*Delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for this fantastic gritty northern novel!
I received an arc via the publisher in return for an honest review.*
Breaking Bones by Robert White
The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.
But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.
Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.
The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.
Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.
Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.
Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.
Every dog will have its day.
This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties.
Breaking Bones is set in my home town county of Lancashire. The novel centres around a criminal gang The Three Dogs. From their early years adolescence to their adulthood criminal empire. The copper attempting to take them down Detective Jim Hacker is met with a wall of silence.
The Three Dogs run the Moor Nook estate in Preston, they rule with drugs, money, violence and fear! Everyone is terrified of being on their bad side!
The Three Dogs, themselves as a gang, form an interesting mixture of violent gangsters. Preston’s answer to the Krays but set in the 1980s.
Leader of The Three Dogs, is Frankie Verdi. A violent psychopath, with no respect for anybody outside of his gang. Verdi is a terrifying individual, one you would hope never to meet.
Tony Thompson is the biggest in size of the three, but with learning difficulties, he is merely the muscle of the organisation. I would say Tony is the only one, that comes close to holding any empathy/sympathy for others.
Finally, we have Eddie Williams, Eddie is a complex character. He is a man living with a secret and a deep obsessional love for womaniser Verdi. He is ruthless with his ambition and devoted to the gang!
All three ‘dogs’ have a extremely strong bond of brotherhood. One that has already withstood many tests. By adulthood the bond is simply unbreakable. Making them an untouchable, savage and brutal gang!
Detective Jim Hacker is close personal friends with Harry Strange. They met when Hacker worked the investigation into Harry’s wife’s death. Harry’s young son Jamie is in the Royal Marines. Throughout the novel he faces war in the Falklands and the troubles of Northern Ireland. Usually with best friend and fellow squaddie Richard ‘Birdman’ Valance, by his side.
I felt the portrayal of Jamie and ‘Birdman’ as military best friends, very accurate indeed. My husband is a veteran of 15 year’s military service, it really is a brotherhood that never dies!
Jamie is dumped by fiancé Laurie Holland, as he returns to camp after his mother’s funeral. Laurie has set her sights on Frankie Verdi, a decision she will no doubt come to regret.
Laurie’s character has had a turbulent and abusive childhood, leading her to believe that access to power, respect and fear will bring safety! Laurie is sadly misguided in this belief.
“I’ll have you Laurie, make no mistake nothing and no one will stop me”
As the plot unravels we see all the characters mature and develop. Jamie experiences the brutality of war, which changes every man it touches. The Three Dogs rise in their criminal enterprises and Laurie learns some harsh truths, as the life of a gangster’s moll.
This novel is incredibly detailed, and I most definitely recommend! It has violence, gangs, drug empires and portrays the life of a violent gang kingpin. It vividly depicts how the love of money is the root of all evil!
It has a phenomenal ending, which literally reads right to the very last page!