WHEN IT COMES TO VENGEANCE, AGE IS JUST A NUMBER.
Gloria Jones has had enough. She’s sixty-five, approaching retirement, and nearing the end of her tether. If she gets abused in the street by another toerag, someone’s going to swing.
When Gloria collects a gun she saw being thrown into her local park, her decision to turn it in is quickly scuppered after she’s attacked on her way to the police station. Using the gun to make her attackers back off, she accidentally pulls the trigger, and ends up killing them both. In that moment, her life changes forever.
As she struggles to come to terms with what she’s done, Gloria begins to realise there is injustice all around and finds herself transforming from a shy, peaceful woman into a confident and ruthless vigilante, determined to help victims of crime unable to defend themselves. And so begins a three-month campaign, taking revenge against violent criminals up and down the country, helping those who can’t help themselves.
After all, who’s going to question a little old lady just going about her business? Turns out, quite a few people, on both sides of the law, and one in particular seems to know exactly what she’s been up to.
A fast fun read in the company of a granny vigilante, snapping after one bruising encounter too many with the local pond life terrorising her community. What begins as an accident, soon builds up a head of steam as Gloria Jones travels the country dispensing terminal justice to those the law seems incapable of dealing with.
Straightforward street justice? Maybe but with a consequence not just for her victims. Random notes keep dropping through her letterbox, informing Gloria that someone knows exactly what she’s been up to and that they’ll be keeping a keen eye on her. Who is onto Gloria and what’s their grand design?
Parking my incredulity meter at the door, I really enjoyed this one. Fun, frantic, implausible, unlikely and a great read. Our main character, despite an impressive list of kills to her name at only the halfway point in the book, is likable, friendly, loyal and loving. She cares for her family, friends and community and despairs at the damage done to all of them by the curse of drugs and the criminality it causes after addiction takes hold. Despite her path and journey, she isn’t some embittered hag, yearning for the days of hanging and national service. She just longs for a kinder and safer society.
Decent characterisation, an improbable but fun plot, a pre-millenium setting of 1999, a bit of a road trip – ok rail trip around England….. London as a main base for the action, Bristol, Birmingham, Newcastle and the wilds of Essex, plenty of incidents, a fair pace and some decent prose which collectively kept this reader turning the pages.
Bang Bang You’re Dead is an impressive debut novel from Evan Baldock. I’ll be interested in seeing what he turns out next.
4 from 5
Read – August, 2020
Published – 2020
Page count – 342
Source - review copy from publisher Red Dog Press
Format - paperback