Cain Moran wanted Jenny Riley more than he had ever wanted anyone or anything before in his life. But loving Jenny Riley was the easy part; it was telling his wife he wanted a divorce that was going to be the killer...
Jenny is not just any girl. She cares nothing for Cain's hard-man reputation - she just wants to be with him.
But Cain is not a free man. And he's about to find out that when his wife Caroline said 'til death us do part, she meant it.
When Cain is sentenced to life in prison it seems that Caroline might have got her wish. All Cain and Jenny know is that if their love can survive such separation, then one day they will have a chance at the Good Life together again.
But there are greater trials ahead than either can foresee. They're about to learn the hardest lesson of all:
Martina Cole, a legend in her own right. However, the question of whether she still 2has what it takes" is something that's bandied around a lot recently. As much as I am loathed to admit it, I can see why the negative comments come around. The problem with us readers is that we are a finikity bunch, who expects authors to continually churn out a 5 star read every year without fail. When you actually stop to think about it Martina Cole has been writing since 1992 which is an astonishing 20 years. Martina's last two releases were middle of the road for me. If you compare her current books to her earlier work such as books like The Jump, her newer material is nowhere near as good.
I think that as such a talented author, she is going to once again create an absolute corker of a book and somehow I always end up being a little disappointed. Whether that's because I feel like the bar is set a bit higher for her, or just because the competition is just too good now, I really don't know. This latest release The Life certainly has a good synopsis that's for sure. The Bailey brothers are gangsters determined to make their mark on the world (sounding familiar), yet the two brothers are complete opposites. When their sons join the business, it seems like nothing can stop them. When Lena Bailey gives birth to a girl, she is determined to shield her from The Life. When a tragedy occurs, it changes everybody and their life as they know it.
I started reading this book with high hopes (as usual) and to be honest one thing you cannot fault is Martina's writing style. The lady has some clear cut talent and it's an unmistakable style that draws you in to the characters and their lives. This book was easy reading for me and pretty soon I felt drawn into the Bailey world and was reading chapter after chapter. On the down side, at around the halfway mark it just seemed like too much hard work. The story was okay, but sadly it was just the same old, same old. I knew where Martina was taking the story and characters and felt like this fell into the same category of been there and read it!
The book took me three days to read and to be brutally honest it was probably at least 100 pages too long. I feel a little sad to say but I wonder whether Martina should carry on with this type of book. The competition out there, especially with newer writers emerging all the time, is making Martina's work look poor in comparison. I think at this stage what I would love to see is something completely different from Martina Cole. She truly is an author with a gift for writing, but she just needs to get out of the `tried and tested' formula she keeps using. Maybe steer away from the East End Gangster type of book and try a new direction. I truly believe that with her huge following and legions of fans, that they would welcome something fresh and new from one of the ultimate British female crime writers.
For the last three books that Martina Cole has written, I finish it and then promise myself I won't waste money buying it full price. I feel terrible saying that but it's the truth. I have always been a huge Martina Cole fan and loved the older books such as `Ladykillers'. Sadly it seems that many authors who have huge success seem to go rapidly downhill. I fear that Martina Cole is now firmly on that list. So after finishing her last book entitled The Family I swore that was it. Yet here I am a year later having broken that promise and paying full price for it. For some reason, due to Martina's sheer talent, I always feel that maybe this is the year she will come back with a bang. 3 years on and I am still not feeling the slightest rumble, let alone bang.
Overall this book was far from terrible, but it is still lacking something which I can't quite put my finger on. The story itself sounded fabulous from the synopsis and I was looking forward to reading this. As I started reading I had high hopes as you are drawn into the world of the loathsome Cynthia Tailor. Martina certainly still has the knack of producing some vile characters and Cynthia is one of them. Cynthia is a character that is constantly wanting more and its pretty clear from the outset that this woman will stop at nothing to get her own way.
I was very excited reading the first few chapters as the story took no time at all to pick up momentum. I was swept along with Cynthia's sister Celeste who has bagged the ultimate prize in her partner Johnny. A local face and a man set for better things. Cynthia's children Gabby and James Junior play a very large part in the beginning of the story as do her parents Mary and Jack.
It becomes clear before long that the story is set over quite a long time period and as w hole the story itself was great, as were the characters. Halfway through and I was still loving the writing but felt that the major difference between this and her older book sis the sheer volume of narrative. I am certainly no book expert, I just know what I like. I don't recall Martina Cole's earlier books ever being this descriptive. If you were to weigh up the descriptive narrative and the characters actually speaking I think people would be shocked. It felt like there was an awful lot of repetition and I really didn't need to be told hundreds of times how much Cynthia wanted everything!!!
I genuinely feel so torn about this book. I actually liked the story and the characters and her writing is still as strong as ever. However, I really disliked the amount of description everything had, and I had that sinking feeling that I was just reading a re-hashed story I had read a million times before. I am still really unsure whether Martina Cole has changed her writing, or whether the competition out there has just got better. These days with the likes of new writers such as Kimberley Chambers and Dreda Say-Mitchell coming along, maybe people expect more. I know it sounds a little sad, but I can't help wishing that Martina would make a monumental comeback with a book that blows everybody away.
