina Cole's books through a friends recommendation, I have now read the majority of her work, however, have seen in recent years that the storylines have all remained very similar. I decided to have a break from Ms Cole for a while and after watching the dramatisation of The Take, thought that I would give "The Business" a read.
The storyline is very similar to other Martina Cole's works - we have a family whose fate is determined by an event that is to have repercussions for many years. We follow the story of Mary Dooley, her fight to bring up her children following the death of their father and her relationship with her daughter Imelda. Martina Cole's work have previously all been an excellent read with a well thought out plot, however, with this book, I was left very disappointed. I could not associate with either Mary or Imelda the two main characters which is something I have not found before with a Marina Cole novel.
Also, I found that we were introduced to other characters in the story such as Jimmy Bailey and Michael Hanlon and as we became interested in these characters, they simply disappeared.
Overall, I was somewhat disappointed with this book. I am hopeful that the new novel by Martina Cole - Hard Girls is an improvement, however, if this isn't, I won't be rushing to read the next release from this author.
This is the first Martina Cole book I have ever read, and I am impressed. The book was dark and dangerous and although i knew I should not enjoy it, I really did. The themes and characters of the story had me hooked and once I started reading the book I could not put it down.
The Business is about the Dooley family. It startes off with Gerry a hard debt collecter, his family live in East London in the 70's and London is full of Crime. His wife Mary brings up teh children, 2 boys who are a bit thick, they work for their father, and could do nothing else, and Imelda their stunning, deceptive daughter. She winds up getting pregnant and tells a lie which literally causes murders. She has her baby and gets hooked on heroin, faces a life of prostitution, drugs and murder. Her mother Mary fights for the daughter Jordanna only for her to be used as a weapon. Imelda soon has another child Kenny. The habit gets worse as doesthe crimes.
The story progress from Gerry. to Mary, to Imelda, To jordanna then Kenny. You hear different sides of the story as it progresses and learn of the horrors Imelda causes. The story is disturbing and dangerous.
I enjoyed the book. I loved the themes and you see what the life of a junkie could be like, and the sorrow for that junkies children. Its interesting, gripping and realy good writing.
After first discovering Martina Cole books I went to read all of her novels and really enjoyed them up until Faces which was published christmas 2007. Therefore when The Business was published christams 2008 I was unsure whether to rush out and buy it in hardback.
Against my better judgement I did go out and buy it, it should have been £17.99 but I got it on special offer at Tesco for £10. After reading it I wish I had waited for it to come out in paperback.
I cannot pinpoint exactly why I did not like it but it just did not seem as good as her earlier novels. It was very descriptive but yet without much actually happening. Gone are the twists and turns of the previous novels which I enjoyed so much. It is basically one long description of a woman's life from start to finish. Beginning in the seventies up until the present day.
Anyway, the novel is described as a gritty, disturbing and haunting tale of drugs and prositution. It starts in the seventies with the Dooley family. Imelda Dooley just a young girl finds out she is pregnant, unable to tell her parents who the father is Imelda lies, something which has drastic consequences. Her father is a bit of a 'face' and goes out to make someone pay for what has happened to his daughter, however his actions result in himself being killed.
Leaving Mary Dooley in charge she now has to look after her daughter and unborn grandchild, and takes over her husbands 'business', becoming a face in her own right.
Imelda has her baby, Jordanna and a few years later has another baby Kenny. Her life however spirals out of control as she gets involved in drugs and prostitution. Her mother tries her best with her but nothing and no-one can help Imelda. She is an unfit mother whose children are left to bring themselves up when they are not in care. Drugs take over Imelda's life and from the moment she begins to take them they are the only thing that matters. She will do anything to get them, anything!
I was disappointed with this book, maybe because I had read all the other Martina Cole novels and I don't believe this is as good. She is an award winning author who is critically acclaimed but in my opinion I don't think this book will be winning any awards.
I usually look forward to reading Martina Cole's latest offering, however, I was very disappointed with "The Business". If you're familiar with her work you will know that her books focus on the seedy, violent underworld of gangland London and it's normally gripping, can't put down stuff.
This book centres around the Dooley family, in particular the heroin-addicted Imelda and the repercussions that her drug addiction has on her parents and her children as they grow up. There's not much to like about Imelda - this was the problem that I found with most of the characters in the book, many of them had no endearing qualities at all and when you did get a glimpse of something in one, in the next chapter you ended up thinking they were scum again! We follow Imelda through her life from a teenager to when her two children are grown-up.
