Friday, 17 May 2013
Book Review. The Dead by Howard Linskey
Howard Linskey's third novel takes us on a white knuckle ride through a very modern criminal underworld, where the forces of darkness tread a wafer thin line on both sides of the law. Newcastle provides the gritty backdrop for this powerful story as David Blake finds his lucrative position as crime lord under threat from a bewildering variety of sources. When his bent accountant is arrested for the most heinous of crimes, Blake must make a supremely difficult choice while facing down vicious Serbian mobsters and an insane Russian oligarch who threaten to end a virtual monopoly of organised crime. Throw into the mix a satisfying dollop of police corruption, a partner with some very difficult questions about her father's death and a ghost from Blake's dim and distant past, and you have a molotov cocktail of a novel that simply refuses to relinquish its grasp. Be assured this is a hard-hitting novel with all the expletives and carnage one would associate with true heavyweights of the criminal fraternity, but the violent acts are often left to the imagination, rather than gratuitously described accounts of sundry blood-letting: the mark of a true craftsman, as the end result packs an ever stronger punch. Given a a reasonably faithful reproduction of its source, there is no good reason why The Dead cannot follow in the great tradition of big screen crime thrillers populated by the likes of The Long Good Friday and Jonathan Glazer's remarkable Sexy Beast. This is a real diamond of a novel, and deserves your most immediate attention.