Overall I can't say that I disliked this book, but it just isn't as good as some others. No doubt I will still (stupidly) continue paying full price for Martina's new books praying that it's the best ever! I imagine that this book will get really mixed reviews and would suggest seeing her better work you should try her earlier stuff.
Martina Cole used to be one of my favourite authors until recently. Hard Girls was an awful read and The Business was even worse. I was convinced that Martina Cole had lost her skill however I am pleased to see that maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't get me wrong, this book was not in the league of the books from her early days such as Ladykillers, but it was a massive improvement on her last two books.
Early on we are introduced to the Murphy family and we meet Phillip the head honcho. He emanates the self importance of being the leader of such an influential crime family. We meet Phillip and his family along with Christine very early on and learn how the family all came to be in a position of such importance.
I liked the fact that the book is set over many years with the early introduction of how Christine and Phillip met and the sort of woman Christine was. We see their love affair turn to marriage, children and lastly the solid family Phillip wants and expects. Phillip is the eldest of the children in the family and although the main story leads with him we get to see the effect he has on his brother Declan and sister Breda. They are both part of the family business and as such get caught up in all the drama.
The story itself was a vast improvement and it was a pretty fast paced read. There is lots of action and business very early on and the tension runs high in the book which I loved. Martina Cole has also slightly changed her chapter style for this book with many shorter chapters as each persons role and situation changes. I wouldn't necessarily say this was a bad thing and I think it helped highlight certain key situations.
I liked the characters she created and loathed Phillip Murphy from the outset. Although I must admit that Christine just wasn't a strong enough character in my book. She is the woman that is put into a situation where she no longer recognises the man she has married. This was a major opportunity in my opinion to develop her as a woman and to fight back. However, this doesn't really seem to happen and she just drowns her world in drink and prescription pills.
The story itself is a typical crime and underworld family involved in business that can and does go wrong so from that point of view it was okay. Due to the storyline and Phillip Murphy the book was a surprisingly easy read. The thing that still bothers me is that this still seems to fall so short off the mark of what she used to produce. Whether that is because there is so much competition or whether MC has lost her touch, I don't know. All I do know is that this was much better than the last two and I can only hope that her next one is even better and maybe we will see the Martina Cole of old.
Martina Cole has been writing since 1992 and has produced some fantastic crime novels. Some of her work has been turned into TV Dramas and her most recent book turned TV Programme was The Take which attracted over 600,000 viewers in the first episode. Martina Cole Books have always been popular and many of them have reached number 1 in the Bestseller lists. I have read each and every book she has ever written and have been a fan for many years. However, in recent years I felt like she was losing that something special that she had in the first few books she produced. I was, like other fans, waiting with baited breath for her latest book that brings back characters that appeared in `Ladykiller' and `Broken'.
DCI Kate Burrows is living with Patrick Kelly. Patrick is a former criminal that has changed his life after settling with Kate and going on the `straight' to a certain degree. Kate is no longer working as a DCI full time but is still a consultant and is drafted in when a new case arises. When working girls are found murdered and brutally tortured, Kate realises that this is a little too close to home where Patrick is concerned. He may be on the straight and narrow but when working girls start turning up dead in houses that he rents out the case becomes incredibly personal. Subsequently Kate and Patrick separate after Kate has doubts about Pat's involvement. The more time that passes, and the more girls that turn up. Each girl seems to be in a worse state than the last. DCI Annie Carr is the lead on the new case and Kate joins her in the bid to find the killer before they murder more of the working girls.
I am so undecided about this book. This took me a whole week to read, whereas normally I would read a Martina Cole book over a couple of days. I found myself constantly putting it down and reading something else (never a good sign). The characters seem to have changed completely since the last time we met them. Admittedly Kate and Patrick are both much older now but Kate Burrows ended up being a character I really didn't like that much. The story itself was okay, that's it just okay. There were no great drama's or surprises in store and the killer is pretty obvious quite early on in the book. I also found that the storyline was much like Martina's last book in that there is so much repetitiveness it makes me bored of reading it again...and again.....and again! The crime scenes seemed to be almost skipped over and there didn't seem to de any depth to any storyline, whether it is a violent one or a murder that had happened.
Overall it wasn't bad but I just found that it wasn't a gripping enough read, the characters nowhere near as good as they used to be and her style of writing has changed. I was really hoping that her new book would be back to her `old style' types where you literally couldn't put the book down. Unfortunately it wasn't and I find myself wondering whether Martina Cole has lost her touch. I am disappointed that somebody that in her heyday produced books that I couldn't wait to read, has now produced something that makes me think I won't bother with the new releases she brings out in the future. I will save my pennies for authors that I really love, and will probably wait until her new books are on special offer somewhere.