The Edge by Jessie Keane - book review: Full of twists and turns, graphic horror and heart-rending sadness

The Edge by Jessie Keane
The Edge by Jessie Keane
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After years of trouble and turmoil, gangland family matriarch Ruby Darke is feeling particularly blessed with her life.

Her coffers are overflowing, she has been reunited with her long-lost twins, and is finally enjoying being a doting mother and an indulgent grandmother… but enemies are circling, and when you live on the edge, you may just die on it.

Welcome back to London in 1980 and another appointment – if you dare! – with the incomparable crime queen Jessie Keane’s unforgiving and uncompromising Ruby for a terrifying white-knuckle ride through the savagery of gang warfare.

Ruby Darke, the mixed race woman born into a rough, tough East End family but who rose high to run a retail empire and make it big in the criminal underworld, is back on the mean streets for more murder, betrayal and dirty dealing.

The Edge is the third novel in Keane’s gripping and gory Ruby Darke series, and the heart-thumping sequel to Nameless and Lawless in which readers followed the electrifying dramas of Ruby and her chalk-and-cheese twins Kit and Daisy.

Here we find Ruby taking some rare time-out to relish both the world she has built for her family and the forthcoming wedding of daughter Daisy to her gangland twin brother Kit’s right-hand man and best friend Rob Hinton.

Her mind sharper than a razor blade, Ruby has had to fight her way to the top from humble beginnings. She became the queen of a London retail empire but she didn’t get there by obeying the law, and her reputation as the beautiful ice queen has now evolved into ‘something deadly.’

After years of separation from her children, cool, dark, watchful Kit is running the businesses, both ‘legit’ and criminal, with Ruby still playing a key part, while blonde, beautiful Daisy, who has twin sons from her disastrous first marriage, is looking forward to settling down with Rob.

But when a supermarket wages van is hijacked on Kit’s ‘manor’ and £3million lifted from a firm that pays protection money to his outfit, it looks like someone is deliberately playing dirty.

Worse is yet to come when a shocking event brings Ruby’s family to their knees… the Darke family have hidden enemies but they are determined that someone is going to pay for it, even if it means dicing with death.

Keane, who has lived at both ends of the social spectrum, has a wicked eye for the ruthless, fiercely factional criminal underworld and her books never fail to thrill and enthral. Diamond sharp dialogue and superbly fleshed-out characters give an intensely human and emotional credibility to all the fast-paced action and breathtaking brutality.

Every story she writes transports us into the heart of a terrifying but addictive underworld, and into the lives of people of every shade… from loving, loyal and devoted to fearsome, merciless and downright evil.

Full of twists and turns, graphic horror and heart-rending sadness, The Edge is dark, deadly and unmissable!

(Macmillan, hardback, £12.99)