August 1966, the long hot summer of World Cup euphoria is suddenly shattered by a brutal crime that shocks a nation seemingly at ease with itself. Three characters' fates are irrevocably bound up with this event and consequences that reverberate across three decades. An ambitious detective dragged into intrigues of corruption. A gutter press journalist with a nose for a nasty story. And a disaffected petty criminal pushed over the edge by a violent crime that haunts him. An epic story that looks at morality and corruption on both sides of the law and at the very heart of the state.
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Jake Arnott was born in Buckinghamshire in 1961. He has worked as a labourer, a mortuary technician, a theatrical agent's assistant, an artist's life model and a sign language interpreter as well as enjoying many fruitful periods of unemployment. His acting experience has included work on the Fringe in London, Edinburgh and Toronto as well as improvised comedy. He is the author of two other novels, THE LONG FIRM and TRUECRIME.From Publishers Weekly:
Imagine a British version of James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential minus much of its imagination and blazing energy and you'll have some idea of this disappointing follow-up to Arnott's highly regarded 2001 debut thriller, The Long Firm (soon to be a BBC miniseries). Like Ellroy, Arnott chooses to tell his period story through multiple voices in this case, three young men whose lives and fates intertwine over the course of many years: Billy Porter, a soldier who becomes a criminal and winds up killing three police officers in 1966; Frank Taylor, an ambitious copper whose best friend and former partner was one of the victims; and Tony Meehan, a gay journalist with a psychotic streak. Using a real case (the killer's name was Harry Roberts, and British football hooligans and later Vietnam protestors used to sing, to the tune of "London Bridge Is Falling Down," "Harry Roberts is our friend,/ is our friend,/ is our friend./ Harry Roberts is our friend,/ He Kills Coppers!") and newsreel-like flashes from such actual events as the World Cup Final game between England and Germany and police raids on Soho vice dens, Arnott tries to paint a picture of a country crippled by moral decay, and usually succeeds in that department. Fans of the first book will recognize a few of the characters who make appearances here; the trouble is that none of the three protagonists is very interesting or original, and the words Arnott uses to bring their thoughts and feelings to life (Tony's "As I fought with my own personal Enemy Within I could content myself with voyeuristic pleasures in the slow surcease of my desperate longings" is fairly typical) fizzle rather than sizzle.
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