DEAD SIT ROUND IN A RING By DAVID LAWRENCE
A BOOK REVIEW BY ALEX GRANT.
BOOKS / Soft Covers
@ $ 11.99 CAN. / March 2003.
This first crime-suspense
novel by an established poet and scriptwriter from Britain, David Lawrence,
is remorseless and completely plausible, depicting gangland London with
unflinching brutality. The protagonist DS Stella Mooney is a tireless
pursuer of justice haunted by nightmares about a lost child and a woman
who takes to the trenches of police work with startling stamina. Mooney,
who relies upon psychiatric counseling, is a careworn child of poverty-ridden
slums who knows intimately that world of utter drudgery and constant
sordidness. She relives it in her mind non-stop.Her specialized knowledge
of the dregs of society brings her up against the Tanners, sadistic
purveyors of flesh who enslave women from Eastern Europe as hookers,
and who are menaced by no less vicious crooks from the former Bosnia-Serbia,
a crucible and cauldron for stone-cold killers and hard-core assassins
of the worst kind.
This appalling clash of cultures, with rape-victim refugees as the center-piece
of the well-paced drama, is captured by writer Lawrence with consistent
sensitivity and an affectionate ear for the everyday living that helps
comfort the law enforcement personnel during their daily grind. Mooney
is both helped and hindered in her quest to bring down the Tanners by
investigative journalist and busybody John Delaney, who tempts her to
abandon her one solid relationship with her lover George. There are
matters she cannot bring herself to discuss with George and John helps
her vent her demons, though she distrusts his profession deeply.
Stellas inbred assertiveness and blind ,dogged belief in herself,
time and again causes her grief, attacked by a pet ape, abducted by
a mad-dog killer, she seems invincible: either the victim of a death-wish
or a woman determined that no man can best her at her job. Yet she is
entirely believable as characterized by author Lawrence - as are her
kindly cohorts and her ferocious foes. All too believable much of the
time since THE DEAD SIT ROUND IN A RING has that echoing ring of authenticity
and benefits from the soul of a somber, serious writer who really does
care, and who very closely observes the teeming tumultuous lives around
him, particularly the low-lives caught in their cruel acts red-handed
and incorrigibly so.
© Alex Grant April 2003
all rights reserved