On Amazon UK
How I discovered this book: It was submitted to Rosie Amber's Book Review Team , of which I am a member.
Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice. The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.
Robert White is a talented writer, and what I liked most about this book is its authenticity. It is always clear when a writer truly knows the world and characters he has created; this is no chronicle of inner city crime attempted by a middle class scribe from the suburbs relying on research to produce a lucrative piece of gangster-lit. The plot is interesting and the novel well structured; White understands the building of suspense and how to keep the reader turning the pages; the pace is perfect, the dialogue realistic, and the characters are all three-dimensional. I was impressed that he can write convincing women, too.
So why only three stars? Sadly, Mr White has been let down by his publisher. The book does not appear to have been either edited or proofread with any kind of professionalism, experience, knowledge or care. There are numerous punctuation errors on every single page (missing vocative commas is the most common error) as well as typos, spelling mistakes ('hand-full' instead of 'handful', for instance), and missed words. Sometimes, the lack of punctuation actually changes the meaning of a sentence:
"He was just asking Eddie," chipped in Tony.
...which reads as though a third person was just asking Eddie something; in fact, Tony is telling Eddie that the person was 'just asking'. Thus, the correct version:
"He was just asking, Eddie," chipped in Tony.
As far as the editing is concerned, there are many instances of exposition, 'telling not showing', and unnecessary or perhaps slightly amateur sentences. For instance: 'Frankie was the epitome of the Italian gangster caricature. He hunched his narrow shoulders, tucked in his elbows, palms up. "Like, y'know...Blondie...Boomtown.".
Any editor worth their salt would have removed the first sentence; it is 'telling not showing' and superfluous, as Robert White has depicted Frankie's gesture perfectly, without it. Never mind the lack of spaces before and after the ellipses; they probably should have been commas or full stops, anyway.
In short, the lack of work on this novel turned the reading of it into something of a chore, rather than the enjoyable experience it should (and would) have been, otherwise. A shame, indeed.