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by Martina Cole
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2008 (2006)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Whew! This is quite a book. If the 'f' word were eliminated, it would be many pages shorter. But it works here. Patrick Brodie is a mover and shaker in his part of London. Though well liked he is not apt to forgive what he considers transgressions against his many businesses - most of them on the downright shady, if not distinctly illegal, side. He takes care of people he feels are not doing him right in the most horrific ways.

But he is a loving family man. His wife Lil and he are deeply in love even though he does have a straying eye. They have five children. One of them, Lance, seems to have been a bit of a sociopath from birth and always makes the wrong decisions, disastrously so. Patrick's wife and children are present when he is killed and they are left to now fend for themselves. Lil ends up with two more children. Selling herself seems to be the only way to take care of her brood.

Enough of the plot line. I don't want to spoil anything for you. I started out not sure of this book, which seemed very violent and too hardboiled for my tastes. But as the pages turned, I became involved with the family and wanted to see how they would make out. The characterizations are very finely drawn - we get to know each person's thoughts and reasons for existing. And some of these players are very violent creatures who love inflicting pain for the pure pleasure of it and because they can.

Lil is one tough babe who cares for her kids more than her own life. One can't help admiring her even though she is involved in the nefarious schemes of her husband. Close is a book that will grab and hold your attention.

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