Newest Review: ... they are with each other thick and thin....blood is thicker than water for both of them but can something happen to tear this Bai... more
Can you handle The Life??
The Life - Martina Cole
Member Name: MsTricia
The Life - Martina Cole
Advantages: easy to read, a page turner, gripping
Disadvantages: doesn't stray too far from the cliche martina cole topics
I first became a big fan of Martina Cole's crime fiction books almost 4 years ago when I whizzed through her novel "Two Women" in less than 24 hours. However, after a while I stopped reading them as I found the genre quite repetitive and the underlying tones symmetrical just with different character names. Nonetheless, about 6 weeks ago or so I decided to buy the new Martina Cole book on amazon (courtesy of dooyoo) and give the new release another try in the hope I would find a book that would capture my interest after disastrous results reading a previous Patricia Cornwell book (see a different review!). I did find this book a lot better although it did take me a while to plough through!
- Storyline -
We meet our Bailey family, headed by 2 brothers Peter and Daniel. Their mum Theresa is white and Peter is the older brother, with a black father and is the calm and collected brother, but when needs be he is a ruthless member of the clan. Daniel is the younger brother, who has a white father but is the hot-headed, immoral and unemotional brother who has a taste for brutal violence in the maximum way possible for the slightest excuse. Together they are a formidable force and despite their differences in appearances they are with each other thick and thin....blood is thicker than water for both of them but can something happen to tear this Bailey family apart?
The start of the book opens with a funeral. Lena, Daniel's wife has been killed in a car bomb but what is the motive? We know for sure she was not the intended recipient of the car explosion and that it was meant for someone else. Peter has 4 children with his wife Ria, Petey Jr, Imelda, Liam and Jack and Daniel has 5 children, Danny Jr, Davey, Noel, Jamsie and Tania. As a collective to the outside world they were all untouchable until this explosion and none of them (Daniel especially) will rest until they find out who dares to challenge the family and bring them down. But is the culprit some wannabe family for their spot at the top or could it be the worst kind of mutiny and it's actually someone from within the firm?
- My Opinion -
I thought this one of Martina Cole's better books and was a much more refreshing change from some of her older novels which are all based in the 80s and give a pretty much one sided narrative of the story where you feel you already know where it's headed. With this book it had much more pace, and I could not predict what was going to happen with each turn of the page. For me this is the ideal kind of book as it made me want to continue reading and find out what would be happening next!
It is written in the third person which I thought was good as it meant throughout the story it could flit between characters and I got a more balanced perspective of each character's point of view whether or not they were doing good or bad. The writing style meant that I could connect with each of the character's a lot more and I cared about what they were going through. It was so good as one minute you are completely on Daniel's side and one minute you are on Peter's. Even when each of them complete some of the most heinous crimes, you can't help feel a bit of empathy as they go by the moral code of - kill or be killed.
In terms of the storyline I found it was easy to keep up and go through the story as it felt like I was reading a life story of the characters. The book is broken into 3 books within, the first starting in 1979, and going through their early days and their rise to the top. Book 2 is from 1987 when the kids are more grown up and are a part of the firm and Book 3 begins in 1997 and the brothers are much older and challenged for their position as head of the criminal world for in the UK. The thing I liked most was the chapters are never really more than 4/5 pages long and are often only 2-3 pages. This makes it a lot easier for me to read, as the main time I get to read is to and from work on the tube and so short and snappy chapters ensure I can read it here and there and the subject doesn't linger for too long. Long chapters (for me anyway) tend to drag on and I kind of just want the story to get to the point! I also felt the story was really fluent and didn't seem to rush through hurriedly and the end of the book brought everything to a neat resolve quite effectively without making it seem to rushed and careless in bringing the story to an end.
- Overall -
Fortunately, I rather enjoyed this book and spent about 2 hours travelling to and from Amsterdam recently completely engrossed in this book and ignoring those I was travelling with! I think the writing style is descriptive, and engaging and for those who are fans of Martina Cole would definitely enjoy giving this a read. I'll knock of 1 star only because it doesn't drift too far from the cliche Martina Cole book topic - that is gang crime in East End london infused with violence, mild incest and rivalry. It took me a while to read it, but only because having a 3 year old doesn't permit me much free reading time to be honest! It's rather long as I got the hardback copy for £10.49 and is 500 pages long with 153 chapters.
Summary: a good martina cole read, for those who are a fan