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Looking back, Nick Leary couldn't say exactly what kept him awake that night. He'd had a lot on his mind; perhaps he'd been thinking about the 'respectable' Essex business that he ran, or about his two young sons sleeping in the room next door. Or was it simply the sound of his beautiful wife's steady breathing beside him . . . Whatever it was, he was awake when he heard someone's footsteps downstairs, and Nick's instinct was to fight. It had always been that way, to protect the things he treasured most: his family, his privacy, his reputation. He'd grafted for these things all his life and no one was going to jeopardise them now. Unless, of course, Nick's instinct is wrong, and what happens this time is the start of something even he cannot stop . . .
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Is The Graft up to Martina Cole’s usual standard? The unarguable success of her sizable tally of crime novels must be a source of envy to other practitioners. Almost from the beginning, she has gleaned praise for her gritty and pungent fiction. Even the very ordinary TV adaptations of such books as Dangerous Lady stripped no lustre from her reputation, when novels as good as The Know flowed from her pen. Her prose style is always pared down and vivid--which is, thankfully, still very much the case with The Graft.
Nick Leary is having trouble sleeping, what with sultry heat and business and family problems weighing on his mind. His wife is sleeping beside him, when he hears a noise downstairs--and soon he has to decide how much violence he will use to defend his home and family. The decision he makes is to change his life forever. Nick and his wife are taken to the very extremes of human behaviour--and he is obliged to decide how high a price he will pay to keep what he values most.
As ever, Cole exerts an effortless grip throughout her unsettling narrative. We’re used to her exuberantly characterised heroines, but the beleaguered Nick shows that’s she’s just as on-the-nail with her male characters. The edgy plotting has the kind of no-nonsense handling that is Cole's métier. Perhaps a touch more psychological strip-mining of her protagonists would have deepened her achievement, but what the hell--all the right buttons are pressed here.--Barry ForshawReview:
'There's some fascinating vernacular. The author is taking the reader into Irvine Welsh territory and beyond' Daily Telegraph, 4/12/04 (Daily Telegraph)
'A touch of the Tony Martins as Cole thrashes out the repercussions with very little guile but all the usual gumption' Mirror, 15/10/04 (Mirror)
'Her gripping plots pack a mean emotional punch, and this latest is no exception' Mail on Sunday, 17/10/04 (Mail on Sunday)
'Martina Cole deals with a gritty contemporary subject in an intelligent and compassionte way that's bound to make you think' Daily Express, 16/7/05 (Daily Express)
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