This world is suddenly turned upside down when money he’s responsible for goes missing. His boss, Newcastle crime lord Bobby Mahoney, starts the countdown and gives Blake 72 hours to find the cash before the reality of his employment catches up with him.
What follows is a ticking-clock trawl through Newcastle’s seedy bars, drug dens and brothels in search of the money and the man thought to be holding it. At every new location Blake encounters a challenge to his quest – whether that be a rival gang and the eruption of a violent turf war, the emergence of a rat in the mob, the meddling of Mahoney’s pretty young daughter, or his pursuit by an ambitious police detective.
Linskey’s breakneck plot propels the novel forward, while his unflinching descriptions and brilliant episodes of violent punishment can be as amusing as they are unflinching. The writer clearly knows Newcastle, its underbelly and its less savory characters well and captures them note perfectly.
Like Ted Lewis’ Jack Returns Home (or Get Carter if you’ve only ever seen the film), this is a story that relies on location and tension. Each chapter has been constructed very carefully, and there’s a definite cinematic feel to the pacing of each. But this can read a little uneasily – sometimes the explanatory dialogue between Blake and his henchmen is strained, going over old ground for the sake of the reader. And not every chapter needs to end with a character quipping on some defeated foe. That said, some of the finest moments come laced in Linskey’s dark humour and use of Geordie aphorism. It’s impossible to read without doing so in a Geordie accent, and The Drop is all the more enjoyable because of this.
Linskey clearly focuses on plot and in building tension: the love interest made personal; the suspicion of a rat; the threat of police capture; a 72 hour deadline to deliver. It’s a well-structured novel, and the climactic ending scene in particular really goes a long way to satisfying the pace at which the readers hurtles through the proceeding chapters. Linskey’s dialogue can seem trite at times, but it’s more often witty. If many of the twists and turns are obvious, they are no less dramatic – plot is what matters here, and its exactly what The Drop delivers. The Kindle price is an admirable £2.39 as well.
Download a sample chapter here
No Exit Press
CFL Rating: 3 Stars