Crime novels are a massive genre and I have read lots by a plethora of different authors. One of the biggest female names in this genre has to be Martina Cole, who has written over 20 novels mostly featuring gangsters in London’s violent and dangerous underworld. Despite her raft of novels, sadly I had never read any of her work previously until I picked up The Good Life, and it is an excellent read, an extremely gripping and exciting crime novel.
Cain Moran is a married man with a young son, living “the good life”. But he is not a law-abiding good man, he is a gangster with a hard-man reputation at the top of his game, living on the proceeds of his criminal activities. When he wants something, he gets it. When he meets the 16-year-old Jenny Riley there isn’t a thing or person that he has ever wanted more, and she wants him too. This time, to get what he wants he is going to have to ask his wife for a divorce and that isn’t going to be easy, it is the start of years of trouble – on his wedding day his wife, Caroline, vowed “till death us do part”, and she takes her wedding vows very seriously, very seriously indeeed.
His “living the good life” is about to come to an end, for a very long time. His life of crime comes to an abrupt end when he is sentenced to life in prison at Her Majesty’s pleasure. Cain now has to hope that Jenny will wait 25 long years for him so that when he is released, they can live the good life again, together.
Life is never easy, even in prison there are problems to overcome. A small-time gangster is moved into the same prison as Cain. He is looking to get revenge for the death of his father and things are about to get very real for Cain. It is the start of an extremely violent game, one that Cain needs to win to get back on top and get back what is his.
Will the teenage Jenny give up a big chunk of her life and wait for him? Can he put his hard-man antics to one side? And will he be able to deal with his revenge seeking ex-wife?
Overall, Martina Cole’s The Good Life is an excellent gangster novel, combined with a love story. It is very well written with themes of crime, revenge and retribution, family and loyalty that is packed with bad language, sex, drugs, violence and murder. A very powerful story about family and crime. It is clear to see why she is labelled the queen of crime drama.
It is an exhilarating read with some excellent well fleshed-out characters, that despite their violent activities you will love to hate, they jump off the page in full-on mode. It is an absorbing story that keeps you turning the page, a real unputdownable novel. An edgy and gritty story that travels along at a very fast pace.
This is the first book I have read by Martina Cole and it certainly won’t be my last.
RRP: £19.99 (Hardback) / £8.99 (Paperback) / £5.99 (Kindle)