Jacqui Rose is an author I know well, I’ve read several of her books in the past, the last novel I read by her, Avenged, was back in 2014. Four years later, Toxic is published and Rose hasn’t missed a step!
Sometimes love is toxic…
Bree Dwyer is desperate to escape her husband, take the children and run. But he’s always watching. And she always gets caught. Until her first love, Alfie Jennings, returns to Essex…
Gangsters Alfie and Vaughn have been out of the game for a while, but a life of crime is one you never forget.
To get back on top they need serious money, because loyalty and power don’t come for free. One dangerous job and they’ll have the payoff they need. And Alfie isn’t going to let anyone get in the way, least of all a pretty face like Bree.
It’s time to show Essex what they’re made of. And this time, Alfie and Vaughn aren’t backing down.
If you enjoy gritty, gripping, gangland fiction, then Toxic needs to be on your radar. The plot is dark, sometimes violent, an engaging crime thriller with heart! If you love a good gangster novel, this doesn’t disappoint, there are some great characters to get behind and support, some characters to hate, and some characters your heart breaks for.
There’s so many little things I love about this novel, and together they make Toxic the perfect fit for me. Firstly, I love the location – spanning London and Essex, these are two areas I know well, the familiarity of these locations really help bring the story to life, creating the visuals. When a character is hauled up in Southend-on-Sea, or there’s talk of a known face in Soho – I can picture the setting these characters are in, and it makes this novel more ‘real’ to me. Also, the use of cockney rhyming slang, I don’t care who you are or where you’re from, you’ve got love a bit of cockney rhyming slang – in the gang life, you could end up brown bread [dead], if people don’t believe your jackanory [story].
A further thing, I love about this novel is the unwritten code these gangsters live by, amongst all the crime, they move heaven and earth to protect their women, and their families. I love seeing the vulnerable side to these gangsters. Alfie and Vaughn, that is, some of the characters in this novel have no code, they’re just evil through and through, that’s what gives this novel its dangerous edge, the unpredictability the unstable characters deliver. In fact, toxic is the apt word to describe some of these characters.
Having read previous novels by Rose, I was familiar with some of the main characters in this novel, and I was surprised to find, I remembered a bit about some of their lives from previous books. I don’t think you need to read Rose’s books in order but there is some continuity between them. I think I definitely gained more from this one, having previously read Avenged.
I’m so excited to hear that Rose has another book coming out in January 2019, Fatal, I’ll be reading that one for sure. If you’ve enjoyed any of Rose’s previous novels, then you’ll enjoy this one too. Toxic would also appeal to fans of authors such as Martina Cole, Kimberly Chambers and Casey Kelleher. I highly recommend Toxic, get yourself a cup of Rosie Lee [tea] and come and meet the gangsters of Essex.