I found this book to be very repetitive and the author seemed to concentrate on explaining different characters at length, to the point that, quite honestly, it bored me! In most chapters, I found myself speed-reading through a number of paragraphs of dross to try to reach the stuff that focused more on the actual plot of the story.
If you've read other Martina Cole books, you will likely find this one a disappointment. It doesn't hook you and wind you in. Far better to go for something by another author - try some of Tess Gerritsen's stuff - The Sinner is one that I would give 5 stars.
Review of The Business, a hardback novel by Martina Cole
The Business is Martina Cole's latest offering in a long line of best selling novels set against a backdrop of London's criminal underworld. For those unfamiliar with Ms Cole's books, she writes of subjects unsavoury, seedy and at times, uncomfortable. Nothing is taboo to Ms Cole and The Business covers violence, murder, prostitution, drug addiction, child abuse and neglect . Her writing style is gritty and she produces novels that are hauntingly readable. Readers are under no illusions about her characters and their lifestyles, a peep into a world very different from most people's reality, Ms Cole's books have the ability to shock, fascinate, touch and repulse me as the story unfolds!
Covering period from 1978 to the present day, The Business follows the life of Jordana Dooley, the child of Imelda Dooley, a psychotic drug addict. Imelda has no compunction about using others to achieve her desires including setting up her own father and her daughter's father which results in their deaths. Later in the story, Imelda shoots her lover, the father of her second child, Kenny-Boy, in front of three year old Jordana and by dint of devious means, manages to blame the little girl for the murder. Nothing matters to Imelda apart from her own wants and needs and she uses her children, her mother and everyone she comes into contact with, mercilessly, to obtain them. I will not divulge more of the story in this review for fear of spoiling the book for other readers!
As with all Ms Cole's books, strong language is prevalent throughout, the characters are well drawn and believable, but at times a tad too violent for some readers tastes.
The novel has many twists and turns, which would enthral a reader new to Martina Cole's work, but I have to say that having read all her books, I noticed echoes of previous novels popping up fairly regularly! The Business is not as gruesomely violent as some of the authors previous novels, but the underlying, unspoken violence is just as effective as graphically described brutality, in some ways more so, as the reader's own imagination is fired as events unfold.
The main characters are:-
Imelda Dooley, a drug addict, prostitute and mother of two children.
Jordana Dooley, Imelda's daughter.
Kenneth Dooley, Imelda's son, known as Kenny-Boy
Mary Dooley, Imelda's mother, a devout Irish Catholic woman who tries to provide some semblance of normality for her grandchildren.
Martina Cole was born in 1958, she was brought up in Essex. Her first novel, DANGEROUS LADY, was an instant best-seller and became a highly successful TV drama series. Since then Martina Cole has written fourteen more best selling novels set in the criminal underworld of London. Ms Cole is no stranger to hardship and has taken many knocks in life herself. Her parents both died when she was young and by 18 years of age she was living alone in a Tilbury council flat with her baby son. She began writing as a way of escaping her own problems. She has in her own words 'always been a grafter' and has built a comfortable life on the strength of her books. She has divorced twice and has a son, a daughter and a grandchild. Martina Cole teaches creative writing to inmates at Wandsworth and Belmarsh prisons and a patron of Chelmsford Women's Aid, which she says is her way of putting something back into society.
For further information about the author and her books, visit Headline and Martina's own website
**Other novels by Martina Cole**
Dangerous Lady (1992)
The Ladykiller (1993)
Goodnight Lady (1994)
The Jump (1995)
The Runaway (1997)
Two Women (1999)
Maura's Game (2002)
The Know (2003)
The Graft (2004)
The Take (2005)
The Business (2008)
**The book details**
Published in 2008 by Headline Press. Jacket price £18.99.
Available from www.amazon.co.uk for £4 (used).
**My thoughts and conclusion**
The Business is a gutsy, gritty tale of a childhood spent against a backdrop of drugs, violence, prostitution and neglect. It is uncomfortable reading at times, but an un-put-down-able novel. I did not consider it in quite the same league as some of the author's earlier works, but would recommend it nevertheless to a reader looking for thought provoking and modern crime fiction.
