Book review: Get Even by Martina Cole

Get Even byMartina Cole
Get Even byMartina Cole

Revenge is a dish served cold – but very, very sweet – in the new hard-hitting novel from Martina Cole, long-reigning queen of the criminal underworld.

No-one does gangsters like the inimitable Cole and she hits top form in her new thriller which takes us on another jaw-dropping journey into the unforgiving heart of London’s ruthless crime world.

For over 20 years, Cole has been blowing us away with her unflinching and powerful portraits of violent East End criminals… and the lady has no plans for turning.

The latest brutal blockbuster features a woman whose marriage to one of gangland’s budding ‘bad boys’ brings her money and possessions beyond her wildest dreams but also death, despair and, ultimately, a burning desire for revenge.

Sharon Conway started dating Lenny Scott when she was 13 and, already pregnant, she was married to him at 17.

Everyone said they were too young and her parents were far from happy but the childhood sweethearts swore nothing could keep them apart and quickly settled into married life. And the birth of two sons seemed to seal their relationship.

But home is one thing, business is another for Lenny, ‘apprentice’ to ruthless loan shark Jack Johnson who recognises that the handsome young man has that rare mix of brawn and brains.

After an unsettling incident on the night before their wedding, Sharon knows her husband’s ‘work’ involves some kind of skulduggery but she also understands that the less she knows about his business, the better.

And it isn’t long before his reputation as a hard man destined for the top means they are living the good life with their sons. But one night Lenny, who has a secret that is dangerous in the underworld he inhabits, doesn’t come home. It isn’t the first time he has gone AWOL but it’s his last.

He is found murdered, beaten to death in an act of brutality that shocks even the police, and Sharon never knows why.

Twenty years later, old wounds surface when Sharon finally learns the truth. Such a crime cannot go unpunished. And as her mum used to say, women never got mad if they were clever, ‘they went one better and they got even.’

Brimming with menace, emotion, graphic scenes of violence and a stunning and unexpected plot twist, this is a gripping, gritty and disturbing story, told as only Martina Cole can.

And with her trademark penetrating insight, Cole laces all the action and drama with some astute psychology and plenty of compelling home truths.

A tough-nut tale from an uncompromising writer…

(Headline, paperback, £7.99)