Review: Mickey's War by Sandra Prior (4.5/5)

Thursday 4 December 2014
It’s been fifteen years since Mickey Taylor – known as “Dangerous” in the seedy East End – was released from prison. Now, he and his brother, Martin, are living off the successes of one of the biggest underground criminal networks in all of London.

Since all of the crime is hidden behind legitimate businesses, Mickey should be able to breathe a sigh of relief. He should be able to sit back and enjoy the fruits of his labor. But as Mickey has learned over the years, once you start to get comfortable, your world turns upside down. It happened first when Mickey’s father was killed, and then again when Mickey’s mother died.

This time, it’s greed that sends Mickey’s life spiraling out of control.

As soon as London is awarded the 2012 Olympics, his mind flashes to a plot of land in Stratford that the Taylor family has owned for 40 years. Always looking for an earner, Mickey figures he can make a massive fortune by selling the land now. So, he decides to evict the man and his family living on it – none other than family friend Frankie, a man known on the streets as the King of the Gypsies. However, things get anything but friendly when Frankie refuses to find a new spot for his thriving scrap metal business. Instead of backing down, Frankie vows to destroy Mickey if he tries to move forward with his eviction plans.

Mickey can’t focus all of his attention on this latest feud, though. While he’d love nothing more than to bury Frankie and make his fortune, he gets pulled off course by a drug shipment that’s been hijacked. In the blink of an eye, Mickey is forced to fight two major foes at the same time. It’s the ultimate war on two fronts.

He’s well-versed in danger, but has he taken on too much this time? Will Mickey’s war drag him down for good?

I seem to be repeating myself in my reviews, but after reviewing almost 200 books this year I'm starting to realise there's only so many ways I can say I like a book! Mickey's War is a book that immediately jumped out at me on Amazon. It's very much a Martina Cole type book, and in recent years this genre has really taken off with a number of authors actually writing better than Cole has in recent years. This is book three in a series continuing the story of the Taylor family but it can absolutely be read as a standalone, I haven't read the previous two books in the series but am hoping to very soon!

As a fan of East London, I really liked the sound of this book from its blurb. Set in 2005, London has just been awarded the Olympics. Local villain Mickey Taylor soon sees pound signs as he remembers about the plot of land his family own, which just so happens to be slap bang in the middle of where the Olympic Park is going to be built. It's not just a case of selling the land however, years ago Mickey's father allowed Frankie, King of the Gypsies to make the land his home, which he now also runs businesses from. Frankie vows to destroy Mickey if he attempts to reclaim the land. Not only that but two of his men are gunned down and his drugs stolen. Mickey soon finds himself at war, with Frankie and with at first unknown enemies who are determined to bring him down. The story starts as it means to go on, and we get straight into the action right at the start of the book.

Sandra has created realistic and believable characters. Mickey on the surface is an evil character, seemingly not bothered by committing murder, or the various other illegal acts that he commits. Yet as with most of the best villains, there was just something likeable about him at times that stopped me as a reader from hating him altogether. Multiple viewpoints give us an insight into his world from the eyes of his family, and various other characters that make up the story. There's characters you will sympathise with but also ones that you will hate. It's clear from the beginning that Sandra isn't afraid to push the boundaries, taking the story to places other authors might shy away from. It's dark, gritty, bloody yet completely realistic, which just adds to the overall authenticity of the book. If I had to pick up on one thing it would be that at times I felt the dialogue didn't suit certain characters, sometimes it felt what they were saying wouldn't suit a gangster but those times weren't very often.

This book is very addictive, written in a way that just demands you read on, which means you won't be getting a lot done once you start this book. Right up until the end I was hooked, and a brilliant and shocking ending left me dying for more. The next book cannot come quick enough but until then I can't wait to go back and read Sandra's previous books. Fans of Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers yet to read Sandra Prior should definitely do so immediately. This books comes highly recommended by me!

Thanks to Sandra Prior for the review copy. 

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