Layla by Nina de la Mer is a gripping and gritty slice of London noir on a par with Hamilton’s Hangover Square or Kersh’s Night and the City but with a lot more heart. I loved it.
Here’s the blurb: ‘Introducing an unforgettable heroine for our times, Nina de la Mer’s bold and unflinching novel captures the mood of an urban generation, seduced by celebrity and fuelled by drink, drugs and pornography. Arriving in London, Hayleigh finds work as lap dancer ‘Layla’, intent on earning enough cash to make a fresh start. She has the wit, the looks and skilful moves, exploiting men before they can exploit her. But over the course of a chaotic week she must make the biggest decision of her life and fight for the one thing she truly wants. This is a brilliant and moving novel, imaginatively powerful and authentically conceived. Thirty years after the resounding success of Jay McInerney’s Bright Lights, Big City, and written in a similarly intense second-person narrative, Layla speaks for a new generation.’