Mitchell Hodder & Stoughton, £19.99 Order for £17.99 (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030

Gangster Girl, By Dreda Say

Bitch brief Daisy Sullivan defends mobsters so successfully she is known as "Got-off Daisy". She's the pill-poppin' daughter of a gangster father in this multi-racial thriller set in London's East End, from which she is desperate to escape through her career in law. Daisy is about to make it to respectability, through her posh-bloke totty Jerome, when a beloved old colleague dies and she has to investigate his study. When she gets to a secret deposit box, out flies a whirlwind of trouble that seems to centre on her own past.

Is she really the daughter of Madam Stella, a woman so businesslike that her brothel boasts an ATM? Also, Stella's sadistic brother sports a tattoo of a grand piano on his neck and finds his instrument handy for concealing victims.

The search for Daisy's birth mother drives her further into dangerous territory until her best pal in these exciting chambers, platinum blonde barrister Angel, falls foul of gangland brutality. The construction of the Olympic Village is providing convenient wet concrete foundations for the disposal of bodies, the pressures are driving her to take more of those little helpers, and she starts to have hallucinations of her dead father.

But there is possible support from gorgeous Ricky, who provides much wilder sex than Jerome, and from Basher Babs, highest-ranking woman officer in the Met. Stir in the doyenne of the Shim-Sham-Shimmy Club, the toughest transvestite in London, and Daisy's gang starts to look pretty tough.

Dreda Say Mitchell's wildly improbable soap-opera plot is sustained by a narrative drive that overcomes all disbelief, with a cliff-hanger at the end of every chapter and a vitality of language that leaps from every page. There is a sad depth to Daisy's desire to find her family, and an understanding of what gangs are about – networks of people who will stand by you. Daisy packs a shooter and her heroine is the Doris Day of Calamity Jane, but we know she'll never make it to the pine cabin and the gingham curtains.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
    France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

    Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

    Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
    'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

    Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

    Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
    Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

    Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

    New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

    Rebranding Christmas

    More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
    A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

    A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

    Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
    Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

    Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

    New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
    Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

    Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

    He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...