| The last time I was unwell was a while back. In
fact I can remember it distinctly for one reason. I was sent ANGELS
FLIGHT by Michael Connelly to review, and that book gripped me so
entirely that I had to read it all in one day. Since then I've had
to buy all his other books. An expensive illness. When I got a copy
of CANDLELAND, I was in the same position again, and it just goes to
show that a lack of health can be expensive because now I'll have to
go out and buy all the other Martyn Waites books.
This isn't a book for the squeamish. Waites writes with a
cold, precise eye for detail, never glamorising violence, but
instead leaving enough to the imagination for the reader to feel
distinctly unsettled. Whereas Rankin writes about the seamy
underbelly of Edinburgh, Waites is probably the best author of
London. He is a northerner himself, although he lives in the south
east now, and he can look at the city with a dispassionate
excitement. One gets the feeling that there is a lot of himself in
the anger-fuelled protagonist, Larkin.
The story begins with Moir. A policeman, and an old friend
of Larkin's, Moir is devastated by the loss of his daughter. He and
his wife separated years ago and Moir's ex wouldn't let him have
access to his two daughters. His daughter grew up thinking he didn't
love her, so she ran away several times. When she was 16 she left
home for good. After that her life became one more statistic: drugs,
prostitution, the slow downward spiral until she finished up with a
heroin habit and AIDS.
Moir wants to go and see if he can find her. Larkin knows he wants
Larkin is an investigative reporter. His career is on the up now
after years of alcohol abuse, caused by the murder of his wife and
son. He knows how bad life can get, what it's like to lose a child.
For those reasons, but for others too, he decides to go with Moir
and see if he can help.
But Moir's daughter has been involved in worse than whoring and
drugs. She knows the secret of one of London's most dangerous
criminals. A man who knows the value of money, but doesn't give a
damn about lives. Those who dislike casual violence need to look for
another writer. This book is rather full of battered and bruised
bodies, let alone road traffic accidents (that's no way to treat a
Jag, Martyn), firearms, and cruelty to animals (OK, so it was a pit
bull terrier, but even so . . .).
I am in the middle of a story myself right now, working very close
to a deadline, and the best comment I can make about this book is, I
picked it up at 7.00 pm and couldn't put it down until 1.30 this
morning. It's cost me a whole evening's work on my own book. An
excellent, gripping read that gives you a feel for London as it
But not for the squeamish!
Read Mike jeck's review of MARY'S
PRAYER also by Martyn Waites