Ruthless by Kerry Barnes

Synopsis: 1964 – London 

Dolly Vincent is born to an East End gangster but is sent away for her own protection. Mad Mick is hell bent on his revenge and will stop at nothing to kill her. Estranged from her family, she becomes a successful barrister, but after defending a young Italian man she finds herself caught up in a secret held by a high court judge. Tortured and left for dead she flees London and heads to New York. Only the Vincents know where she is, but even they don’t know the truth.

1990 – Francesca is back to face her demons but this time she is not alone. One woman three names…

Kat’s Rating: 4/5

Kat’s Review: So my good friend Deryl has told me for I don’t know how long that I really need to read Kerry Barnes. Deryl knows what I like and I am, like many others, fans of authors such as Kimberley Chambers, Dreda Say-MItchell, Mandasue Heller, Jessie Keane…you get the picture. As always my ridiculous commitments I make mean my to read list is always growing and things I want to read get lost in the millions of others I want to read. I finally put my foot down and decided to give this a go. I am SO glad that I did. Now first off, Kerry Barnes is not like those authors I mentioned…she is Kerry Barnes! Yep she certainly knows how to write a cracking gangland style book, and yes I have no doubt if you like the authors I mentioned this style of book will be right up your street.

To my knowledge, I believe this was Kerry’s début novel. It’s the first in a trilogy of books however they can be read as stand alone books. I like to read in order and so started with this and what a début! It it perfect? No, but it’s not far off it that’s for sure. A few minor points grated but considering this was a debut novel I am literally chomping at the bit to read the next book, but that will have to wait while I work through some others I have to read for specific dates (damn it!).

This book is rather extraordinary because it’s a pretty standard length book at 350 pages yet it feels like there is so much packed in. This story takes us from the East End to New York and features the local East End gangs to the Mafia. Dolly Vincent is the character that brings it all together. Her Mum and Dad Mary and Bill have all boys until Dolly comes along, and she is literally the centre of their world. When Dolly’s life is at risk she’s sent away and we see her life literally played out before us.

The characters Kerry Barnes has created are nothing short of spectacular, and VERY memorable. I remember loathing Charles, falling in love with Roberto and so on (you get the picture). Dolly is an outstanding woman whose strength both mentally and physically is challenged as we see her grow from a girl to a woman. There were a few minor niggles where reality was stretched a wee bit far, but nothing that deterred me from reading and I really didn’t want to put the book down.

The ending of book one when it came was absolutely brilliant and I wanted to race on to book 2 but had to stop myself. I have a feeling that Kerry Barnes if she keeps this up will soon become a better known name than she is now and I certainly hope she does, if this first book is anything to go by. I was over the moon to see that the third book in this trilogy has now been released and so the next 2 are lined up nicely foir me to continue. Hugely recommended and a thoroughly stonking good read!

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