Widows’ Revenge by Lynda La Plante: a gripping page-turner, an action-packed, fast-paced story brimming with La Plante’s sparkling dialogue - book review -

Widows Revenge
Widows Revenge
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Lynda La Plante is following up the big screen adaptation of her groundbreaking crime escapade Widows with a thrilling new chapter for the feisty gangsters’ molls.

Never one to rest on her laurels, Liverpool-born screenwriter and author Lynda La Plante is following up the big screen adaptation of her groundbreaking crime escapade Widows with a thrilling new chapter for the feisty gangsters’ molls.

The popular six-part ITV series – featuring a group of robbers’ widows who attempt a daring heist –became an instant hit in the 1980s and was turned into a major film last year by Steve McQueen, director of the award-winning movie 12 Years a Slave.

La Plante, one of the best-known British crime writers, is herself no stranger to awards, with her original script for the much-acclaimed Prime Suspect TV series featuring DCI Jane Tennison winning awards from BAFTA, Emmys, British Broadcasting and the Royal Television Society.

And now she is back with her four charismatic players – Dolly Rawlins and her crafty, courageous female co-conspirators Linda, Shirley and Bella – as they pick over their ill-gotten gains and prepare for a perilous fight to the finish.

Dolly Rawlins, Linda Perelli and Shirley Miller were left devastated when their armed robber husbands were blown to smithereens as a security van heist went disastrously wrong.

But, recruiting hooker Bella O’Reilly as their fourth gang member, the widows – led by the indomitable Dolly – managed the impossible. They pulled off another security van heist their husbands had been planning, using career criminal and money launderer Harry Rawlins’ hidden cache of guns.

Now the women are hiding out and laundering some of their money at a rented villa in Rio but, although they are technically rich, things are far from easy.

Dolly, who suffered a series of miscarriages, has discovered that her husband Harry isn’t dead and not only that, he had betrayed her with another woman who is the mother of his child. In retaliation, Dolly has cleared out Harry’s secret cash accounts in Rio but she can’t outwit him forever.

Harry is on the trail of the four women and he wants them to pay… and he doesn’t just mean getting his hands on the money.

The women can’t keep running. They have to get Harry out of their lives for good but can they stay one step ahead of a criminal mastermind who won’t hesitate to kill? With tensions rising between them all and Dolly hatching a dangerous plan of her own, someone is inevitably going to die…

Expect drama, passion and deadly danger as the four women race to collect their stolen money and the close bonds that have held them together through thick and thin begin to fracture under the weight of suspicion, jealousy and fear.

Big bad Harry is back with a vengeance – both literally and metaphorically – and he is determined to track down his wife, principally by dealing in lies, double-crossing and menace, and dishing out his own special brand of violence.

Widows’ Revenge is a gripping page-turner… an action-packed, fast-paced story brimming with La Plante’s sparkling dialogue, visual energy, satirical northern humour, and some devilish plot twists that will leave readers rocking, rolling and gasping for breath.

Another rollercoaster ride with the queen of crime writing!

(Zaffre, paperback, £7.99)