Time To Win BY HARRY BRETT

BY HARRY BRETT COR­SAIR OUT 27 APRIL

Crime Scene - - POST MORTEM - By AN­DRE PAINE

hen Nor­folk crime lord Richard Good­win dies af­ter his car ends up in a river, his fam­ily’s grief only goes so far. His wife, Tatty, coped with his brazen cheat­ing by dos­ing her­self up on pre­scrip­tion pills, while their grownup chil­dren had re­treated from the bale­ful in­flu­ence of a bul­ly­ing fa­ther and the biggest crook in Great Yar­mouth. But when Tatty re­alises it was mur­der rather than sui­cide, the widow’s nat­u­ral in­stinct for re­venge sug­gests she’s just as ruth­less as the gang­ster she mar­ried.

Al­though the windswept sea­side town may be a bit of a back­wa­ter, the power vac­uum means Yar­mouth in­creas­ingly feels like the New Jer­sey of The So­pra­nos. Drug deal­ers are ex­e­cuted, bod­ies are buried un­der the mud, and Tatty soon starts throw­ing her weight around, in­clud­ing a mem­o­rable stand­off with a dis­re­spect­ful lo­cal on a mo­bil­ity scooter.

Rather than de­scrib­ing re­lent­less gang­land vi­o­lence on the page, Brett em­ploys a del­i­cate balance of hu­mour and men­ace that draws you into the nar­ra­tive. There’s also a win­ning dou­ble act in Tatty and Frank, the dead gang­ster’s burly fixer who’s busy tend­ing his gar­den when he’s not crack­ing heads. The char­ac­ter-driven plot, mas­ter­ful sus­pense and stark coastal set­ting en­sure that Time To Win is firmly in the top flight of crime writ­ing.

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