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The Story of this Book is life of a nouveau riche Essex socialite, whose main interest in life is spending her husband's money and increasing her status among her equally vacuous group of friends. Cold and heartless, she sails serenely through the play as the world around her descends into increasingly sordid and graphic scenes of rape, incest and murder. This was a very uncomfortable viewing experience as you can imagine- absolutely harrowing stuff, matched by uncompromising dialogue- there were more than a few things in the script, all pronounced with those unmistakably flattened Essex vowels
To do justice to such strong material you need a very capable cast and last night did not disappoint there were lots of well known faces from the likes of East Ender and the Bill - Marc Banner man capably played slick bruiser Louis, while film actor Neil Mask ell gave his all as Tammy deeply flawed husband, Nick. Equally good were Roger Griffiths as the outraged black father, Tyrell and of course Jemma Walker as the central character Tammy. If there was any weakness in the cast, Robert Ellis, the youngest member of the cast was bit unconvincing as a young Essex geezer, but then this is his first professional stage debut so i am sure there will be plenty of opportunities for him to improve his acting chops.
The set sound design deserve an honorary mention too the stage was very sparse with few props but had large light boxes set on either side with color schemes that changed to match the scenes. In terms of the sound, they even thought to add re-verb to the actors voices to add atmosphere in the warehouse scenes.
So, in closing then, can I recommend 'The Graft'? Frankly if you are a sensitive soul you might want to stay away, as the play deals with very difficult subject material in a completely uncompromising fashion. If however you are interested in getting an intimate look at he seedy underbelly of Essex criminality then I cannot recommend it highly enough.
The Graft is another fantastic well researched novel from the writer that is Martina Cole. As I have said in other reviews I am a big fan of Martina Cole and this book is up there as one of her best I feel. I have never read a book with so many twists and turns, shocks and revelations. It is such a page turner, I couldn't put it down.
First published in 2004 The Graft is another novel about the criminal world of London, however the big difference with this book is that the lead character is a male and not the heroic female we usually see in Martina Cole's books.
Nick Leary is a successful business man, he has a beautiful wife, two young sons, a nice house and lots of money, his life seems to be perfect. His 'perfect' life however is one night turned upside down and when he hears someone breaking into his house he goes downstairs to investigate. Finding an intruder and wanting to protect everything and everyone that is so dear to him Nick ends up killing the intruder. Something I think he lives to regret, as this is just the beginning of a lot of trouble that begins to happen.
His marriage begins to suffer, he gets in trouble with the police and his business dealings become the focus of the story. At first you see Nick Leary as the victim of the book but as you discover his true character and what happened in the lead up to the break in, can we really feel sorry for him any more?
It is hard not to say anymore as the book as that many revelations and such a change in direction that it would spoil it. I have never been so suprised by a book and loved reading every minute of it. You must read it and decide for yourself!
This was the first Martina Cole I have ever read, and it was very well written.
This was the first book I had written that was not a true story, and I have read several of Martina's books since. Although, it was quite difficult to get in to, once you did it was brilliant.
The gripping story line starts with Nick Leary shooting and killing a burgular, whom is seen to everyone as a villian with a drugged up Mam. However the stoy doesn't end there as Nick feel's uncontrolable guilt and know one can understand why.
This story is filled with twist and turns that it just keeps you guessing throughout the book till the very end. I would recommend this book to many people, but I do advise that you have to be patient in this story at the beginning, and you wont regret it.
Martina Cole is abrilliant author and this book shows it. Although it is gory at times it is still an amazing book.
This was the first Martina Cole book i had ever read and i must say it was very gritty but a very gripping read. It was a bit slow to start with but a few chapters in and i could not put the book down.
The story starts with a young boy being killed by the local gangster (Nick) for attempting to burgle his house. He gets hailed as the local hero for doing what anyone would have done. Nick struggles to come to terms with what he has done. Nick hurts and kills people in the course of his every day life, so why does he react like that to this killing? That is where the real story starts.
I really enjoyed this book but having said that there was a lot of unnecessary detail about the characters feelings and emotions that could have easily have been omitted, no one would have missed it and it would not have an affect on the overall story, to be honest it probably would have been a more enjoyable read.
Review of "The Graft" by Martina Cole
The Graft is the eleventh novel from the pen of Essex girl Martina Cole.
The novel follows Ms Cole's tried and tested formula of dysfunctional families, East End London and Essex 'hard men', drug dealing and violent crime. The book, in common with Martina's other works, touches on subject matters which are considered taboo by most people. Incest, child abuse, violence and prostitution all appear in the Graft.
I will try not to spoil the storyline for other readers here!
Nick Leary lives in a large Essex farmhouse with his wife, Tammy, his mother Angela and his two young sons, James and Nick Junior. Nick is a builder by trade but he has fingers in many many pies including drug dealing and other criminal activities. Nick has built a life of comfort and luxury for is family through sheer hard graft. Tammy Leary is a shopaholic, a drinker and user of what she terms recreational drugs. She is a spoiled childish woman who leaves everything on the domestic front, to her mother in law, Angela. Tammy is also very highly sexed, unlike Nick, and spends her life seeking out new men to amuse herself with. Angela is elderly and dislikes Tammy intensely, but loves the lifestyle in the elegant farmhouse, as it is a far cry from her early life in a council flat with Nick's abusive and violent father.
