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Chris High books reviewed

Hit Girls - Dreda Say Mitchell

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
ISBN-10: 9780340993217
ISBN-13: 978-0340993217

3 Mar 2011


Front cover of the book 'Hit Girls' written by Dreda Say Mitchell

Dreda Say Mitchell has got quite a following. She is highly regarded by many readers and critics and is seen as one of the bright new things in British crime fiction. Having not read any of her previous output I can’t comment on that but if Hit Girls is indicative of her style and quality then I am completely out of step with public opinion.

The discovery of ten-year-old twin sisters are murdered outside their school, everyone is shocked. But they aren't just anyone's kids, they are gangster Stanley Lewis' daughters. When a rival gangster is arrested Stanley vows to take revenge. But his dad, feared villain Kenny Lewis, thinks there's more going on. So he contacts the one group of people who he trusts to help him find the truth.

A story that begins with the tragic hit and run murder of twin girls as they leave their primary school and weaves its way through the London underworld, there is no cliché left unuttered. The tough nut woman with the heart of gold, the ex-con gone straight and respectable, the dynasty of gangsters with more familial problems than the Walford Mitchells. Without the background of her previous novels a lot of the characters feel shallow and unfulfilled but that may be my fault for starting the series on book five.

My biggest problem with the book is in the way that key plot points are unveiled. A hint is dropped, two pages later clarified, a page after that underlined, a page after that shouted from the rooftops in Dolby stereo. We get it. We got it the first time. The ones who weren’t paying attention got it the second time. It is all too easy to skim through half a dozen pages while characters fumble their way to a point that has already become clear.

This was a difficult book to review. The storyline is strong but the style of telling grated. In short - if you are a fan then you might enjoy it but I’ll give this one a miss, girl.

Iain Christie


 


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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
break the rules as I see fit.” - Chris High 2003.
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