FearlessÂ by Jessie Keane - book review
Twelve books in and there is no sign of Jessie Keane going soft on crime!
The bestselling author – whose fascination with London’s underworld started when she ran away from home to Soho when she was just sixteen – turns her dark eye to her own strong Romany gypsy blood in this spectacular, hard-hitting thriller starring two women fighting for the same man.
Brimming with drama, suspense, dysfunctional families and the kind of gobsmacking violence that has made Keane one of the most powerful writers in contemporary crime fiction, Fearless is full-on, eye-watering entertainment from start to finish.
In the warm spring of 1975, 21-year-old Romany Josh Flynn is the king of the bare-knuckle gypsy fighters. The tall, handsome young man’s fist is a deadly weapon but away from the ring, Josh is the lifelong love of pretty, blonde, blue-eyed, mild-mannered Claire Milo.
The two have been gypsy lovers since childhood, destined to be together from the day they met. For 17-year-old Claire, Josh is ‘a prize to be coveted’ and Claire is the only girl that Josh has ever loved and truly respected.
Claire hates Josh’s bare-knuckle fighting and, although she knows it’s in his blood, she fears for him every time he steps into the ring and would dearly love him to find a different way of earning a living. For better or worse, she still loves him though.
But Claire has a rival… Shauna Everett, a ‘pure gypsy’ with her olive skin, ‘flashing conker eyes’ and ‘a seductive smile that she never wasted on women,’ is prepared to do anything to make him hers.
Shauna always did want what she couldn’t have and nobody, especially Claire Milo, is going to stand in her way. Shaunaknows just how to get him and if it means playing dirty, then so be it. In a world ruled by violence, crime and back street brawls, only one woman can win Josh. But how fearless will she have to be… and just how far is she prepared to go?
Keane’s Romany-inspired page-turner is packed with her trademark cast of larger-than-life characters – each superbly fleshed out and each inhabiting a world so palpably real that we can feel the menace, see the darkness lurking in the shadows, and sense the fear, the loathing and the sheer brutality that is only ever a heartbeat away.
Born in her grandmother’s gypsy caravan, Keane knows all about the Romany way of life… the urge to fight that is in their blood and the challenge to be the strongest, the bravest and the best that is such an intrinsic part of their culture.
Fearless harnesses the tales she grew up with – the bare-knuckle fights, the blood flying and the roar of the crowds – for this gripping and disturbing tale of love, obsession, passion, jealousy and murder.
Gritty, shocking and all-consuming, this is Keane at her darkest – and most satisfying – best!
(Pan, paperback, £7.99)