*I received a free copy of this book with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: A continually bullied runt of a youngster, Chas Larkin discovers his chutzpah and decides to take on the London gangs.
In the sleazy and violent East End of 1966 London, he is unwittingly assisted by Scotland Yard and MI5, who use the boy to delay an IRA campaign in the city. Together with the mysterious DCI Casey, an enigma amongst the bomb-damaged slums, they stir the pot of fermenting disquiet.
But can Chas achieve his midsummer night’s dream of total revenge?
Black Rose is a story of matriarchal might, of superstition, of a lucky charm tainted with malevolent juju, and of a young man’s smoldering anger and thirst for retribution.
I’ve read some of Pete Adams books before, specifically the Kind Hearts and Martinets series, and so am familiar with his genius at pick ‘n’ mixing elements from different genres to very powerful affect. Those who haven’t read anything from this author before, prise your mind wide open and prepare for it to be blown!
Black Rose takes a simple story of rival gangs and the police officers attempting to beat-or-join them, mixes in a dash of terrorism and espionage, then whirls it around with large amounts of madcap comedy, chaotic violence and running gags, and the reader just has to cling on as best they can and try to keep up with it all.
There are more memorable characters here: poor, abused Chas Larkin; feisty redheaded Roisin O’Neill; Nadia, Paddy, Wade and Wendy; the Larkin and Saint matriarchs and their muscle-male relatives… all individual and unforgettable. Paddy and Nadia reminded me very faintly of Adam’s beloved previous heroes, Jack and Mandy, at times, especially in the bantering affection beginning to bud between them. But these are new characters and this is a different story. One that brings in ‘the Irish Question’ and explores whether violence can ever bring peace – serious issues, only partly masked by the light-hearted tone.
I actually felt quite proud of myself for keeping up with the plot and characters here, and being able to spot the darker goings on beneath the crumpet and cor blimey cover story.
Read Pete Adams if you’re looking for an action-packed political thriller like none you’ve ever read before. Oh, and the O’Neills say hello! 😉
The family factions, long established in the East End of London, were the Saints and the Larkins. The Saints, the larger, more established, villainous family, held in check, one could say, by the precocious, lunatic may be more appropriate, Larkin family, who knew no fear when all around knew they should. And so, the lines of friction between the two families became white hot and sparked whenever the crumpet went missing.– Pete Adams, Black Rose
Black Rose is out on Amazon right now!
Check the following links to find my thoughts on Pete Adams’ Kind Hearts and Martinets series: Book 1, Cause and Effect; Book 2, Irony in the Soul, Book 3, A Barrow Boy’s Cadenza, Book 4, Ghost and Ragman Roll and Book 5, Merde and Mandarins and for my author interview about this very book, Black Rose!