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Timlin, Mark - 'Guns of Brixton'
Paperback: 536 pages (Apr. 2010) Publisher: Max Crime ISBN: 1844549240

The story starts in the 1980s with a robbery that goes wrong. Someone has informed on the gang to the police. One of the would be robbers is accidentally killed and the other four are arrested but not before one - Jimmy Hunter has killed an ex-villain turned copper - Billy Farrow.

It is now the new millennium and gangland boss John Jenner has a reunion with Billy Farrow's son Mark. Jenner is dying of cancer. His gangland empire is crumbling, with West Indian gangsters muscling in on his patch. Jenner's daughter Martine and his right hand man Chas are his only companions. Mark had to leave England in a hurry some years before, but has sworn to kill Jimmy Hunter who is soon to be released from prison. Jenner had taken Mark in when his mother couldn't cope and is now looking for him to help him in his war against the West Indians. There are further complications because Mark has fallen in love with Jimmy Hunter's estranged daughter Linda and her brother Sean has joined the police.

Switching between present day and the 60s, GUNS OF BRIXTON tells various stories including John Jenner's rise as a gangland boss; his happy marriage to the tempestuous Hazel; Mark's involvement in the gang; Jimmy Hunter's regrets as he completes his 20 year sentence and recalls his broken marriage, his ex-wife's death and having lost touch with his two children. Additionally, it is full of characters - Chas, Dev (the mechanic), Mark's school friends and associates Eddie and Tubbs, Danny Butler (the Mr. Big behind the failed 80s bank raid), Baretta (the West Indian gangster leader), Nick Sharman (bent copper) and Gerry Goldstein (Jeweller and Fence).

When I opened the book I was initially wary and disappointed because this is a reissue of a book titled ANSWERS FROM THE GRAVE published in 2004. I assumed this had not sold well and the publishers were now trying to capitalise on the London gangster movies of Guy Ritchie, starring the likes of Jason Statham and Vinnie Jones. How wrong I was. This is a fast moving, violent, well written story. It keeps your interest throughout as you identify with Mark and Linda and hope that their romance can survive. The author cleverly introduces his Private Investigator character Nick Sharman into the book. The author has written around 30 books including writing as Lee Martin. I'll check out his Sharman novels and may buy the newly released DVDs of the mid 90s tv series starring Clive Owen as Sharman.

Geoff Jones, England
June 2010

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 5/06/2010 21:23