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Essex Boys: A Terrifying Expose Of The British Drugs Scene [Paperback]

Bernard O'Mahoney
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
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Book Description

3 April 2000
ESSEX BOYS is the brand new edition of the shocking bestseller known as SO THIS IS ECSTASY?. It is the true story of the rise of one of the most violent and successful criminal gangs of the 90's whose reign of terror was finally terminated when the three leaders were brutally murdered in their Range Rover one winter's evening. On their way they had built the drug-dealing organisation that which supplied the pill that killed Leah Betts. They were responsible for a wave of intimidation, beatings and murder. Until, it seems, they took one step too far. Now there is compelling evidence that the men convicted of shooting the dead men are innocent. Which means the real murderers are still at large. Bernard O'Mahoney was a key member of what has been one of the most feared gangs of the decade. His inside account of their cold-blooded violence reveals that facts can be more terryfing than fiction.

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Essex Boys: A Terrifying Expose Of The British Drugs Scene + Rise of the Footsoldier + Bloggs 19: The Story of the Essex Range Rover Triple Murders
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; New Ed edition (3 April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840182857
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840182859
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 14,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard O`Mahoney was born in Dunstable Bedfordshire in March 1960. Growing up O'Mahoney regularly bore the brunt of his father's psychotic violence. After a spell in the army, he served two prison sentences for wounding, before moving to Basildon and forming the Essex Boys firm, one of the most successful and violent criminal gangs in British history.


When O'Mahoney quit the firm, he received death threats from his partners, who were murdered less than a fortnight later. He was arrested in the aftermath of the triple murder but was never charged.


As he began to distance himself from his shady past, tragedy struck when his young wife died suddenly and, grieving, he spiralled out of control and ended up serving another spell in prison.


The Essex Boys firm has been the subject of three films and numerous books, but the gang's infamous activities are only one remarkable aspect of O'Mahoney's extraordinary life story. Since giving up his life of crime, O`Mahoney has become one of the UK`s best selling true crime authors.

Product Description

Amazon Review

"Violence is a messy business". Bernard O'Mahoney's words don't do justice to the casual brutality that litters his side of the Rettendon murders story. And justice, as opposed to man-made law, is his pre-occupation throughout. Standing toe-to-toe with Tony Thompson's account, Bloggs 19, what drives O'Mahoney's uneasy narrative is the belief that the two men jailed for the murder of three Firm members are innocent. One would be tempted to say that hoodlums assassinating hoodlums is itself a form of natural justice, and that Mick Steele and Jack Whomes were hardly angels, but that panders to the vengeful amorality endemic in that world. O'Mahoney was head doorman at Raquels nightclub in Basildon, where the ecstasy tablet was procured which killed Leah Betts. The dead girl's father holds O'Mahoney primarily responsible for her death, as he was aware of the drug dealing in the club. The first edition of this book, called "So This Is Ecstasy?", was initially withdrawn after Paul Betts objected to the use of the now-famous image of Leah on a life-support machine. Leah is one of the "victims" to whom the book is dedicated, while O'Mahoney's coldly staring eyes now fix you from the cover.

From Brooklyn to Basildon, tales of aggression, loyalty, squabbles and double-dealing swagger fascinate "straight people", many of whom derive a voyeuristic, vicarious thrill. O'Mahoney's flat flow of anecdotes, in which much is left unsaid, builds towards Leah's death, and his own exit from Firm life, with a grim, despairing predictability, but it becomes increasingly difficult to separate the man from the self-glamorising existence of debt-collectors, doormen and gangsters, and the culture of blame and punishment it promotes. In one telling incident, David Arnell, the quietest of doormen, suddenly snaps and badly beats up a customer, illustrating how the atmosphere of violence proves the strongest narcotic of all. O'Mahoney is also the author of Soldier of the Queen, a superior account, detailing his time serving in Northern Ireland, and which fills in much of the personal detail lacking here. Without that, this book-of-the-film-of-the-book, despite its lurid fascination, ultimately punches below its weight. --David Vincent


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8 JULY 1986. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping tale of real life gangsters 1 May 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Bernard explains his involvment with may of the UK's gangsters who had a strangle hold on the rave scene. A well written book that you will not be able to put down. It is interesting to read this after Dave Courtneys 'Stop the Ride' as there are a few conflicting stories.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essex Boys has ring of authnenticity. 23 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
During the early 90's I spent two wild and exciting years working on the doors in Blackpool's club-land. O'Mahoney's book captures perfectly the mood and culture of the time. The only difference in the characters of 'Essex Boys'and any 'Boys'from any other major club-scene are the names and faces, everything else is the same - the same drugs, same personalities, same muscles, and yes, the same Range Rovers (or maybe a Shogun). The book proved completely fascinating to me as I felt that I could almost substitute the people whom I used to know with the main players in this story. O'Mahoney has produced a book written with honesty and integrity (often showing himself in a unsavoury light) that I feel will stand the test of time as a major insight into criminal gangs in the 90's, and the dark side of club culture. He manages to capture the often-curious mix of warmth, humour, and vulnerability present in club land faces, combined with their negative traits of greed, arrogance, and cold hardness. You can really tell that he has been there. For a contrast I recommend that you read 'Bloggs 19' by Tony Thompson. I must admit that I found this work seemed to be a little self-serving, and that the main protagonist appears most concerned to be seen in a good light-unlike O'Mahoney. I feel that the truth of what really happened to Tucker, Tate, and Rolfe lies somewhere in-between the two books, but if you had to plump for one of the two I would go for O'Mahoneys version.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Eye Opener 26 Jun 2007
By Don MKS
Format:Paperback
I originally bought this book about 5 years ago. Since that time, I have re-read it many times and can honestly say that this is a very interesting book.

This book is succesful in showing the reader that the underworld is not all money and glamour. This book highlights the true state of the murky underworld that is involved in narcotics and the devestating effect that it can have.

I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in True Crime.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars excellent insight of the notorious underworld. 21 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
It's crime as we all see at the movies dark and sinister, a true and moving exspose into the world of some true essex boys. Having come from the area and living five minutes away from where Bernard first lived, it gave me an insight of the lives of people who we see as our neighbours, and it makes you think, who can you trust?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Goodfellas in sunny Basildon 8 May 2000
By VicHoon
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Surely one of the most frightening snapshots of the British underworld. O'Mahoney's life as a doorman carried with it an everyday risk of extreme violence that often spilled out onto the streets.
The scary thing about this book is that it illustrates how the violence and evil perpetrated by a very small group of people affects many innocents.
There are some fascinating insights into some well-known "media gangsters", and the peculiar codes which they follow.
Much of what O'Mahoney says can be questioned: in particular, his motives behind some of his actions (where you have to read between the lines). But every event he relates his backed by facts, and he doesn't at least try to make excuses for the violence in which he often became involved.
This book won't win any literary prizes, but it is a gripping, insightful, frightening read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Answers questions for us Essex folk! 30 May 2013
By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
When the three men (Tate, Tucker and Rolfe) died in a cold blooded gangland execution I was, like many others both horrified and sickened. I am Essex based and many of the areas discussed have particular memories for me, Raquels nightclub, Hollywood nightclub etc. I never came across these men in my time there, possibly because I was never a drug user unlike some of my peers. Even nearly 20 years on this case still both appalls and fascinates me because of it's locality so close to home.

This book gives the background story behind the murders and tells of how the drug empire was managed in the Essex area and makes no bones about detail, like many others I witnessed the image of the badly damaged Leah Betts who never recovered following her ingestion of an Ecstasy tablet at Raquels. Reading how this drug empire was managed and the people who were injured along the way is horrific. There is no doubt that the three men who died were all major players in a vast criminal empire. Despite this, the way they died was brutal and it fills me with horror to this day. The best that can be said is that their deaths removed three highly dangerous men from society and that perhaps there are people alive today simply because these men are dead. This is scant comfort to their loved ones though :( .
Now nearly 20 years on there are two men serving life sentences for their murders, to date I am uncertain of their guilt although both were evidently well involved in a criminal life. This does not mean they should be forgotten if indeed they are victims of a miscarriage of justice.
More than anything it is a small comfort to know that some who were involved in the scene at he time took a look at themselves and the people they were associating with as a result of these murders.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Essex Boys: A Terrifying Expose Of The British Drugs Scene
watched the film about the Essex boys how the drugs world got hold of them and this is a must a very good read the drug scene
Published 2 days ago by jamish
5.0 out of 5 stars top book
top book, at least you get to find out abit more of the truth from this book, and esp when it comes from a man that new the guys and how they worked, well worth a read guys
Published 2 months ago by mr machin
5.0 out of 5 stars Well received.
Bought as a Christmas present and was very well received. Looking forward to borrowing it when friend finished with it.
Published 3 months ago by Optimist
5.0 out of 5 stars real deal
This is as real as it gets , working the door and control of a night club . Bernard o Mahoney one of the very few who have managed this.
Published 4 months ago by nu nu
5.0 out of 5 stars a gripping read
excellent read as are always books by this author,and have read many books on this subject and others very similar
Published 4 months ago by DiDi
5.0 out of 5 stars great
haveing read the book before I wanted to read the others to along with it still the best of them by far
Published 6 months ago by andrew leitch
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing can't put it down!! Brilliant read!!
Can't put it down even my husband read it and he never reads,he read it in 4hours!! Brilliant!!!! Very interesting!!
Published 9 months ago by Shezza
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
Whether what is written is true or not. A very gripping read from start to finish and I found it to be an interesting other side to the coin to that of Carlton Leach's version of... Read more
Published 10 months ago by liam hoyle
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
It was a moving book about his life and is very worth buying and hope he is happy now with his family
Published 10 months ago by jake wise
4.0 out of 5 stars Essex boys
Great book about gangsters who stepped outside their domain and got capped by some bigger players. Good story, well written and a very good read. Read more
Published 11 months ago by daniel carrigan
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