Close by Martina Cole

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover, 500 pages, 2006

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: I read comparisons to the HBO show The Sopranos and I was ridiculously thrilled to have something to read in a similar vein.

Synopsis: Close is the story of a family – a mob family as well as the ‘mom, dad, and kids’ sort of family. Patrick Brody is determined to run the mob scene of London, making money and decisions with a cool head in hopes that he’ll stay on top of his game – and that everyone he loves stays alive.

Why you should read this book: When you start reading a book like Close, you have to know that some of your favourite characters are going to get whacked, so you might try your best not to get too attached…but like all good mob stories, you can’t help it – you get comfortable and you don’t see it coming until it’s too late. Unlike a lot of stories in this genre, we get to see a fair bit of matriarchal rule – Lil transforms from little more than a kid-having-kids into a magnificent force to be reckoned with, a woman who would do anything for her family – most of them, at least. Fast-paced, hot-blooded and full of surprises, Close is a book that will thrill any fan of the genre, and win over some new readers with the well-crafted tales of murder, power, and intrigue.

Why you should avoid this book: If you don’t like bad language and violence, you’ve got the wrong book. Stylistically, my only complaint is a slight tendency to repeat the same idea in different words over the course of a few pages, but there’s so much action most of the time that it’s hard to care.

Opening paragraph:

The pain was finally easing and the woman sighed with relief.

Fabulous quotes:

She still had not heard a word from Pat and she was getting more and more agitated by the minute. She checked her purse and realized that she had less than eight pounds to her name. If Pat was nabbed, or worse, she had no access to his money at all. Her mother’s voice came back to her and, as much as she hated to admit it, the old bitch was right. Pat should have set her straight in case he was arrested.

They were on the balcony that fronted the flats, the air stank of chip fat and stale cigarettes. All around them was the bustle of a council estate during the early evening. The young girls were dressed in their finery and hanging around waiting for the young men who would be their downfall. Dealers were out for their first foray of the night and old dears were on their way to bingo, knitted gloves and knitted hats the order of the day. Kids as young as three were still playing out in the front, their clothes filthy and their faces already hardened by the act of bringing themselves up.

Also recommended: Watch Your Back! by Donald E Westlake; The Godfather by Mario Puzo.

Also by this author: Dangerous Lady; The Ladykiller; Goodnight Lady; The Jump; The Runaway; Two Women; Broken; Faceless; Maura’s Game; The Know; The Graft; The Take.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Cole’s novels The Jump and Dangerous Lady have both been adapted for television.

Would I read more by this author? Yup – and I’m very happy to find a new author I love who has written a lot of books I haven’t read yet!

&#169 Lisa Yanaky 2003-2008

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