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Layer Cake


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About the Author

J. J. Connolly was born and brought up in north-east London. His first published story was in the Brit Pulp! anthology. He is the author of the bestselling Layer Cake which he adapted into a film script for Sony Pictures and directed by Michael Vaughn as well as the sequel Viva La Madness.


The worst thing about drug dealing, whether you're a classy top dealer trading millions or a down-and-out street pusher, is that you have to relate to a lot of total idiots - loudmouths and tough-guy wannabes who aren't afraid to "get nicked by old bill and thrown in the boob" (arrested by police and jailed). The unnamed main character of Connolly's flawless, lightning-swift pulp crime drama - rich in the language of the British underworld - is a smoothly diplomatic 29-year-old cocaine dealer who has earned a respected place among England's Mafia elite. He manages high-level trafficking with a tough old veteran partner, Mister Mortimer, a man who has seen his share of prison and deadly fights. Just as the young dealer is eyeing an early retirement from the business, big boss Jimmy Price hands down a tough assignment: find Charlotte Ryder, the missing rich princess daughter of Jimmy's old pal Edward, a powerful construction business player and gossip papers socialite. Complicating matters are two million pounds' worth of Grade A ecstasy, a brutal neo-Nazi sect and a whole series of double crossings. Navigating the many levels of the international underworld, Connolly convincingly chronicles his anti-hero's transformation from a turn-the-other-cheek diplomat to a revenge-charged hit man, setting his sights on anyone who stands in his way. It's the good bad guys against the bad bad guys in this brilliantly crafted, linguistically dense, European wise-guy tale, and readers will find themselves funning for the triumph of lesser evil. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

'A storming piece of work... the novel has a grasp of street argot unparalleled since Kinky Friedman first sashayed out of his from door and nailed a checker straight out of the bat.'

-- D. J. Taylor

'Connolly's style is fast and funny and just frightening enough to make you sit up all night finishing the book.'

* Independent on Sunday *

'One novel in and Connolly has hit the jackpot, jump-started British crime fiction into the present... Like good drug fiction you're given glamour and squalor, a voyeuristic thrill, and the bill.'

* Uncut *

For those who suspect that the British mob scene is all a matter of splendid talk (? la Bill James and Jake Arnott), additional evidence is supplied by Connolly's dark, quirky first novel, which offers up the verbal "layer cake" that is class-conscious British society, from its plummiest Oxbridge tones to Cockney rhyming slang. What plot there is has to do with the attempt of its nameless 29-year-old go-getter narrator to retire by age 30 alive. When he's introduced to crime boss Jimmy Price, a smoothie who floats effortlessly between the glossy pages of Hello magazine and the underbelly of London's Soho, the narrator thinks he spies his chance. Of course, it's not that easy. The promise of a forthcoming movie starring Daniel Craig and Michael Gambon is the cherry on top of this tasty tidbit. For all larger public libraries. Connolly lives in London. Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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