Back in the 1980’s Diana Davis found herself, after the death of her infamous bank-robbing husband, as head of one of the most notorious families known in the gangland underworld. She may have been a woman in a predominately man’s world, but there was no one brave enough to mess with her.
Naturally, her son Angus Junior was always destined to follow in the family business, however, as a youngster, he was a right pain in the arse, not listening and getting himself into some serious bother as a result. Diana found her patience lacking at times. She was well respected in certain circles and she had hoped that her son would one day take over the family business but he was beginning to get a reputation; one that wouldn’t necessarily sit well with her counterparts. If he really wanted to be a ‘face’ and take over the family enterprise, he needed to pay attention to what she was saying.
“The problem was that her son and heir was a loose cannon. He needed a wake-up call, and she was going to make sure that he had one. You had to be cruel to be kind sometimes. She would give him something to think about, and she would wait and observe how he dealt with it.” (Page 17)
Then everything changed overnight. Someone had put a hit of Jimmy and Christo Fernandez, two of Diana’s dogsbodies who supplied cocaine to the clubs around London. This meant things suddenly felt very personal, but unlike others, Diana did not hide away, she instead wanted to make a statement. One that said, no one messes with me and gets away with it. She was a woman that would show no mercy to those that were personally attacking her and her own.
It was during this time that Angus finally decided to listen, determined to make a name for himself. He concocted a plan which saw him heading out to Marbella in Spain, to organise and run the drug circuit out there. He had one simple plan in life, he wanted to become the face of all faces; he wanted people to know who he was and be afraid of him. It was a plan he was sure he would achieve.
While Angus believed he would become the big man in Spain, it seems others may have different ideas.
Willy McCormack was well known in Marbella as the one that both sells and uses his own products. He also had a thing for the working girls, making sure he showed the string of new girls a good time. His wife wasn’t stupid, she knew exactly what he was getting up to but she also appreciated the fact that these girls disappeared just as quickly as they arrived. This knowledge was widespread which meant that Angus also quickly became aware of his weaknesses, and of course, went on to flaunt them for his own gain.
After he succeeds in Spain, Angus returns to Britain to continue to grow his empire and marry the love of his life, Lorna. He wants to give her the world and makes sure that she wishes for nothing. His triumphs in business also mean that his children will grow up not only having everything they want but also have a family business to inherit. The question is, will they want to?
Will his three children want to work alongside him or will they turn their backs and deceive him in the worst possible way?
My Thoughts on No Mercy
This is a novel that has had mixed reviews and I can see why. If you have never read a Martina Cole novel before, picking No Mercy up will see you entering into a gritty, criminal underworld of immortality and deception that is likely to shock and disturb you with both the plotline and her sometimes offensive language. If however, you are a die-hard fan, you may pick up this novel and begin to see a crossover of themes with similar characters and a slightly repetitive storyline. Regardless, I still enjoy how she creates tension and how the plot unfolds to an unforgivable revelation right at the very end. The short chapters allow for a quick, fast-paced, easy read although this does sometimes mean that a particular plot twist takes several chapters to develop and character development can be a bit sparse in places.
However, for those that are so quick to put words in a review and relentlessly criticise, I throw a word of caution. In recent years, Martina Cole has become known as a leading writer of the crime genre, and therefore at some point, we have to expect that her work may show signs of overlapping. If however, you feel that you could do a better job, perhaps you need to put pen to paper. Alternatively, maybe it’s time to lay off crime fiction for a while.
For anyone that has ever listened to a true-crime podcast or watched a TV show where real killers are hunted down, No Mercy has a plausible plot. Crime buffs will often read about how people become entwined in the gangland culture and how families grow up to know no different. We have all watched or read about the Kray Twins and what their world looked like.
If I am being brutally honest, however, the chances of me remembering this as a stand out read are slim mainly because I am a real fan of her earlier works – The Ladykiller, Dangerous Lady, The Runaway, and Maura’s Game. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it, especially if you are new to Martina Cole and not easily offended, but it did seem to lack some of her usual brilliance.
Have you read any Martina Cole novels? Are you a lover of the fictional criminal underworld? Did you read No Mercy and really enjoy it?
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