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 February 2009
Also published on ciao.co.uk under same name
I found this latest novel by Martina Cole not as good as her earlier works and was quite dissappointed, it was very predictable from start to finish. I have read everyone of her novels and found them gripping with gritty real life characters and twist annd turns with every page, but this one just didn't do it for me at all.
I didn't like any of the main charaters and the whole story was bitty and I felt that it didn't really get going at all.
If this is the first Martina Cole book that you read I don't think you would want to try the others and you would be missing a real treat, she is usually such a good storyteller so my recommenation is to start with the earlier books then you can judge for yourselves. The Know is my favourite I just couldn't put it down, riviting!
Loved Coles first books but The Business has put me off this author!! Boring, long winded and very predictable plot !!A complete waste of trees.
Martina Cole - The Business.....
Martina Cole's latest novel entitled "The Business" is yet another book filled with the gritty, hard hitting seediness that is the London underworld. We go back in time to the late 70's and meet the Dooley family. Gerald Dooley SNR, head of the house, Mary Dooley the mother of three children, two sons and a daughter, Imelda. Imelda is the main charter throughout the book as we follow her life, which is bad from start to finish.
Imelda is trouble with a capital "T" and this is something that her family are soon to realise. Her sexually loose behaviour soon gets her with "a belly full of arms and legs" as Martina Cole so eloquently puts it, and this causes major friction within the family. Her father, Gerald SNR, cannot believe that his young and angelic daughter is already giving herself away to all and sundry and cannot hide his rage from anyone. Imelda soon comes up with a story that will get her out of trouble but put a lot of other people in far worse danger than she herself was in. Telling her father that the very boy she was sleeping with had indeed raped her seemed like a fool proof plan but when her father confronts the up and coming womaniser he gets far more than he bargained for when a knife cuts his life short.
Imelda has already caused so much pain with this one lie but the hurt continues as the baby's father is quickly taken out of the picture by Gerald SNR's partner in crime. The trouble is only beginning for Imelda and her family however as the baby is born into a world of drugs and abuse. The life of Imelda Dooley is a long and hate filled one and the only thing she truly cares about is getting her next fix.
I have been an avid reader of Martina Cole for many years but have found her books of late rather lacking. I purchased this with the thought that maybe things have turned around and I would enjoy it more than I have the last three books of hers. Unfortunately this was not the case. I struggled through the 400 plus pages that this book has in hardback and have sore wrists from reading in bed under the weight of the thing but feel like I have wasted a few weeks reading the novel itself.
Martina Cole's older books seem to have more things actually going on in them or even are centred around a big focal point of the book and I really didn't felt that this book had anything like that. The book seemed to merely follow a troubled young girl turning in to a troubled young women and this did not hold the same interest for me as say her book "Maura's Game".
Something that I also found really annoying was the fact that Martina Cole would reiterate things to the extreme. I noted that pages were taken up on describing things but not in any different manners rather just in different words. Things like "she was pregnant" would also have "she had a belly full of arms and legs" along with "a bun in the oven was not what she wanted". All this just felt like a lot of page filling to me and I felt that the book just needed to get a move on rather than keep covering old ground.
I don't think I really disliked the book as I did read up until the end I just found it somewhat lacking in a real page turning storyline. I usually speed through books but this one just seemed to take forever. I often found myself reading but thinking of other things, which if a book is good enough I would not usually do which, is how I know this one was not that gripping.
This book has been on the shelves for a little over a month now in hardback format and I have just finished reading it. I paid £9 something from Tesco's which is said to be half price but I find that this price is pretty much a standard most places. I think as I thought last time I bought a hardback Martina Cole, that I should have waited for it to come out in paperback and that is perhaps what I shall do next time.
I don't rate the book highly but it was readable. A 3 star rating is a generous score for this book and I would say if you can get it paperback second hand then do that. It certainly isn't worth paying out for it in hardback. The style of Martina is still the same with the usual harsh language and a fairly nasty theme to it so I wouldn't recommend it to the faint hearted.
It is a shame that Martina Cole's books appear to be deteriorating with each one but as it stands I will continue to read her books until the get really bad. I would hate to think someone would be put of from reading her books if perhaps they were introduced to her books by reading this one. If you have not read a Cole book before then certainly starting from her earliest books is advisable.
This book is certainly not a Cole classic but worth a look so I am giving a SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDATION along with the 3 stars. A fairly undecided rating for a pretty undecided book.
I hope this has been of some interest to you.