Mary's Prayer Paperback – Jul 10 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Brit noir is alive and well in this brutal but compelling foray into the netherworld of Newcastle, England. When tabloid reporter and former drug addict Steven Larkin, the protagonist Waites introduced in Candleland, returns to his home turf to cover a mob funeral, his unresolved sentiments about the past his wife and son were killed by bullets meant for him come to the fore. His initial apprehension about the gig escalates when he encounters Charlotte Birch, an old flame. Now married and a solicitor, Charlotte asks Larkin to check into the alleged suicide of her friend, Mary, but the simple investigation swiftly evolves into a deadly undertaking when Larkin discovers that Mary's death may be linked to the machinations of an underground drug ring. Waites comes on strong from page one with a journal entry asserting that if someone is reading it, the writer is already dead. On the following page, he describes a multipierced sadomasochist driving a spike into Larkin's hand. Strong language and tough situations like this keep the mood dark and Larkin in and out of the hospital, but those who are able to get past these graphic scenes will be thoroughly entertained by Waites's acerbic wit and flawed but imminently likeable protagonist. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This first mystery introduces a promising new writer on the British noir front. Stephen Larkin, a London journalist stuck working on a sensationalistic rag, is assigned to cover a gangster's funeral in Newcastle. As soon as he gets there, a former lover convinces him to investigate a suicide. It doesn't take long before Larkin realizes he is in way over his head, on both fronts. Originally published in 1997 but only now available in the U.S., the novel effectively juxtaposes an overall sense of bleakness with moments of surprising tenderness. Waites' depiction of Newcastle's criminal underbelly is stark and realistic, and his protagonist is a complex and credible hero. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The ending bordered on unbelievable and sometimes the fast pace made it hard to distinguish minor characters. But it's still better than many similar novels I've read, and I hope Mr. Waites continues to provide more.