The Traitor by Kimberley Chambers (Mitchell/O’Hara #2)

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My Rating: 5/5

My, oh my! Considering that I only discovered KC a mere 3 months ago, I have managed to read all of her books including the latest release, the second in the trilogy of the Mitchell and O’Hara families. The upside to this is I have discovered a wonderful writer who has produced 5 absolute top notch books; however the downside is that I now have to wait a few months until the final part of the trilogy is released.

We pick up from where we left off with the Mitchell family in tatters. After Eddie Mitchell accidently killed his wife instead of Jed O’Hara he confesses and is awaiting his verdict. Frankie meanwhile is determined to make a go of it with Jed and is living with him and their children. Frankie’s twin Joey is in his own relationship and is steering well clear of the family as he can’t deal with all the upheaval. Seeing as I read part one so recently the characters were still fresh in my mind, but even if there had been a long gap, you can’t fail to remember these feisty families. KC has the knack of creating some real charmers in her books, and Jed has to be the worst yet. I detested him and his family but I like nothing more that loving or loathing characters, it’s the sign of a great writer.

Not only do we meet both the Mitchell and O’Hara family again but we get to see the lives they are all living and what they are all up to, especially where the family business is concerned. As usual we are thrown in at the deep end with all of them and that includes the family feud still slowly simmering away. Frankie and Joey are now grown up and I loved the fact that we got to see a lot more of their personalities. The plot itself is a continuation from the first book, although if you picked this up first by mistake it wouldn’t make that much of a difference as you get quite a bit of background too. Having said that I always think the first part gives you the ability to build the characters up and have a bit of history on them. The plot is as fast and nail bitingly exciting as the last one, if not more.

I almost dragged the last few chapters out because I didn’t want to finish the book as I knew I had a long wait until the next one. For those that read my reviews regularly you have heard it all before. For those that haven’t I will say it again. If you haven’t read Kimberley Chambers then I suggest you start….RIGHT NOW! Once again KC you have produced a first rate book and you truly are a fabulous author, just keep `em coming girl!

The Feud by Kimberley Chambers (Mitchell/O’Hara #1)

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My Rating: 5/5

Apologies for the length of this review but when a book comes along that is perfect, I feel the need to tell everybody about it. Shockingly, I had not even heard of Kimberley Chambers and only read her first book in October 2010. After reading the first one I realised that I may well have stumbled across a new talent that I feel is fast approaching the title Queen of Crime in the UK. After devouring the first I read her second and third book in quick succession. Her fourth book (this one), is the start of a trilogy featuring the Mitchell and O’Hara family.

As usual her breakneck speed of drawing you in takes you by surprise. We meet the Mitchell clan with the father Harry as the head of the family and his three sons Eddie, Paulie and Ronny. Kimberley Chambers has a fantastic style of writing where she spreads the book over the years without it being too little or too much. You see chunks of their lives as the year’s progress and she gets the balance absolutely spot on. The book starts in the seventies and progresses through to the late eighties. The Mitchell family have always had a long running feud with the O’Hara’s and as Harry decides to take a back seat he looks to Eddie to tale over his criminal empire.

Eddie is a fantastic character and he is everything you would expect and underworld gangster to be. He is fearless, ruthless and fiercely loyal. When he meets and marries the young Jessica, her family aren’t that keen but are aware they have no say in the matter. Over the years we see Jessica and Eddie have twins of their own Frankie and Joey. We see them not only as young children but later on as teenagers too. The main characters of the story are Jessica and Eddie and we see what it is really like for a woman being married to a man so high up in the underworld. We also see and learn a lot about Jessica’s parents Joyce and Stanley, her brother Raymond as well as he twins Frankie and Joey.

The story itself gives great background to why the feud started and what has happened to keep it at bay. As the chapters speed along we meet the O’Hara’s and see the two families interact. As time, and chapters, go by we see the feud start up again and the reasons why. The story itself doesn’t let up pace at all and just rushes towards a huge climax at the end of the book. I was shocked by the turn of results at the end and realise that this has ended well. Kimberley Chambers had finished and answered half the questions regarding the families, but has left it that I have so many more about what is to come.

