Synopsis: You make a deal with the devil; you pay your dues…
Franny Doyle has always known that her father Patrick has been up to no good. After all you don’t become one of London’s number one gangsters without ruffling a few feathers along the way. Still, she adores her dad and she knows that he would lay down his life for her – she is his number one girl and he has taught her everything she knows.
But when something terrible happens to Patrick, Franny realises that he has some very dangerous enemies. Delving into Patrick’s past, Franny becomes involved in a high-stakes game. She’s not afraid. Patrick has taught her to be a fighter and she’s determined to make him proud, even if it means paying the ultimate price – her own life.
My Review: I think Jacqui Rose has taken a slight step in a new direction by setting the opener of her latest book in Ireland in the late 1970’s. When I started reading I was taken straight back to that time as we met Patrick Doyle as a young boy. I was initially thrown as the synopsis and prologue were set in present day. However a few chapters in and I wasn’t going anywhere. She has done a stellar job of taking the reader back to that time when religion played a huge part in the community and people’s lives were guided by their priests. I don’t want to delve too much into this element of the story (for fear of spoilers) but this was by far my favourite part of the book. Patrick’s childhood and how he came to meet his friend Cabhan Morton take up at least 35% of the book. This section of the book like I said is set in the late seventies in Ireland and in addition to Patrick and Cab, we also meet Father Ryan and Donal O’Sheyenne both whom play an important part in this book.
Just under halfway in and we are fast forwarded to just over 30 years later. 30 years on we get to know Franny Doyle as an adult. Her relationship with her father Patrick and Uncle Cab is the first thing that the reader identifies. Now at this point in the book I felt a crashing disappointment. I really felt like Jacqui Rose had found a new setting in Ireland in the seventies and I really didn’t want to leave that era. I felt like the jump from past to present was too quick and there was something that just didn’t sit right with me.
That aside we then see Franny Doyle start to make dangerous enemies. As we are now in present time the book falls slightly back into the standard ‘gangster’ genre. Don’t get me wrong there is absolutely nothing wrong with that (I myself am a fan of that type of book). However, the second half of the book although enjoyable, just didn’t compare to the first half. I think Jacqui Rose just proved how skilled a writer she is, because I literally didn’t put the book down. The realism of the characters and what they would have had to endure was just first class. Obviously she has a knack of taking you back without missing a beat.
Overall by the time I had finished I was (as usual) a little upset I had finished so quickly. This latest book of hers was a cracking read, but to be honest I so wish she would have maybe jumped between the late 70’s and maybe the 90’s rather than present day (everyone does present day). To have the skill as a writer to make the reader be able to imagine themselves alongside these characters is something special, and Jacqui Rose has that skill! I will await the next no doubt brilliant book from her, and would highly recommend this to people.