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.
'At times I thought he was me'film
Review: One Direction, Fourmusic
Review: The World of Ice and Firebooks
Film More romcom than S&M
Review: The Imitation Gamefilm
Comedy...to show her mastectomy scars
TVNetflix gets cryptic
TV review A moving film showing kids too busy to enjoy their youth
Books Not even a Man Booker prize could save Richard Flanagan from a nomination
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'Not suppost to cry': 9-year-old lists the worst things about being a boy
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Lee Evans announces his retirement from comedy on The Jonathan Ross Show
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars
Iggy Azalea responds to Eminem rape lyrics: 'I'm bored of old men threatening young women'
Angelina Jolie confirms retirement from acting: 'I've never been comfortable on-screen'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking leaked footage from Lana Del Rey rape video
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
France 'blocks' Russian sailors from boarding a warship
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services
Myleene Klass: Ed Miliband 'strikes back' by comparing UK's need for Labour's mansion tax to Hear'Say track