The writing as usual is gritty and realistic with violence and language being a staple ingredient. If either of these things offends you, then maybe this wouldn’t be to your taste. For me, it just makes it so real and I literally could NOT stop reading. I started this last night and finished it this morning. The only negative is that I have to wait until the second installment is delivered to my door before I can get stuck in and find out what happens next. This particular book has had 33 customer reviews, and 32 of those rated it as 5 stars, that you won’t see very often!

Having only discovered KC as an author a mere 3 months ago, I am shocked that she is not more popular. I for one cannot believe that more people do not know about her. The friends that I have handed her books to are now as addicted as I am. Kimberley Chambers is certainly the BEST British crime writer I have discovered this year. Comparing her to Martina Cole is an insult to the standard of Kimberley Chamber’s books. As an ex- Martina Cole fan I can honestly say that Ms Cole should learn a thing or two by maybe picking up one of KC’s books.

Billie Jo by Kimberley Chambers

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My Rating: 4/5

Billie Jo is an only child and is loved and adored by her father Terry. Terry and Michelle have been married for years and Terry is a well known villain in the area. Their marriage is far from perfect and their constant arguments are cause for concern to Billie Jo. Terry decides to confide in his young daughter that she won’t have to put up with her drunk and waste of space mother for too long as he has met somebody else. Terry is involved with his secretary and she is pregnant and he is determined to start afresh. Life is about to deal Terry a blow and it will shatter Billie Jo’s life.

Shockingly I only picked up my first Kimberley Chambers book at the end of last month. Since then I have gone and brought her first two books and devoured them both. The Betrayer was Kimberley’s 3rd book and was a first class read. Her second book published Born Evil I loved but it wasn’t a patch on The Betrayer. Seeing as Billie Jo was her debut novel I knew I would enjoy it but figured it wouldn’t be as good as her more recent stuff. It is obvious to me whilst reading her books that her writing got better and better with each book she produced. I cannot wait to get stuck into The Feud which is her fourth release. I think I didn’t give KC enough credit as this book was a corker too.

Her writing style like I have said before is NOT for the feint hearted. If you don’t like swearing then her books are a definite no-no. Her debut novel starts out by introducing us to Billie Jo Keane is a young girl who has to deal with her parents constantly arguing. Not only that, but her mother is a drinker who doesn’t care for Billie Jo and thinks only of herself. Within the first 30-40 pages I was enthralled by this eclectic mix of a family. The author has a great way of getting you into their lives very quickly and you feel a certain empathy with people very quickly.

Just as I was getting my teeth into the beginning of the story a shocking twist is thrown straight at you, and was one that I didn’t see coming. If I’m honest it threw me off balance and I wondered how the story would carry on. Thankfully I couldn’t have been more wrong and you soon realise that this event is the catalyst for Billie Jo’s life events.

The story is stretched over a few years and we see large segments of peoples lives lived and the outcome of each bad decision made. In the first third of the book I (as usual) had my favourites and the ones that I loathed. What surprised me is that I didn’t realise just how much that opinion would change by the end of the book.

The story itself is like I said pretty fast paced and with the initial shocking twist I wasn’t expecting too many surprises. Although there weren’t any major plot twists I was quite surprised how things eventually turned out. This book, like the other two I read were everything I want from a great crime read; characters that have real strong personalities, great settings with real authenticity, and a great plot. Kimberley Chambers can do no wrong in my eyes; she is a serious contender for becoming the number one British Crime writer this year. She is showing the public what crime writing should be about and I would imagine making a few of the `old-timers’ quake in their boots.

Highly recommended author, if you haven’t read her before give her a go and start at the beginning with Billie Jo, you won’t be disappointed.

Born Evil by Kimberley Chambers

227x346 (1) My Rating: 4/5

Debbie Dawson makes the fatal error of falling in love with Billy McDaid. When Debbie announces to her mother June that she is pregnant by the low life drug dealer Billy, June realises that life will never be the same. Debbie’s brother Mickey has just come out of a stint in prison and is determined to make his life better and that includes protecting his mother and sister. When Debbie gives birth to Charlie, it seems that the little boy is pure evil. Not only is he sadistic and nasty, he is about to be the start of what tears the family apart.

