Layer Cake

Layer Cake

3.5 11
by J. J. Connolly

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A gripping and original tale of one young gangster's attempt to leave the underworld of crime behind as he fights through the layers of corruption See more details below


A gripping and original tale of one young gangster's attempt to leave the underworld of crime behind as he fights through the layers of corruption

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
For those who suspect that the British mob scene is all a matter of splendid talk ( la Bill James and Jake Arnott), additional evidence is supplied by Connolly's dark, quirky first novel, which offers up the verbal "layer cake" that is class-conscious British society, from its plummiest Oxbridge tones to Cockney rhyming slang. What plot there is has to do with the attempt of its nameless 29-year-old go-getter narrator to retire by age 30 alive. When he's introduced to crime boss Jimmy Price, a smoothie who floats effortlessly between the glossy pages of Hello magazine and the underbelly of London's Soho, the narrator thinks he spies his chance. Of course, it's not that easy. The promise of a forthcoming movie starring Daniel Craig and Michael Gambon is the cherry on top of this tasty tidbit. For all larger public libraries. Connolly lives in London. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Coke dealer looking for easy way out of the criminal life-difficult, you say?As one would expect of a book that's already been filmed in London (to be released here in fall 2004) by a producer of the cinematic lad's bible, Lock, Stick, and Two Smoking Barrels, British author Connolly's first novel is a cool and sinuous crime story, smothered in street jargon and suffused with an abiding love of all that's illegal. The unnamed narrator is a young London dealer who has made himself a pretty piece of change by keeping out of the street muck and turf battles: "I try and turn away people who are messy, who are noisy, who'll get us nicked big time. . . People who are neat and tidy like ourselves we can do business with." Surprisingly, Connolly isn't very interested in jumping right into the meat of his story, but, instead, spends a good deal of time simply listening in as the dealer talks about his business, the ways he maneuvers through London's underground without getting pinched. Even when the plot gets ratcheted up-the dealer is called to a summit meeting at a posh restaurant with his boss, Big Jim, who wants him to locate a friend's missing daughter-the focus is still more on the telling of stories than on a blow-by-blow of who-did-what. There's rarely a moment here when the characters, a garrulous lot to be sure, won't take a dozen or so pages to relate some tale about a mate of theirs and some ruckus he was involved in; fortunately, though, Connolly knows how to spin a good yarn, so this way of proceeding is never a problem. There's more than a little fancifulness here, regardless of how spot-on the argot or knowledge of the vicissitudes of the cocaine game might be. The book still has awhiff of the Tarantino fan about it-meaning that it's an addictive read, for better or for worse. A walloping debut that could well presage a wave of Brit crime lit heading for these shores. Film adaptation directed by Matthew Vaughn, scheduled for 2004 release. Agent: Ed Victor/Ed Victor Ltd.

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Product Details

Duckworth Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
4.38(w) x 7.06(h) x 0.97(d)

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