Book review: Betrayal by Martina Cole

Twenty-three novels in and this lady is not for turning'¦ soft!

Wednesday, 19th October 2016, 6:08 pm
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 4:39 pm
Betrayal byMartina Cole
Betrayal byMartina Cole

Martina Cole, the undisputed queen of the gangland thriller, delivers one of her most powerful and disturbing dramas yet in a story oozing menace, malice and murder, and featuring some of the meanest, murkiest crimes imaginable.

Cole, who first made headlines in 1992 with her debut novel Dangerous Lady, became an instant bestselling author and almost twenty-five years later, her hard-hitting books have sold in excess of 15 million copies and passed the £50million sales mark.

And Betrayal, an audaciously dark saga following the rise and rise of a cold, brutal but fascinating East End gangster, packs the now breathtaking gritty realism and veracity that has made this author so perennially popular.

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Aiden O’Hara has been head of the family since he was just a kid… but then he had to be. His mother Reeva and her brood of five children, all with different fathers, are the talk of the neighbourhood. But she keeps her four strapping sons clean and well turned out, and her daughter Agnes is a little beauty.

Aiden, in turn, adores his mum despite her reckless love of men and booze and he feels it’s his job to look out for her and his siblings. Family is everything to Aiden and as head of the O’Haras, he is going to make it his life’s work to look after them all.

And he has the chance to earn big money when one of the south-east’s biggest drug dealers asks him to do some ‘distribution’ work.

Now Aiden is really going places, and when he meets tough brothel owner Jade Dixon, a woman 15 years older than himself and soon the mother of his adored son, she becomes the one who watches his back, the one who makes him invincible.

But Jade has been in the game a lot longer than Aiden. She knows no one is indestructible and when you’re at the top, that’s when you have got to watch the hardest. Especially the ones who are closest to you…

Betrayal is a compelling read, awash in graphic violence and the darkest of deeds but also brimming with emotional intelligence and the acute observations of family life that have made Martina Cole one of the most respected authors on the bookshelves.

Cole knows the world she writes about and it shows… from Reeva, the inadequate but loving mother, and Jade, a woman damaged almost beyond repair, to Aiden, the indomitable eldest son moulded and hardened by the harshest life lessons, these are terrifyingly plausible players.

Their dramas and their destructive dance of death is one you wouldn’t want to miss…

(Headline, hardback, £19.99)