I have only recently discovered Kimberley Chambers having read The Betrayer which was a first class read. Born Evil was the second book Kimberley Chambers wrote and although I loved it, it wasn’t as good as The Betrayer. I think this is a sign that Kimberley Chambers is getting better with each book she writes.

Probably the first thing to note is that this book is gritty realism at its best and that includes swearing and violence. If this isn’t something you particularly like then maybe this isn’t the book for you. Having said that, it’s not something that bothers me and I think it adds to the realism of the characters and setting.

This book starts by introducing us to Debbie at a young age when she first meets Billy and we get to see just how destructive he is on her life. When she falls pregnant she decides that although young she wants to make a go of it with both Billy and the baby. I admit that although Debbie is the centre of the story I didn’t really warm to her that much. By the middle of the book I wanted to strangle her for her stupidity, and by the end of it I hadn’t made my mind up what sort of a person she was. The fact that I got so irritate by her can in my opinion only be a sign of good writing on the author’s behalf.

The book is staggered over the years and we see Debbie move on from her life with Billy to one where she spends time with her mum June and her brother Mickey. In addition to this we have Mickey’s best friend Steve who I adored. The story itself was weaker than her other book but only in the sense that I could see what was coming. Although this wasn’t as good as the first I read I still thought that it could walk all over the kind of books Martina Cole is producing right now.

The Betrayer by Kimberley Chambers

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My Rating: 5/5

Maureen Hutton lives on a council estate in the East End of London with her three children. Her husband was a waste of time alcoholic who never helped her and she has had to go it alone ever since. Maureen’s life over four decades sees the ups and downs of her family’s life. Unfortunately when she is told a secret that may tear her family apart she has no choice but to get rid of the betrayer before it is too late.

Okay first off, what planet have I been on? Why on earth I haven’t picked up a Kimberley Chambers book I do not know. What I do know is that every book she has written I have now ordered and I have no intention on missing out on her future releases.

Kimberley Chambers has written a book that reminded me of the first book I read by Martina Cole. Her style is something of a slap in the face. It’s hardcore reality and immerses you from page one. I actually picked this book up because of the rave reviews here on Amazon. Of each of her 5 books, none of them have rated less than 4.5 out 5 stars ranging from a minimum of 9 reviews up to way over the 30’s. This alone was enough to grab my attention. I randomly decided to choose The Betrayer as it had a whopping 15 reviews rating it as 5 star. Thankfully, all 15 people were right!

The book itself starts off by introducing us to Maureen Hutton in 1975. We meet her three children, Tommy the eldest son, Susan the middle daughter and her youngest son James. Living on a council estate in the east end of London in the seventies is difficult for anybody, but for Maureen it is all she knows.

Her children are all completely different and we watch as each of their lives revolves around decisions they did or didn’t make when they were younger. No matter what happens to them they can always rely on their Mum. The story picks up pace from the word go and we see Maureen’s eldest son Tommy make a choice that affects the rest of his life and that of his family. It sets the precedent for their futures and as usual Maureen is the glue that holds them all together.

Kimberley Chambers has an uncanny knack of making you feel like you are living their lives alongside them. The characters she created makes for real emotion towards each one and by around chapter five I had an intense loathing for Tommy Hutton. As the years progress we see her children grown up and break away from Maureen all doing their own thing. Some of their lives they keep secret from her for fear of upsetting her. Maureen’s daughter is also somebody that I instantly disliked although James, the youngest son I fell in love with.

The story itself immerses you into a world where drug addiction, the underworld and dysfunctional families is all part and parcel of everyday life. If you are easily offended then you may not like the language in this book but for me it is what makes it all the more real. There is no hiding from the reality of being brought up the way the Hutton’s were and everybody’d secrets get dragged out over time. I love the fact that the story was set over four decades and this just made the reality set in even further. I almost had a longing to find out what was going to happen and was annoyed that I couldn’t read faster.

Kimberley Chambers is genius and has produced a top notch book that Martina Cole and Mandasue Heller fans will love. She is certainly creating her niche and in my opinion is one her way to fighting for the crown of the best female crime writer around! If I was you and you haven’t heard or read Kimberley Chambers before, I suggest you start right now. Trust me, if you don’t you may well regret it.