Do you like books set in a location that you know? I do. If you know Cardiff, you will like the journey through the suburbs, into Queen Street and out again into the Vale of Glamorgan that Darke gives us when his protagonist Martin Blake becomes inexorably mixed up with the dark underbelly of South Wales crime.
From Martin’s safe and predicable world of banks, pensions and a comfy suburban existence, he has to adapt hinself to the mean streets sf the capital and to shady dealings with criminals who have their own moral code . If only Martin’s life had not fallen apart so spectacularly, and he had not needed to buy a white van….We feel Martin’s fear as this new and unpredictable life threatens to engulf him and those he loves. A likeable and flawed human being, he is just the protagonist favoured by writers of a crime caper and we long to see him free himself from the clutches of Leon Cooper and his minions which is why the climax to the story works so well and will have to be read in one sitting.
The pace of this, Darke’s first novel,is lively, the dialogue crisp and purposeful, and despite the often dark and menacing world of the book,. there is a rich vein of dry humour which makes the novel immensely readable .
A real page- turner and an accomplished first novel.
by Robert Darke