One sultry stormy night, Nick is awakened by a noise form the downstairs of his luxurious home. He investigates and to his horror discovers a gun toting, balaclava clad figure in his home. Nick, a well known 'Face' and hard man, grabs a baseball bat and proceeds to beat the intruder to the ground. His terrified wife and mother call the Police and the intruder is discovered to be one Sonny Hatcher, described by local police as a one boy crime wave. Sonny is the 17 year old child of 'Junkie Jude' Hatcher and her ex husband, Rastafarian Tyrell Hatcher. Sonny is very badly hurt and later dies from the injuries received in the beating.
Nick Leary is portrayed on television and in the press as a have-a-go hero, a brave man defending his family and home. Sonny is written off as a bad boy, the product as a sick society where a junkie can use her own son as her drug runner.
Questions have to be asked and eventually the Police decide to drop all investigations. Nick is in pieces over the death of the boy, he feels guilt at having killed Sonny Hatcher and no matter how often he is told that he could have had no idea how young the boy was, Nick is haunted by nightmares and dreams.
Tyrell Hatcher is well aware that his son was no angel, Sonny had robbed and stolen from friends, neighbours and family for many years to support his mother Jude's heroine addiction. Tyrell knows that although Sonny was a devoted son and a nice lad, he was not the most intelligent of people and would never have had the idea of breaking into a house such as Nick Leary's. Tyrell makes it his business to find out exactly what lead to Sonny's burglary of the Leary house. His investigations take the reader through a myriad of twists, turns and gut wrenching discoveries about Sonny which no father should ever have to face.
The final outcome is a surprising one and ......no more will I say here!
Born in 1958, Martina Cole 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 been married and 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.
I have noticed that Martina Cole invariably dedicates her novels to family members and friends from her past, a very human touch in my opinion.
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)
Published by Headline fiction in 2004. Paperback contains 439 pages. ISBN0-7472-6970-X. Cover price £10.99. Available on Amazon.co.uk for £5.99 new or 1p used.
Another gripping crime thriller from Martina Cole. The storyline is enhanced by the remarkable characters drawn by Ms Cole and her talent for descriptive writing. The plot is complicated and gruesome in places, the language is ripe and not for the feint hearted. The Graft is a good read and not to be missed if you enjoy Martina Cole's work.
Thank you for reading
©brittle1906 February 2009
Self-made businessman Nick Leary hears a noise downstairs, late one night, in his luxurious secluded seven-acre mansion. His instincts to protect his wife, young sons and home, result in a confrontation with an armed intruder. The eventual death of whom sparks off a chain of events which will ultimately change the lives of all those involved.
Nick was only protecting what was rightfully his, what he had grafted for all his life, or was he? Seen as a hero by many, including the police (for ridding the area of a known petty criminal), Nick's life begins to unravel as his guilt starts to eat away at him. Tyrell Hatcher, the father of the teenager involved, cannot understand why and how his son had managed to get himself into the situation, which resulted in his death and begins investigating for himself as the police have closed the case. An investigation which ultimately gives him the answers he craves, but at what cost?
Martina Cole's eleventh novel follows in the same criminal underworld tradition as her previous books - all bestsellers. Her characters are gritty, and have an air of sleaze and corruption about them. She knows her territory well and gives us an insight into prostitution, drug dealing and many more underworld activities. In previous novels there is usually at least one redeemable character, someone the reader can identify with, regardless of profession. Typically her tales are centred on the family with a strong female in charge, a tart with a heart or a mother controlling her gangster offspring. The Graft contains no likeable individuals at all, no one for me, the reader to warm to. Maybe this was because the central character Nick Leary was male and this change of direction did not appeal to me personally as much as having a strong female lead.
I found that I disliked every single character within The Graft and because of this I found it quite tedious to read.
The main characters:
Nick Leary - a self made businessman, hard uncompromising. No one expects him to take the death of Sonny Tyrell so badly.
Tammy Leary - Nick's selfish wife. Enjoys the good life Nick has provided for her and will fight anyone who gets in her way. Constantly having indiscrete affairs she tries to push Nick to his limits.
Sonny - 17-year-old petty criminal appears to have gotten into something new, which leads to his death.
Tyrell Hatcher - father of Sonny, feels guilty at abandoning Sonny and his mother and is eaten up with the need to discover what it was his son was up to.
Jude - junkie mother of Sonny, distraught over the loss of her only son. Would do anything for her next fix, but no one suspects how low she would stoop.
When I first began reading The Graft, I thought Martina had become a bit soft, her use of violence and obscenities was not as pronounced as in previous books, but I soon discovered that the brutality would build up throughout the novel until sometimes it made quite uncomfortable reading. In fact in some places I thought it was overdone, maybe for more dramatic effect. Occasionally I like to use my own imagination, not have every graphic detail trust upon me.
The Graft is again a massive bestseller mainly because of the reputation of its author. Her previous works are normally unputdownable. I did struggle with this one, only finishing it because I wanted to ensure that I had correctly guessed the twist at the end of the novel - I had. Maybe that is why it is called The Graft, as it is such a graft to finish it. I think if I had not read her previous novels than I would have enjoyed it more, I believe she is capable of better.
Hopefully Martina's next offering will captivate me more.