As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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by Accent Press, 26 November 2016. ISBN:
Sisterhoods is a gritty contemporary novel set in
rough council estate in Peckham, London. Aptly called The Aviary, the estate is
a cage where no once stands a chance of escaping and there is a very distinct
pecking order. Nothing gets past the gangs that rule there.
Four teenage girls: Tink, Lox, Alysha and Panther are the leaders
of a mostly girl gang called The Alleycats. They have had tough lives but are
trying to make social changes on the estate so that they, and the younger kids,
have a future other than drugs, crime and prostitution. When the book opens the
community centre, which they had worked so hard to get council funding for has
been burned down by one of the gangs. This vital hub for young and old alike
has left the kids directionless once more and heading for trouble. The
Alleycats are desperate to get things back on track and take risks that could
get them killed.
Alleycat leaders are police informants and this has had a real impact on
getting crime down but rival gangs, the RIP and the EIBs, are constantly
watching for an opportunity to take over the patch and sell their drugs. The book
opens with Tink fearing for her life as she is kidnapped, beaten, raped and
gang leader is fatally stabbed and a resident of The Aviary, Larry Hardy, is
arrested for his murder. When Larry is found hanged in his cell the police
believe it is suicide. The Alleycats don't. They know it is retaliation. Things
begin to escalate and soon the police are looking at all-out war between the
DI Georgia Johnson and her sidekick Sergeant Stephanie Green
empathise with the girls and understand what they are trying to achieve but are
in an awkward position trying to uphold the law and bend it in favour of the
Alleycats. The police need The Alleycats' help finding out information. However
the Alleycats have secrets that need to stay hidden and the fear of being
exposed as informants is a constant threat.
speech patterns in the dialogue really brought the story alive. The language of
these streetwise girls comes across as very believable and draws the reader in
to their grim world. Although The Alleycats have had horrific lives that have
led them all into prostitution just to survive, they are moving forward. And
despite the level of cruelty inflicted by the gangs within the book, there is a
feeling of hope that things can get better if a few key people keep trying and
work together, whatever the odds.
Reviewer Christine Hammacott
Linda Reganis the author of
six police procedural crime novels. She is also an actress. She holds a Masters
degree in critical writing and journalism, and writes a regular column,
including book reviews, for three magazines. She also presents the book-club
spot on BBC Radio Kent. She is an avid reader, and welcomes the
chance to read new writers.
Christine Hammacott lives
near Southampton and runs her own design consultancy. She started her career
working in publishing as a book designer and now creates covers for
indie-authors. She writes page-turning fiction that deals with the
psychological effects of crime. Her debut novel The Taste of Ash was published in 2015.