24 July 2011

Review: THE FAMILY, Martina Cole - audio book

  • Narrated by Nicola Duffett
  • Originally published 2010
  • Released on Audible.com May 2011
  • Publisher: Headline Digital
  • Length: 5 hours
  • Source: a gift - another one picked up at CrimeFest 2011. A publisher donation I think.
Publisher's Blurb

Phillip Murphy is a family man. He worships his old mum; he takes care of his siblings who help run his business empire; he dotes on his two young sons who will one day take over. And then there's his wife and saviour, Christine, whom he loves with a vengeance. To Phillip Murphy, family is everything.
Christine has always understood this about her husband. But there is another side to Phillip, and it's a side he never wanted his wife to see. Though even if she did, could she do anything but stand by him? Because Phillip has rules, and he expects loyalty from his nearest and dearest. Once you're in the family, you're in it for life.

My take

When Christina Booth falls in love with Phillip Murphy she has no idea what she is letting herself in for. Her mother is horrified that Christina wants to ally herself with a criminal family but Christina sees it as a way to escape. And before long she is part of "the family", pregnant at 16, and trapped just like Phillip's mother Veronica before her.

THE FAMILY is a very black book, hard and gritty, unusual because it is written from the point of view of an insider in a criminal family. Most books I read are written from the point of view of a detective or an investigator, looking at a criminal family from outside. Newcomers to the Murphy family like Christine tend to see how united it is, and to mistake its bonhomie for healthy togetherness. They don't at first realise that a veneer hides brutality and corruption. Even members of the family not cut out for the criminal life can't escape. And newcomers like Christine's parents Ted and Eileen Booth get sucked in by what the family can offer them. And once in, it is too late. Christine is making the same mistake her mother in law Veronica did before her and her daughter in law will make in her turn.

Nicola Duffet does an excellent job of the narration with terrific variety in the voices she uses.

The structure of the novel is unusual as it comes a full circle, starting with a prologue in current times and then going back to the beginning to explain how Christine had got to this point. In fact, after the CDs were finished we listened to the prologue again.

My rating: 4.5

Another review to check - do check it. It is very unusual.

The Guardian UK

About the author

Martina Cole has been publishing since 1992, and has 17 books under her belt. - see the list on Fantastic Fiction.
BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Best Novel winner (2006) : THE TAKE
Sainsbury's Popular Fiction Award Best Novel nominee (2007) : CLOSE

Some books with extracts including THE FAMILY.
Dangerous Lady website.

1 comment:

Maxine Clarke said...

I liked her first few books which I read as they came out, but after the first 4 or so (all told from POV of a criminal or family of a criminal) I got bored as they are identikit, so have not read any since.


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