Friday 30 November 2012


Winner of the Crocus North West Novel Competition in 2001, Corned Beef Sandwich is a side-splitting, fast moving crime caper set in one of the seedier districts of South Manchester. Somewhere between Ealing Studios and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, it follows the exploits of a Bookie's assistant who accidently takes home a gun man's swag bag. Housemates, surf god Axel, nuclear PR whiz Sheena and big plans Theo - are none too happy with the chaos that ensues.

I tracked this down after seeing a recommendation for it on a now long-forgotten crime fiction blog. Whilst it was enjoyable, it didn’t rock my world in the same way it did for the blogger.

I had previously attempted to read this but put it aside, but on returning to it managed to go from start to finish in a day; which whilst it’s not the length of War and 230 pages long, does tell me two things. One it’s a decent book with pace, that was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. Two, I happen to be quite adept at picking up the right book at the wrong time, as my "started never finished" list on the blog shows.

Sib, the bookie’s assistant is comically portrayed as a lonely, sad-sack social-misfit, stuck in a dead-end job with her parents lamenting the lack of direction in her life and only her fishes for comfort. Opportunity strikes when she ends up with the shop’s takings after an inept armed robber bungles the heist. Mayhem ensues affecting Sib and her housemates, including her sex-driven brother when the hapless criminal attempts to recover his ill-gotten gains.

Right book, right time, with a reasonable resolution. I have tried to discover if the author Mark Sullivan, not to be confused with Mark T. Sullivan, has anything else in print, but I haven’t been able to find anything.

3 from 5 – a reasonably entertaining crime-caper.

I bought this new probably 6 or 7 years ago.


  1. I like the title of this one, Col. It really sounds like an interesting setup for a caper, too. Glad you found it worth the read, even if it wasn't the very best you've ever read.

    1. A decent read which is better than a disappointing one. Plugged a gap before the next great read.