Initially, L. J. Hurst worked in the backrooms of the media industry. He now divides his time between work for an international scientific publisher and a rather more British independent bookseller. In years past he was a regular attendee at the Shots on the Page Festivals from whence Shots Mag sprung
It always helps to have a bent copper in your pocket, but one bent copper is never enough as David Blake finds as he tries to run his north-eastern empire of crime while anonymous enemies are out to kill him and cut in on his turf. Blake has already made himself number one in Newcastle and then relocated to a distant headquarters in Thailand for his health’s sake, but as other super-villains have found recently you need to jet in sometimes to take control personally.
Blake has a brother and a couple of trusted right-hand men. They may not be enough: he also has lost his main heroin supplier and needs to find another source, while the feral underclass who deal and use his scag are so fearsome that he dare not enter the Sunnydale estate, where Braddock lords it from a penthouse constructed from the top floor of a tower block. One day Braddock wants to leave the estate and he does not plan to do it in a hearse.
If you want to know a bit more about Blake – he has a live-in girlfriend who was the daughter of his former boss. Blake stepped into a dead man’s shoes, but Sarah does not know that it was Blake killed her old man. Learning that would surprise her, but Blake’s survival depends on his being one jump ahead and on seeing the other side. Who could be on the other side – could it be those right-hand men, those business rivals who offer him a partnership in taking over Edinburgh, the Turkish drug pushers? Or could it be the sweet girl in the Gosforth brothel?
For one sitting I suspended my disbelief (because Blake is a nasty piece of work) becoming immersed in the tightening skein of his struggles and his victories, and in that one sitting I finished the book. The Damage is gripping.