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Tuesday 28 September 2021

‘The Dead’ by Howard Linskey

Published by No Exit Press,
May 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-84243-962-3

This is the first crime novel by Howard Linskey that I have read but I am now keen to read his two previous novels, listed at the end of this review.

This story is set in Newcastle, a city which the author appears to know well. It is a hard-hitting novel with strong believable characters and plenty of action throughout. When a young girl’s murdered body is found on a river bank and DI Robert Carlton is called in to handle the case, we have a strong but familiar beginning to a crime novel - although even this beginning has an unexpected twist. But soon the detectives are put in the shade, compared to another strong character David Blake who steals the reader’s attention. In Newcastle, he is Mr. Big, a cold and ruthless criminal who runs a crime empire involving all manner of crimes, including the murder of the criminal boss whom he succeeded.

 When Blake’s bent accountant is arrested for the murder of the young girl and is facing a life sentence, Blake has a problem. The money man puts five million pounds of Blake’s money where Blake can’t reach it -unless Blake is prepared to use his considerable powers to either get the bent accountant off the murder rap or else lose the money he needs to run his criminal empire. An original start to a crime novel, in my view.

The reader gets to know Blake rather better than the police officers as well as his background and fellow criminals. The story goes at a good pace and has lots of interesting and unexpected twists. It is well-written - apart from an excess of bad language and obscenities which some readers might find annoying and tedious ( as I did) but this should not detract from a very gripping and exciting tale. How Blake gets out of his dilemma is well thought out and convincing. To complicate matters further, Blake discovers he is up against Serbian gangsters, as ruthless as himself, who are gradually taking over his territory, as well as a mad Russian criminal who wants to use Blake’s drug supply line for his own ends. The pace increases, the strong storyline never sags and it is difficult to put the book down. The ending is a convincing one and totally unexpected. I can strongly recommend this as a convincing and engrossing thriller for those readers who enjoy them. I certainly did.
Reviewer: Edna Jones
 (aka Clare Dawson)

Other titles by this author:  The Drop.  The Damage

Howard Linskey  has worked as a barman, journalist, catering manager and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales and account management jobs. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites on a number of subjects. The Drop was Howard’s debut novel, published by No Exit in 2011.Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

Edna Jones  has been writing novels, articles, book reviews and short stories for some years. Using the pseudonym Clare Dawson for crime novels and short stories, a few other pseudonyms had been used for romantic fiction etc. Born in the West Midlands she has had a variety of jobs, is now retired and lives in Cambridgeshire. She has had two crime novels published (one as an e-book) and several short stories in various anthologies and magazines here and abroad. Single. As well as reading, enjoys outdoor life, travel, and crosswords.  

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