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Raven
by Sam Michaels
Review

RAVEN – (Georgina Garrett #5)

Cover image of the book 'Raven' by author Sam MichaelsShe’s out of retirement – and out for revenge

When Georgina Garrett wakes in the night to find intruders in her house, she knows she must do everything she can to keep her children safe.

But just when she thinks the ordeal is over, she realises something is terribly wrong.

She arrives at her crime-lord husband David Maynard’s London house to find a bloodbath. Six of David’s best men lie dead and he is nowhere to be found.

Georgina may have walked away from the game but she’s still the best player on the street.

Now, she will stop at nothing to get her husband back and to make whoever took him pay for ever daring to set foot in her town.

Cover image of the book 'Raven' by author Sam Michaels

SAM MICHAELS

Image of author Sam MichaelsSam Michaels writes gritty gangland sagas set in Battersea, South London, which is where she was born and bred, the council estates being her playground.

After leaving school at sixteen with no qualifications, Sam married soon after and had a son. The marriage ended quickly, and as a single mother, she worked in various retail positions until undertaking an Open University degree. This led to Sam becoming an analytical scientist and then into technical sales where she met her husband.

A few years later, they moved from Hampshire to Spain. It was then that her mother, the Sunday Times best-selling author, Kitty Neale, inspired Sam to put pen to paper. She now writes her novels in sunnier climates with the company of her husband, four dogs and six cats.

More recently and due to ill health, Sam now co-authors the Kitty Neale titles, alongside writing her own books.

Follow Sam on Twitter

Connect with Sam on Facebook

Cover image of the book 'Raven' by author Sam Michaels

FIRST LINES

ONE

JUNE 1949 KENT

“Georgina Garrett pushed herself up in her large bed, turned and punched her feather pillow before huffing and picking up the alarm clock from the bedside table. She checked the time. Half past three in the morning. She never slept soundly in her country house in Kent when her husband, David Maynard, was away working in London. Thank goodness he didn’t go as often these days. Just twice a week to check on the business and give out his orders”

Cover image of the book 'Raven' by author Sam Michaels

MEMORABLE LINES

“She’d moved her family to the Kent countryside to raise her children in fresh air and away from a life of crime. Yet the dirtiness and bloodshed of her past had followed her”

.

“It’s all my fault. I swear, Mary, I attract death. From as far back as I can remember, death has followed me…”

.

“He’d never shown anyone mercy before but David Maynard was different and Thomas had come to realise that he could learn a lot from London’s most revered gangster. In a twisted way, he respected the man and wanted to glean his knowledge”

Cover image of the book 'Raven' by author Sam Michaels

REVIEW

“She’s out of retirement – and out for revenge”

“Gang Lit” is not a genre everyone will enjoy, so before I begin to extol the virtues of this  hard-hitting storyline, I feel I must make some reference to the tone and content of the narrative and dialogue, for those readers of a more sensitive nature, who might not be comfortable with the language, violence and sexual references. They are an intrinsic part of the culture and a true representation of a way of life, however they are never used gratuitously and always with complete deference, empathy and sympathy to the storyline.

OMG! My eyes were standing out on stalks most of the time I was reading this story. I have taken part in Blog Tours for the previous four books in the ‘Georgina Garrett’ series, however they have only featured short, shared extracts and I have to admit that I have never had the luxury of time to read them all the way through, although after this, I shall definitely be revisiting them all. This full review request for part five of the gangland saga, was therefore not quite what I was expecting it to be, although I have no real idea what I actually was expecting. Yes, it is obvious that the book is an episode within an established series, however it really does work fine as a stand alone story, as any necessary background detail is added in at exactly the right moment, so that I never felt short-changed about what was what and who was who; whilst at the same time the backstory never detracts from the latest action, or wastes any valuable word space.

My first three criteria for a memorable read were most definitely met with resounding success: From the very first page this story hits the ground running and the action kicks in immediately. From then on, the pace is relentless, this is definitely a real pot-boiler, although relatively short chapters do add some welcome natural breaks giving me a little time to draw breath and reorganise my thoughts and emotions. I made the mistake on more than one occasion of thinking that the ending was close, when in fact the characters were merely regrouping for yet one more last stand, so by the time the final scene played out, all those little loose ends were neatly packaged and tied up. However my fourth personal criteria really does dictate, that as the main protagonist, you can’t end up dead, so without giving anything else away, that’s what makes this storyline quite unique and interesting, and blows my theory out of the water, in a round about kind of way – can’t say any more for fear of inadvertently letting slip spoilers!!

As a society, we are so inured to the ‘news of the moment’ snatches we see and hear in the media, when we are really led to believe that gang culture, gun and knife crime, drug dealing and prostitution, child trafficking and sexual exploitation, are modern day cultural and societal issues, often racially aggravated. Whereas, in fact, this series tells a much more accurate account about the reality of a situation, which has existed for decades, albeit under the radar of the majority of the population.

