A new, ruthless and implacable mastermind from Africa has surfaced in gangland, carrying out his darkest deeds in the murky grey shadows of London s back streets. But, following the multiple slaughter of a large number of policemen by this monster, and his intention to commit further atrocious crimes, the challenge has to be met. The result is that this reign of terror is likely to have catastrophic consequences so emergency action is imperative. Together, Lee and Burrows form a talented, resourceful, athletic team of experienced investigators who become dedicated to the eradication of this evil, yet powerful killer. But Cabilla s awesome control of his murderous gang who torture victims to death, and his totally ruthless plans still appear to be gaining ground throughout the City...
By their Rules is a debut novel from an author who is a former serving police officer with vast experience running covert operations and undercover units. Price brings his previous life-work experiences to bear in this tale.
We have a retired police officer, John Burrows conscripted by his former boss to head up a secret operational unit designed to bring down organised criminal targets. All this is hush-hush and under the radar, though ultimately sanctioned by government. Burrows is teamed up with Jane Lee, another former civil servant recruited from the ranks of MI5/MI6. Burrows and Lee form an interesting duo, both bringing a diverse range of skills to the party.
The target is Cabilla, a Congolese crime-lord operating in both London and Manchester. Burrows has previously seen Cabilla acquitted of serious charges after one of his informants was got to. After a drug-smuggling sting designed to take Cabilla down fails and results in the massacre of about 8 policemen, the authorities decide to take the gloves off and remove him from the picture.
Undercover cops, corrupt cops, drug smuggling, people smuggling, prostitution, surveillance, CCTV, phone-tapping, firearms, torture, abduction, murder, gangsters, witness intimidation, informants, shadowy govt. figures, criminal gangs, hierarchy, fear, violence, the courts, justice system, the Congo, Turkey, London and Manchester all feature in an interesting and satisfying book.
Enjoyable and entertaining without quite hitting – “Damn that was awesome” heights.
A minor gripe would be a tendency to perhaps over-explain the thinking behind certain operational aspects of Burrows and Lee’s “mission,” as opposed to allowing the reader to connect up the dots. Nothing that put me off or irritated too much though.
Would I want to read more from the author in the future? Yes, either the same team or if he writes about a fresh set of characters.
Overall 4 from 5 and a decent read.
I was supplied my copy by the author after a positive response to a request I made after seeing Raven's review here.
Col - This one certainly sounds as though it's got some interesting things going for it. I'll have to wait on it for a time when I'm ready for one of those darker novels, though. In the meantime, I know what you mean about explaining a bit too much to the reader. No need to do that I think...ReplyDelete
Margot, enjoyable overall and a great first book.Delete
This does sound good. I don't know if I like the idea of secret operational units. But I would give this a try if I see it at a book sale.ReplyDelete
I see your wife has read a recent Tess Gerritsen (I have read 4 of them I think). Have you read Gerritsen?
Something I do find interesting though I didn't explore it in my review, is how much "power" or authority supposedly democratic governments allow themselves through terrorist legislation to carry out murder, kidnap, rendition, surveillance and phone tapping in the name of preserving liberty and freedom.Delete
I think this book had me thinking about it, even though it was on a more localised setting with organised crime, as opposed to a global setting and terrorism.
My wife in truth may read 15-20 books a year at the very most. (She's more social than me insofar as she likes to engage with the family unlike the grumpy old man of the house!) She has probably read 8 or 9 Gerritsen books over the years, and maybe for the past 3 or 4 years I have tracked her reading, albeit sometime after the event.
Checking my reading list which I have only been keeping since 2010, I have read 4 with varying degrees of enjoyment - Call After Midnight, Life Support, The Killing Place and Keeping The Dead. There are possibly one or two others I read earlier, though I would only know what they were if I picked them up and started reading them again! I think Sue's favourites are the Rizzolo and Isles books. I haven't yet developed an affinity for any of them.
Apologies for the essay!
Don't apologize, I love your essays. The four I read were the first four in the Rizzoli and Isles series, and I was surprised that I liked them so much. I have the next three or four in the series and I hope to catch up a bit in 2014. Compared to the TV series they are much superior.Delete
Rizzolo/Rizzilo? I might be confusing her with a punk band of the late 70's, The Rezillo's! Crossed wires, I'm afraid.ReplyDelete
Either way, I will read more. We have also avoided the TV show.
That was a mouthful with the different elements of the story and all. Sounds great. It's on the wish list so I don't forget. However, I spy another interesting read in your sidebar: The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning. Where do you find these books?ReplyDelete
Keishon, Amazon recommended me this one and I thought I could end my Scandinavian challenge with someone under the radar. I read the following and though hey give it a go......Delete
With some 66 hits under his belt, Tomislav Bokšić, or Toxic, has a flawless record as hitman for the Croatian mafia in New York. That is, until he kills the wrong guy and is forced to flee the States, leaving behind the life he knows and loves. Suddenly, he finds himself on a plane hurtling toward Reykjavik, Iceland, borrowing the identity of an American televangelist named Father Friendly. With no means of escape from this island devoid of gun shops and contract killing, tragicomic hilarity ensues as he is forced to come to terms with his bloody past and reevaluate his future.
