When he is seventeen Eddie Savage learns two things: the first is that his brother Steve has been working undercover. The second is that his brother is dead. Eddie is suspicious about the circumstances of Steve's death and decides to follow in his footsteps, taking on a job to infiltrate the Kelly family and try to find out more about Tommy Kelly, the boss. He does this through Tommy's beautiful daughter, Sophie - but is he falling for her? And is he getting in too deep?
This was a BRILLIANT book! The undercover and shady world of Tommy Kelly, and the equally rather sinister department trying to get their man, are brought to pulse-pounding life by the intimate style of first person perspective writing. We are in Eddie's head the whole time, watching through his eyes and feeling the pain and panic of the events that he gets caught up in.
The style of writing is as though someone had sat you down and was telling you this story verbally, which makes it compelling and insistent to read. I devoured this book in two sittings - and it would have been one if I hadn't had to do my day job goddamit! I started it on my lunch hour at work, and found myself immediately caught up in Eddie's life, to the point that I was almost late returning to work because I wanted to read just a little more.
There are some harrowing scenes in Long Reach, some that shocked me to the core. Peter Cocks does not hold back in his portrayal of the very nasty world of underground crime. I actually found myself cringing as I read the book, wanting to look away but not being able to.
For me, the best part of Long Reach is Eddie wondering about his own moral compass. As he is drawn into the Kelly family and their daily life, he finds himself enjoying their company and is forced to address those ideas that no one is completely evil. Crime bosses will go home and enjoy time with their families, cooking Sunday lunches and taking dogs for a walk. As Eddie's moral compass becomes confused, I found myself contemplating the ideas that he is dwelling on, which provides a real warmth to this novel which was in danger of being all glamour and no heart.
I also loved the ending - there are no clean final scenes where Eddie is sat down and everything explained. We leave Eddie hanging - and this tremendous climax makes me want the second book NOW! Write faster Mr Cocks!
DEFINITELY read this book. It is brilliant, heart-stopping fun, with a fantastic protagonist in the form of Eddie Savage. Awesome compelling writing that deserves to be widely read. Go buy it now!