This gritty, well structured, multi-layered, intense and highly textured story, was fluently narrated in the third person, through multiple perspectives and across three separate timelines, between 1939 – 1953. It was rich in an atmosphere which was constantly tense, on edge and claustrophobic, therefore not making for relaxing reading, even when the dark clouds lifted briefly and I was treated to the odd moment or two of what passed for light-hearted banter. The narrative and dialogue was as raw, brutal and uncompromising as the action; yet seamless, fluid and always true to itself, making me want to keep turning the pages, but frightened of what I was going to discover happened next.

The author has a powerful, perceptive and compelling visual depth to her writing, which offered a real sense of time and place, making me a casual observer stood on the side-lines, witness to the gripping and disturbing savagery of retribution and retaliation, in a battle where, once all the dirty little secrets were revealed and avenged, there was destined to be only one victor, but with both sides knowing that there would always be new blood waiting in the wings to challenge the winner, as the wheel of fate and chance turned inexorably on. Revenge is always sweet in this ever changing and evolving parallel underworld, which thankfully so few of us ever get to know or see.

Sam has created and wonderfully defined, a multi-faceted cast of volatile, complex and unreliable characters it is almost impossible for most people to relate to, identify or engage with, or invest in. With their unwritten code of duplicitous and manipulative ethics, they do have a unique synergy with each other and they are addictively and uncompromisingly authentic and genuinely believable, in the roles they have been chosen for. Their individual and collective voices are so strong, that they demand to tell their own story and do so fearlessly, with only the slightest guidance from the pen of the author.

NOoo! The penultimate sting in the tail was something I never saw coming and whilst part of me might think that ‘what goes around, comes around’, it was still jaw-droppingly, gut-wrenchingly and sickeningly sad! That very final twist was not quite so unexpected, but equally mind-blowing, and does it potentially pave the way for a whole new spin-off series?

In author Sam Michaels’s world “The female of the species is definitely more deadly than the male”

Alternative image of author Sam Michaels

A Kindle download of this book for review and promotional purposes, was kindly gifted to me by the publisher, Aries/Aria Fiction, with the download being facilitated by NetGalley.

Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article which promotes this book or its author.

I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a well deserved 5 out of 5 stars!

 

Written by
Yvonne

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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10 comments
    • This is definitely gang warfare and goodness help anyone who comes between them – there is no such thing as an innocent bystander!

      If you want an action packed storyline and don’t mind how messy things get, then this is definitely one for you!

      Happy Tuesday 🙂

  • I’m glad this series is still “doing it”‘ for you! I didn’t realize you hadn’t read the first ones in their entirety. I bet you’ll zip through them when you do.

    I’m currently reading the second Flora Steele mystery. I’m enjoying it so far!

    • I really do want to retrace my steps to the earlier books in this series, although they can be read as stand alone stories, so all is not lost if I can’t make the time!

      I hope to get to ‘Murder on the Pier’ soon after Christmas, or at least I need to, because book#3 is due out in March and I wouldn’t mind taking part in the Blog Tour for that one, but we’ll have to see.

      I am getting rather bogged down and stressed out with it all again now, with the amount of requests which keep piling in from publishers and publicists, who are not always very understanding when you try to say ‘no’ nicely!

      It’s nice to be popular, but there are limits 🙂

      • I thought it was good, but I know you don’t need more on your TBR pile!

        You must learn to say NO firmly to those publishers! Reading should be a pleasure and not a burden (which explains why I don’t review much anymore).

  • Well, I learned something new here today. I had no idea there was a genre called Gang Lit. How did I miss that?

    I love a good story no matter what genre it falls into. My family swears I’ll read anything, and they’re almost right. I can’t resist the written word– from aspirin labels to Tolstoy. If it’s well-written, I’m there.

    • I’m the same, the only genres I am not too keen on are erotica, fantasy and science fiction, although sci-fi is the only one I tend to steer clear of completely. I don’t even understand ‘Star Trek’, ‘Dr Who’, or ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’! 🙂

      I have to admit that I struggle with the seemingly endless amount of genres and sub-genres. It appears that absolutely everything has to have a label attached to it these days! I recently also came across ‘Cli-Fi’, which was another new one to me!

      I really enjoyed the good honest to goodness gangland culture which Sam writes about so well. Her characters are honest to their culture and the storylines are completely believable.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I hope that all is well with you 🙂

  • You are very right, gangs like the modern ones did the same thing 80-90 years ago and 150 years ago and so on. I read in a book about tea on tea smuggling and what horrors gangs were doing about 200-300 years ago. It might be meth instead of tea, but the methods are pretty similar.
    I am intrigued about the book. Also, I’m delighted you liked it so much.

    • Too True!

      The gangs did, and always will continue to, prey on the vulnerable and disadvantaged in society.

      Whilst the merchandise might adapt and change with time, the desired results will always be the same – power and money!

      This particular story was made even more interesting and intriguing by the fact that a woman has now stepped into what was a very male dominated domain. She is doing what she can to feed her family and heaven help anyone who steps in her way!

      Loved this one, as you can probably tell!

      Have a great weekend 🙂

Written by Yvonne

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