About the Author
Hallgrimur Helgason was born in Reykjavik, Iceland in 1959. He started out as an artist, showing his work in several galleries of both New York and Paris, where he lived in the late eighties and early nineties. He made his debut as a novelist in 1990 and gained international attention with his third novel, 101 Reykjavik (“Imagine if Henry Miller had written Tropic of Cancer on crack instead of wine.”-Tim Sandlin), which was made into a film starring Victoria Abril. In 2001 Helgason received the Icelandic Literary Prize for The Author of Iceland. He has twice been nominated for the Nordic Council Literature Prize, with 101 Reykjavik in 1999, and Stormland in 2007. A film based on the latter was released in early 2011. The Hitman’s Guide to Housecleaning is his only novel written in English. It was published in Iceland in 2008, in the author’s own translation, and became a bestseller in Germany in 2010. A father of three, Hallgrimur divides his time between Reykjavik and Hrísey Island.
Col, I'm curious to know how Burrows and Lee tackle Cabilla in the end. It can't have been a cakewalk. I enjoy reading about undercover cops and covert operations.ReplyDelete
Prashant, I wouldn't want to give too much away, though Cabilla's demise is eventually from an unlikely source.Delete
I did like how the author built the tension regarding a cop who had infiltrated the criminal gang, but was totally isolated from his support. He wasn't part of Burrows and Lee's team, so when they saw him when they were carrying out surveillance they thought he had turned, which in effect then added to his jeopardy.
The infiltration part sounds like a couple of movies I saw, one of which had Matt Damon in it, I think. It's a fairly common plot theme in films. It's a given in espionage, real and fictional.Delete
Was the film The Informant? I really struggled with that one, I don't think I finished it....maybe wrong film at the wrong time because I usually like him.Delete
Col, it was THE DEPARTED where Damon and DiCaprio have more or less similar infiltration roles. I just checked up on the other film: it's DONNIE BRASCO in which Johnny Depp plays an FBI agent and infiltrates the mob. It also has Al Pacino and Michael Madsen and is based on a true story. Good films, both.ReplyDelete
I think I have Donnie Brasco, not yet watched. (I'm nearly as bad with my films as I am with my books!) The Departed - I will put on my list - they are the sort of films I like. I loved Madsen in Reservoir Dogs and Pacino in Heat with DeNiro. Cheers, PrashantDelete
I watched Donnie Brasco many years ago and liked it but Glen did not. So I will be interested in what you think of it, should you ever watch it.Delete
We both liked The Departed, but a lot of that was because it was a remake the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The original was better, and The Departed was different and good in its own way.
I'm not big on subtitled films but it might be worth a look if I can find it. I probably won't see much over the next week or so....it's back to back Christmas film heaven (or hell) in our house at weekends!Delete
That is funny. We watch a variety of Christmas films. On Christmas Day (or the next if it all won't fit) we will watch The Man Who Came to Dinner, Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (Mystery Science Theater version), and Holiday Inn (mostly traditional). Last night we watch RED, which we consider a Christmas movie since it takes place around Christmas.Delete
RED as in comic book story RED(2010) or earlier RED as in the Jack Ketchum book about an old man whose dog is killed by some rich kids? I read the Ketchum book and wouldn't mind seeing that film!Delete
The others I'm unfamiliar with.
Oh my, I wasn't even award of the Jack Ketchum book. Looked it up and it is horror and I don't think I can handle animals being killed. (I know, doesn't make sense.)Delete
No, this RED is based on the comic book, and someday I will read the comic book. I don't have any newer comic books but my son does read them and I used to collect them (as an adult), so it would not be totally new territory for me.
You had me going there for a while! I'll keep an eye out for RED, both versions.Delete
I liked the cover of this one - I've been noticing it in your top r-h box. It sounds OK but not quite enough to drag me in. Very much enjoyed the comment exchange above about the various infiltration movies. I watched the Departed (4 Oscars, Scorsese's finest moment, a brilliant evocation etc etc) without really being clear what was happening most of the time, mostly I think because I kept getting the 2 main actors confused. Do not ever put the safety of the powers of good into my hands, I will mess it up.ReplyDelete
Moira, we almost got there then, just couldn't quite get over the line! I'll be scouring the TV listings for The Departed then - it's too late to ask Santa!Delete
With your Guardian links, I don't think they will allow you into the corridors of power - you'll have been black-balled!