Friday 5 April 2019



With a brutal hand, up-and-coming gangster Gordon Cutter and his associates are making a good living doing bad things, and heaven help anyone who gets in their way. Cutter has big ambitions to expand his firm’s operations in the north-east of England, and that’s going to mean cutting a deal to take control of the criminal network currently run by ailing local crime boss Howard Mackintosh.

The Armstrong family’s lives collide with Cutter’s illicit dealings when he sets his sights on young Livvy. Drawn into his web and flattered by the attention of this charming and successful older man, she doesn’t see what seems clear only to her brother Jack – that Gordon Cutter is a very bad man indeed.

With Cutter and his firm prepared to go to any lengths necessary to build their criminal empire, Jack is pushed to desperate measures to try to protect his family … and with a man like Gordon Cutter involved, it looks ever more likely that the Armstrongs are hurtling towards tragedy.

‘Cutter’s Deal’ is the first novella in the Cutter trilogy. The story continues in ‘Cutter’s Firm’ and is concluded in ‘Cutter’s Fall’.

Another short-ish read and one dealing with a criminal gang on the up and the effect it's rise has in particular, on one family.

The Armstrong's are struggling. The father's broken by unemployment and they all suffer from the damage to his pride, vanity and the family finances. The mum's a trouper, rushing from one cleaning job to another to earn enough to scrape by. One of her clients is Gordon Cutter. Livvy, the daughter 15 or 16, crosses paths with Gordon when helping her mum and is soon working for him in his arcade. Brother Jack is angry. He sees through Cutter's veneer. The rest of the family are blinded and oblivious.

I like the way the story unfolded. How Cutter manipulates Livvy, bests Jack in several ways and slowly brings about a sea change in his thinking - all the while making plans for growing his empire. We see early on Cutter's true colours and that his surname is incredibly apt.

Before we're done all the family will be on the same page regarding Gordon Cutter.

Short, sharp, violent, and populated by well-drawn characters that left a mark. I wasn't totally convinced by some of the goings on with Cutter and his gang, but hey I was enjoying the story, so was happy enough to see where Julie Morrigan wanted to take things.

This was my first taste of the author's work, but not my last. The second in the trilogy, Cutter's Firm sits on the kindle waiting. Perfect for when a longer book sags and I need to give my reading mojo a quick, jolt of adrenaline.

4 from 5

Read - March, 2019
Published - 2015
Page count - 89
Source - owned copy
Format - kindle


  1. This sounds like an interesting study of Cutter's character, along with everything else, Col. And the story seems like it goes along at a solid pace, too. I'll be honest - not sure it's my sort of thing. Still, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Probably more me than you, Margot. I'm looking forward to trying more from the author.

  2. You're doing well on your female authors this year, it seems? this sounds interesting.

    1. Hmm, undeserved praise, but plans afoot to address things.

  3. Col – Thanks for reviewing this and other novellas. I’ve got a non-crime, non-noir, old doorstop of a novel I want to get to this year, so I’ll be ready for some shorter works around that time.

    1. I do like the slightly shorter format - one or two sittings and boom - you're done.