Life is about choices, those already made and those yet to come.
For John Cooper, more than most, this is especially true. Lost, hopeless and alone, he drifts through the Brighton underworld, a slave to his heroin habit and all but forgetting the man he used to be as he succumbs, dose by dose, to the drug that is both sustaining and killing him.
The only people of import in his life are Mandy, a 16 year old prostitute who he cares for like a daughter, and Phil, mid-thirties and suffering from autism, a fact that many of the local drug dealers use to their advantage as they get him to ferry drugs all over the city.
When Phil dies of a suspected overdose, however, John’s long-buried instincts begin to rise to the surface. Knowing that his friend would never use drugs, he begins to investigate what he knows is a murder when the police fail to show any interest.
Unwittingly, John plunges himself and everyone around him into a murky world of drugs, violence and betrayal, all the while struggling against the addiction that consumes him.
Wow I just LOVED this!!!! I exhausted myself spending half the night reading. Paul Grzegorzek knows how to write a crime story that is moving, fast paced and beautifully told.
Set in Brighton, with incredibly accurate descriptions that make you long to be there, this is a story of the darker, seedier bits. The parts of Brighton that you don’t see and pretend not to notice, Grzegorzek highlights and reminds us are there. John Cooper, known as Coop, is amongst the hidden addicts. He used to be a police officer, and now spends his days living for his next high and roaming around the streets. When his autistic friend dies, Coop finds himself the only one who sees this as a suspicious incident. Soon Coop is fighting for the truth, against his addiction and for his life.
I found this a very moving crime read. Coop’s character was beautifully written and was more than just an addict. We were given a very human, decent bloke who needed to forgive himself. We got a man who was fighting his personal demons, as well as sometimes using his fists to protect those in danger. I had so much empathy for him and compassion for his situation. The book offers hope that addicts can move forward and get back their self respect. His relationships with Hannah, his ex girlfriend and the young prostitute, Mandy, were fascinating.
I really recommend this to anyone who likes a good dark read, with a big dollop of action.