Jones, Bruce Kennedy and Allison, Eric - 'Fat Blackmail'
It is a year after the events recounted in the previous book THE LAST STRAIGHT FACE and our nameless hero is at Highgate cemetery to say goodbye to his friend Monty, who was a South London armed robber. After the burial has taken place, Noriko, the widow of the dead friend, gives our hero a letter her husband had written in anticipation of his death. In it, he asks a last request; there's some money owed from a last job and the deceased knows that the recipient will do the request even though it will entail him contacting someone who is locked up in Strangeways prison. The cash owed should keep Noriko for life. But then she is kidnapped and things start to get much worse. On top of this our hero has agreed to help to "fix" a jury that is to try a son of a friend.
This story started, I thought very slowly and I had some difficulty keeping my concentration initially, but after 50 or so pages it built up quite a momentum and I was hooked and couldn't put it down. The language the two authors use can be a bit trying as they often use cockney rhyming slang for villainy authenticity and for example our hero will say in the story that he is putting on his "turtles", which I had to double think before realising he meant gloves (turtle dove equals glove!). There are quite a few instances of this sort of code to think about which can be quite humorous or simply irritating, depending on your point of view. Another minor quibble is that the action takes place in both the South East and North of the country and our hero travels between the two locations much faster than I would have thought possible. These are small niggles however and I look forward to reading any future books by this author partnership.
Terry Halligan, England