THE TIES THAT BIND is the fourth novel from Erin Kelly, the author of THE POISON TREE and THE BURNING AIR. Gripping, twisty and compelling, it confirms her as a mistress of psychological suspense.
Could a soul, once sold, truly be redeemed?
Luke is a true crime writer in search of a story. When he flees to Brighton after an explosive break-up, the perfect subject lands in his lap: reformed gangster Joss Grand. Now in his eighties, Grand once ruled the Brighton underworld with his sadistic sidekick Jacky Nye – until Jacky washed up by the West Pier in 1968, strangled and thrown into the sea. Though Grand’s alibi seems cast-iron, Luke is sure there’s more to the story than meets the eye, and he convinces the criminal-turned-philanthropist to be interviewed for a book about his life.
Luke is drawn deeper into the mystery of Jacky Nye’s murder. Was Grand there that night? Is he really as reformed a character as he claims? And who was the girl in the red coat seen fleeing the murder scene? Soon Luke realises that in stirring up secrets from the past, he may have placed himself in terrible danger.
I’m always drawn to books set in Brighton, with a bit of a dark twist to them. This one is worth reading for its characters, in particular Joss and Luke, and their relationship. I enjoyed its slant on the historical gangster side of Brighton.
In the story, we have Luke, a crime writer/researcher who leaves Leeds because of an obsessive claustrophobic relationship with Jem. He heads to Brighton and soon becomes enthralled in the story of Brighton bad boy Joss Grand. Grand apparently has gone from being a gangster to a philanthropic landlord. Luke becomes slightly obsessed with finding out the truth about a gangland murder that took place in the 1960s, involving Grand.
With lovely accurate descriptions of Brighton past and present, you get a real sense of place. I became quite fascinated with Luke and how he was burying himself in the past of a colourful and quite scary side of Brighton.
A fantastic well paced read.