Mitchell Hodder & Stoughton, £19.99 Order for £17.99 (free p&p) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Gangster Girl, By Dreda Say
Thursday 25 March 2010
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.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks busy Dublin road
- 5 'Cool kids' can go on to become losers in later life, study finds
Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
Cilla Black: Her 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara handle excruciatingly awkward and offensive interview questions like pros
Game of Thrones season 6: 'A Song of Ice and Fire should be finished by 1998,' said George R. R. Martin, 'but don't hold your breath'
Sherlock season 4: Benedict Cumberbatch will be 'a lot less brattish' in Victorian special
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality