Book Description :
A continually bullied runt of a youngster, Chas Larkin discovers his chutzpah and decides to take on the London gangs.
In the sleazy and violent East End of 1966 London, he is unwittingly assisted by Scotland Yard and MI5, who use the boy to delay an IRA campaign in the city. Together with the mysterious DCI Casey, an enigma amongst the bomb-damaged slums, they stir the pot of fermenting disquiet.
But can Chas achieve his midsummer night’s dream of total revenge?
Black Rose is a story of matriarchal might, of superstition, of a lucky charm tainted with malevolent juju, and of a young man’s smoldering anger and thirst for retribution.
I received a free e-copy of Black Rose in exchange for an honest review, which I give freely without bias. Many thanks to the author for the copy.
This is my introduction to the writing talents of Pete Adams and I was not disappointed. Initial impression, this is different and in a good way. The build up to the story, with a preface, foreward and then the initial chapter sparked a great deal of interest. I loved the idea of the grotty crumpet, being a good luck charm for the gang members, best explained by this quote from the book: ‘Someone’s ‘arf inched the lucky crumpet and replaced it with a replica…’ she paused to think on ‘… and this one’s got bad juju.’
It’s a tale of the senseless enmity between two equally villainous gangs: the Saints and the Larkins who own two pubs in the east End of London. I loved the word play used to describe the pubs. The pub owned by the Saints is called the Dog and Duck Pub (Dad’s.) The Larkins own the Bottle and Glass pub, “Arries.” The various character names, are entertaining too: Roisin O’Neill, ‘most called her Rosie, or Ginger Nut,’ …
There are speculations, whispers and uncertainties about an up-and-coming rival group: the O’ Neils and Roisin, a young girl who comes to the aid of poor long-suffering Chas.
There’s a rich diversity in the characters, all of which are so blooming great, particularly the female characters and gangster molls which Pete Adams did a wonderful job in portraying. Equally, Chas, the unfortunate lad with the club foot, who is bullied, ridiculed and treated appallingly by everyone including his mum, has an enviable creative character arc to keep you enthralled.
I loved the engaging banter between and amongst various characters notably: Detective Inspector Padraig, (Paddy,) Casey. Detective sergeant Flora Wade, Wendy Richards the child psychiatrist, Wade’s girlfriend Wendy, Nadia and the gangland molls.
At its heart this is a witty tale, full of observations about the deep recesses of human nature. It packs some surprises including: gangland killings, pub bombings, the threat of the IRA, heads exploding and extraordinary revelations as the tale unfolds. And that’s not forgetting the fate of the crumpet (which had me in fits of laughter!)
Highly recommended, one not to be missed!