A powerful, gritty novel set in the criminal underworld of Manchester from bestselling author Marnie Riches.
Manchester’s criminal underworld is shaken to the core when gang leader Paddy O’Brien is found bleeding by the poolside of his sprawling Bramshott mansion. So begins a fierce battle for the South Side, with the leading Manchester gangsters taking the law into their own hands – even when they have to play dirty to win…
This is a brand new crime series from the bestselling Marnie Riches; a fast-paced, gritty and darkly comic novel that brings the grime of Manchester to life…
Having read the authors George McKenzie series I was very much looking forward to reading Born Bad which is the authors first stand alone novel. Still sticking with the crime genre, this is very much a tale of the battles of rival gang lords and power.
The story has quite a lot of characters in it and does jump around between quite a few so it’s one that you need to really concentrate on to keep up with all that’s going on as otherwise you could become a bit lost.
The main characters that stuck out to me is Lev and Sheila (She). I think Lev’s plight of having a young son who is very ill really pulled on my heart strings and I was willing for things to come right for him. Even though I didn’t agree with his life of crime, I could understand to a certain extent why he had to do what he had to do and it made it all that more thought provoking. Sheila or She as her husband Paddy likes to call her I felt sorry for. She has gotten into a life style she in not happy with. She loathes her husband but has no choice but to stay in an unhappy marriage as she knows he will never just let her go.
Paddy is a horrible man who thinks he can have his cake and eat it. He has no respect what so ever for females and I instantly disliked him. He expects She to do whatever he tells her and thinks nothing of forcing her if she won’t. I was praying that she would be able to find some way out of it all and have her happy ending.
Born Bad is a story with different threads running throughout the novel. I wouldn’t say it’s your stereo typical criminal underworld story. Each character seems to bring something different to the novel which makes it stand out to others in it’s genre. With quite a few twists it certainly makes for an entertaining and enjoyable read that is sure to be a hit with readers.
My thanks to Avon books for a copy of this book. All opinions are my own and not biased in anyway.
Goodreads rating 4/5 stars.
Born Bad is out now and available to purchase from Amazon.
Sinking beneath the deep layer of foam and the silken surface of the water, Sheila mused on how comforting it was to shut the world out. Holding her breath. Counting, counting, until all she could feel was the crushing sensation in her chest and the beat of her pulse, thumping in her ears. Reminding her that she was yet living, though she felt dead inside.
The girls were grown and gone.
The flower of her youth had withered.
She was Paddy’s Queen, imprisoned in a tower of her own design, awaiting execution or a slow death. Not even Thailand would change that.
Pushing against the tall sides of the freestanding bath, she surfaced, gasping for air. Racking sobs suddenly pushing their way out of her body like skeletons tumbling from a closet she had been keeping under lock and key for decades.
‘Why?’ she shouted to the TV screen set into the unforgiving stacked-stone slate wall. It showed some plastic fantastic American actress, jabbering at her fat friend, occasioning unearned canned laughter at the end of every sentence. The TV was as good a confessor as any. ‘How has it come to this?’ She splashed her hands down violently into the foamy water, sending it scudding around her naked body. ‘Washed up just as I was about to ride the crest of my own wave. All ’cos of Paddy. That domineering, bad-breathed, dicky-tickered wanker, with his shitty flaky scalp and his skidmarks in his undies and his hairy back and his psycho bullying bullshit and his bitch mistresses with their fake tits.’ Years of solemn therapy sessions at the Priory, in which she had talked around the problem to a sympathetic man in a Spartan room, were now proved redundant. For her ears only, in that empty bathroom, the truth she had been holding inside about the root of all her unhappiness was finally outside. ‘Paddy, you bastard! I hate you. I fucking hate you.’ She slammed her palms down onto her knees with a splash. ‘But I love you and I’m scared and I don’t know how to be alone. Please don’t let him die tonight, God.’
Visualising her husband, standing in the gallery, clinching the deal of a lifetime with the Boddlington bosses … Perhaps the Boddlingtons would bring a suitcase full of cash like you saw on the films. She didn’t know how deals that size worked – her cleaning deals were all dodgy invoices and almost bona fide transactions to slightly shady offshore accounts or cash, no questions asked. But she knew that if the sell-out went ahead, they would be rich enough never to have to think about money again. Off to Thailand, flying first class. Trapped forever, hidden away from what few friends and family Paddy allowed her to have.
And what if the deal failed and he was killed tonight? What then? Patrick O’Brien was all she had known from being a girl, becoming her father figure long before her own father had disowned her. She visualised his gravestone.
Here lies Patrick O’Brien, survived by his ungrateful wife and doting daughters.
Freedom at last.
She shook the thought away. What a prize cow she was!
Sobbing in the bath until the bubbles had all burst, her fingertips and toes had become wrinkled and the water had grown cold. Shivering. Teeth-clacking. She turned on the hot tap, shoving her purple toes under the gushing warm water, wondering how it was she could feel so many conflicting emotions at once.
‘I’ve made my bed,’ she finally told the television, feeling guilt start to pull her under again. The water level was rising fast … ‘Loyalty keeps this family together. I need to keep us together.’
She slid down the bath until even her buoyant breasts were covered. Her hair swished around her like weed on the bottom of a pond. Water seeped up to her chin and into her ears. Over her nose. Under. Contemplating if she should stay there forever, choosing a watery way out of this life and these wifely obligations.
But then, in amongst the thunder of the hot water, now so dangerously near the rim of the bath, she heard another insistent sound. A chime from far away. Was she drowning? Was this destiny calling from the other side?
She emerged abruptly from the bath, spilling water all over the floor. The chime was insistent – somebody was at the gates, pressing and pressing on that button. Who the hell was it at this time of night?
Conky had a fob for the gates. Paddy had a key for the door. They weren’t due back until 11pm at the earliest, unless it had all gone very badly wrong, of course …
Ignoring the mess, she skidded across the bathroom, grabbing her robe from the heated towel rail. Hastened down the oak staircase, stepping gingerly with wet feet on the bare, polished treads. The intercom and CCTV screen were close to the front door in the glazed, double-height vestibule. She was vulnerable here, at night with the chandeliers blazing. Anyone lurking in the dark out there would be able to see her. Her heart was pounding, all thoughts of a watery end gone now. Visualising instead where Paddy had the shotguns and live ammo stashed, in case the Boddlington gang had turned up thinking they could claim O’Brien Towers as spoils of war.