The final part of Sheila Quigley’s page turning Holy Island Trilogy is a knockout. This high-octane thriller is the third to feature DI Mike Yorke, a decent but bull-headed copper who, along with a psychic street-waif known as Smiler, is embroiled in a bizarre murder case that involves kidnapped kids, a drugs factory, and ‘the families’ – a sinister group that control the world. The story twists and turns like a corkscrew and races along at a breathless pace towards a dramatic conclusion but is also chock full of the sort of down-to-earth characters, gritty realism and humour that we’ve come to expect from Sheila Quigley – the Queen of Brit Grit.
Fifteen-year-old Jack and sixteen-year-old Livvy are good kids from a good family. Their dad has been made redundant and their mother has an accident which means that Livvy has to help her out with her cleaning job. One of the clients is Gordon Cutter, as nasty piece of work with ambitions of expanding his criminal empire. Unfortunately, Cutter takes a shine to Livvy which leads her and her family into very, very dark places. Morrigan cleverly switches POV from Cutter to Jack and then to Livvy contrasting the naivety of the teenagers with Cutter’s manipulative malevolence. Cutter’s Deal is simply a brilliant, heart-in-mouth slice of social-realist crime fiction. The real deal.
Arrogant Teeside drug dealer Terry thinks he’s a big shot but he doesn’t realise that Mark Kandinsky and the Stanton brothers are out to rob him blind. Although, things don’t exactly go to plan, of course. Bone Breakers is another fantastic slice of funny, fast-moving and hard-hitting crime fiction from Martin Stanley who cleverly uses multiple POVs in a way that is reminiscent of Elmore Leonard and mixes humour with grit just as smartly.