My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Time taken to read - 3 days
Publisher - Harper Collins
Blurb from Goodreads
Adultery, murder and dangerous love collide in Jessie Keane’s gritty debut thriller set in the London’s East End. Perfect for fans of Martina Cole and Lynda La Plante.
For longer than she cares to remember Annie Bailey has lived in the shadow of her older sister Ruthie. Now Ruthie has her hands on Max Carter, the much feared head of the Carter family and a top class villain.
Seducing Max wasn't a problem, but the guilt, shame and anger of rejection afterwards was.
Thrown onto the streets Annie finds herself living with Celia, a wayward aunt with a shocking secret. As the months pass Annie's resourceful nature sees her mature and carve out a life for herself, albeit not legal. But if you play with fire, you can expect to get burned and her lavish new lifestyle and connections may be about to come crashing down around her.
Annie has unwittingly placed herself between two rival gangs and upset too many people, and these kind of people don't forget. But as everyone knows, Annie Bailey is no ordinary woman.
This book starts straight from the first few pages, hell even from the first sentence "Annie Bailey knew she was dying." The book opens with Annie Bailey, our main character who has been shot and is recapping her life as it flashes before her eyes. We go back to before her sisters wedding and Annie seduces the bridegroom, spurned she can't help but keep her mouth shut. She finds herself thrown out of the family home and caught up in a new life style, surrounded by her sisters husbands rivals. Soon she becomes trapped between the Carters & the Delaney's and when rivals both want something people always get hurt!
Oooh this is a great read, crime, gritty, murder, sex, betrayal & lies. If you like Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller, Kimberley Chambers etc you will like this. The only thing that I would say is there are a few terms that may offend some people. For example the characters are rough around the edges and derogatory towards one of the gay characters, terms like shirt lifter etc.
There are a few elements to this story, of course the big one is Annie going through the transformation of girl into woman. Learning to stand on her own two feet and learn the ropes of a "knocking shop" and initiating her own ideas for it. The issue of Max Carter, the man she loves who is now married to her sister and furious with her for her indiscretion. As she is shunned from her family and Max she moves further into Delaney territory and soon finding herself in deep water!
I really liked the pace of this book, like I said it pulls you in from the start. I felt a mix of emotions towards Annie but by the end I actually started to like her. 4/5 for me and I will be reading this author again.