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Monday 19 October 2015

‘Guts for Garters’ by Linda Regan

Published by Accent Press,
24 September 2015.
ISBN: 9781783752683.

Alysha and her mates have survived years of abuse. Now they’re running the Aviary Estate, one of London’s worst, and they have plans for making it better for everyone... until the member of a rival gang is killed. DI Georgia Johnson trusts Alysha, but she needs to find the killer before it sparks off a gang war.

This tightly-plotted novel opens with Alysha and her lieutenants torturing a member of a rival gang who’s terrorised an old couple living on the Aviary Estate, so straight away we learn about both their protective motivation and their ruthlessness. Alysha is an interesting and plausible character, and her determination that other children won’t be abused as she was, and her plans for using her friends’ skills to give them careers, makes her sympathetic in spite of her violent actions. DI Georgia Johnson and her sidekick Stephanie both have quirks that make them seem real – Johnson has OCD, and Stephanie has slept with most of the station (useful for getting results or inside information quickly), with the exception of their boss, DCI Paul Banham, who’s more interested in recently-returned DI Alison Granger. The action moves along quickly, helped on by the realistic dialogue, particularly the slang of the younger characters, and the picture of life on a bad London estate is depressingly convincing. There’s a terrific suspense finish with a laugh after it, and a satisfyingly surprising perp.

An enjoyable, fast-moving PP / gang novel, whose younger characters, pacey writing and adult themes would also make it appeal to a mid-teen audience.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Linda Regan is 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

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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