A look inside a criminal’s mind
lazuli, he puts up such a convincing front that he is literally able to steal clothes from a shop window display and get away with it.
Gary’s enhanced intuition and perceptiveness allow him to break into strangers’ homes and imagine what it would be like to be them, immersing himself in their lives. It’s a creative ability, but it never occurs to him to use it for anything other than becoming a better criminal. More than once, he reflects that people are born into a cage and have no real control over the course of their lives. Given his background, he believes, a life of crime is inescapable.
But, of course, it’s a career path that has to be trod carefully, and Gary could be better at that. He is taken on by mentors, then disappoints or betrays them without hesitation or regret. He accepts the presence of alcohol and hard drugs in his life, too, as just part of the lifestyle. His bitter, unresolved family conflicts continue to reverberate through his life and into his troubled relationship with his drug-addicted girlfriend, Mandy. It all combines to drag him into a downward spiral which eventually forces him to question his core beliefs.
Direct and compelling, Leyshon’s fourth novel has the makings of a cult hit. Having worked in prisons, and based much of Gary’s character on the men she’s met in them, she has endowed him with a distinctive voice that’s roughhewn and streetwise, but also thoughtful and self-aware. He’s someone whose survival has depended on his ability to constantly evaluate his surroundings and she enables us to briefly see through the eyes of this bright but deeply flawed man.
Nell Leyshon, who has worked in prisons, has endowed her characters with a distinctive streetwise voice