The Ladykiller Paperback – Oct 29 2009
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'Cole is brilliant at portraying the good among the bad, and vice versa, so until the very end we never quite know who to trust. This is the very stuff that makes her so compelling'― Daily Mirror
'Utterly compelling'― Mirror
'The story will grip you from the first pages'― Best
'Right from the start [Cole] has enjoyed unqualified approval for her distinctive and powerfully written fiction'―The Times
'Martina Cole explores the shady criminal underworld, a setting she is fast making her own'― Sunday Express
'Gritty novel from an author who knows intimately the world she writes about'― Express
About the Author
Martina Cole is the acknowledged queen of crime drama with over twenty novels to her name, of which over a dozen have been No.1 bestsellers.
Several of Martina's novels have been adapted for the screen, including The Take and The Runaway which were shown on Sky 1 to remarkable reviews. In addition, Two Women and The Graft have been adapted for the stage; both were highly acclaimed when performed at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, which also staged Dangerous Lady in 2012, celebrating twenty years since Martina's debut novel was published.
Martina Cole is a phenomenon. She continues to smash sales records with each of her books, which have sold thirteen million copies. In 2011 Martina surpassed the £50 million sales mark since records began and was the first British female novelist for adult audiences to achieve this - and she has spent more weeks in the No. 1 slot on the original fiction bestseller list than any other adult novelist. Her hard-hitting, uncompromising and haunting writing is in a genre all its own - no one writes like Martina.
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The novel starts by focussing on George Markham, an abused boy who has turned into an abusive man. George is heavily into sadomasochism and he has started to turn his violent fantasies into real-life crimes by raping and murdering women. One of these women is Mandy Kelly, the daughter of London hard man Patrick Kelly. Patrick will stop at nothing to track down her murderer and bring him to his kind of rough justice.
At the same time, the serial rapist / murderer is being hunted by DI Kate Burrows and her police team. Kate is a woman with a wayward daughter and an ex-husband who has breezed in and out of her life too many times. The emotional heart of the novel lies with Kate and Patrick, who are on opposite sides of the legal fence but who grow to love each other. Their relationship is rocky, passionate and controversial. I absolutely adored the fact that this book included such an interesting love story. In another author's hands it could have come across as ridiculous but Martina Cole writes it perfectly.
As a female reader, I found myself absolutely falling for Patrick Kelly whilst at the same time aghast about his criminal activities and penchant for much younger women (late teens to his forty-something years) when not in a relationship. You can see how Patrick is the result of his poverty-stricken upbringing - he did what he had to do in order to survive. Everything that makes him attractive - his strength, confidence and power - is also what makes him such a successful villain. Kate is also a really strong and interesting character, and I liked the way she stood up to Patrick and didn't give up her principles when she was with him, such as when she walked out of an illegal boxing match that Patrick wanted to see.
The book is also great because every scene seems so authentic. You become immersed in a world where women are `birds' and `skirts' (I know, I know, so chauvinistic - but it's part of the culture) and police officers are the `Old Bill' and `filth'. This book is certainly not politically correct, but it is better for it. Overall, I would recommend this book to people who like crime novels and aren't offended easily by violence, bad language and sexploitation! This novel is a wonderful guilty pleasure.
One final note:
I'm surprised that Martina Cole isn't well-known in America, which I assume is the case due to the lack of reviews for her books on this website. I can only assume that the publishers felt that the distinctive East End slang / London gangster world wouldn't be understood by an American readership, which is a real shame because this is a great rough-tough gangster crime novel with a fiery romance sub-plot that is exciting all the way through. The subject matter is along the same lines as the Kenzie and Gennaro novels by American novelist Dennis Lehane, which also expose the violent and shocking criminal underworld where nothing is black and white and the line between the 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' is not as clear cut as you might think. Highly recommended.
Loved the plots and very rich composition of characters.
Could not put the book down, till the last moment couldn't guess the ending.
I was 'pressed' into reading this book by my dear wife who has practically devoured it on a recent holiday and who without divulging any details has spent all holiday telling me what a great book she was reading.
Finally I gave in and read 'The Ladykiller', this being my first Martina Cole book ever. Now I know that my wife didn't exaggerate at all when she praised this book so much and I'm so glad to have read it myself. Written in the third person, this book showcases Martina's excellent writing skills. It is the first book in a series featuring DI Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly.
Everyone knows that Martina Cole is up there at the very top with the best crime fiction authors, but seriously I didn't think this book would be this good. Written back in the 90s, the thoughts it evoked in my mind as I was reading are still valid today, more than two decades later.
The Grantley Ripper is making news by savagely raping and murdering women. He is terrorising the whole community. The ferocity of his attacks indicates that this man really Hates women with a capital H. One of these victims happens to be the young daughter of a local hard man, a repoman, a man feared by many, Patrick Kelly, known for his not so legal businesses around London and other places. Kelly vows to use all his means and connections to catch this sadistic murderer and make him suffer a very slow, agonising death. His daughter was the most important person for him.
DI Kate Burrows is assigned the Grantley Ripper case. She's an excellent, bright detective and she's determined to find the Ripper and lock him away for ever. But Kate Burrows has personal problems of her own.
Being assigned to the case, Kate meets Patrick Kelly and finds herself wanting to help this distraught man in this difficult moment. Though they come from very different backgrounds and with opposing ideas and beliefs, they are both immediately attracted to each other, however such a relationship is bound to compromise her career. Can a police DI have a relationship with a notorious ruthless villain?
From the beginning we know who the ripper is, just an ordinary-looking Englishman but with a secret nasty interest. All characters brought to life by Ms Cole in this thriller are multi-dimensional, realistic people with a background. I loved all the characters (except the Ripper and his mother of course), especially Kate Burrows and Patrick Kelly. I also liked a lot Willy, the scary-looking bald giant who's also Patrick's minder.
All circumstances and story lines in the book are also very believable. The murders are all gruesome and different.
This book is very realistic as it shows what horrible consequences sexual, physical and emotional abuse of children can bring about. The monster in this novel is the production of such abuse. It makes you shudder to think that nowadays in real life there are children suffering the same things this murderer has suffered as a boy. By the end I have to say that I even felt pity for this sadistic killer.
I would have preferred the Grantley Ripper case to be solved in a different method to the one chosen by the author, however, I then understood her reasoning behind this decision and it made sense. I would have also preferred shorter chapters as they are a bit longish.
Having said that, I highly recommend this book to everyone as it is certainly one of the best thrillers I have ever read.
The Ladykiller is about...well...a man who kills women. Ok so it is a bit more complicated than that but why should I give the plot away when you can read the back cover and discover it on your own. What I like about Miz Martina is that she gets and I mean really gets into her character's head. You either end up liking them or hating them but you will be justified in feeling the way that you do. I love books that can evoke that type of emotion from me. Reading this book was like watching an episode from Criminal Minds (one of my favorite TV shows).
If you have never read Martina Cole, I would suggest starting with this one or with The Take. Now reading the The Take was like watching an episode of the Sopranos, except they were living in England. Bada bing!!!!