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Powder Wars: The Supergrass who Brought Down Britain's Biggest Drug Dealers [Paperback]

Graham Johnson
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

6 Oct 2005

Gangster Paul Grimes was a one-man crimewave with a breathtaking capacity to steal. Any villains who got in his way were made to pay - often with their blood. But when his son died of a drugs overdose, the old-school mobster swore revenge on the new generation of Liverpool-based heroin and cocaine dealers. Against all odds, he turned undercover informant.

The first gangster to fall foul of Grimes' change of heart was Curtis Warren, aka 'Cocky', the wealthiest and most successful criminal in British history. Grimes infiltrated his cocaine cartel and led Customs to the largest narcotics seizure on record, putting Warren in the dock in the drugs trial of the twentieth century.

After turning his attention to heroin baron John Haase, Grimes rose to become the boss of the villain's notoriously bloodthirsty 'security firm' - a professional gang of racketeers addicted to cocaine, explosive violence and non-stop criminality. But as his net began to tighten, Grimes was confronted with the ultimate dilemma. He discovered his second son was now a rising star in the drugs business. The life-or-death question was: should he shop him or not?

Powder Wars also reveals the secrets behind one of the most controversial episodes in British judicial history - how former Home Secretary Michael Howard was duped into granting John Haase a Royal Pardon.

Today, Paul Grimes has a £100,000 contract on his head and is a real-life dead man walking. Powder Wars is a riveting account of modern gangsters told in brutal detail.


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Powder Wars: The Supergrass who Brought Down Britain's Biggest Drug Dealers + Cocky: The Rise and Fall of Curtis Warren, Britain's Biggest Drugs Baron + The Cartel: The Inside Story of Britain's Biggest Drugs Gang
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; New Ed edition (6 Oct 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840189258
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840189254
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 16.3 x 1.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,283 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Johnson is a best-selling author and investigative journalist who has contributed to a variety of publications including News of the World, Sunday Mirror, The Observer, Vice, The Guardian and Liverpool Echo. Johnson is also an award-winning documentary maker. He often publishes crime stories under several different bylines. He is also a media personality, frequently appearing on Sky and BBC as a crime pundit and reporter. He has also made documentaries for Sky, Panorama and Germany's ARD. For Vice, Johnson has produced three documentaries: Fraud and The Debt Collector which are based on his own investigations. The Debt Collector was based on his books The Cartel and Young Blood. He also produced Bare Knuckle for Vice. He worked at the Sunday Mirror from 1997 to 2005 and for six years was the newspaper's Investigations Editor. He has been a finalist for "Reporter of the Year" three times and been described in parliament as an "investigative reporter supreme". Johnson has covered stories including drug dealing in Britain, people smuggling in Europe, child slavery in India and Pakistan, and war in the Balkans. To research his debut novel, Johnson spent several years on and off embedded with some of Britain's most notorious gangs. He currently lives in London. His books have been published by Mainstream Publishing and Simon and Schuster and his literary agent is Jon Elek at AP Watt.

Bibliography[edit]
Non-fiction (true crime)

Powder Wars (2004)
Druglord (2005)
Football and Gangsters (2006)
The Devil (2007)
Darkness Descending (2009)
Hack (2012)
The Cartel (2012)
Young Blood (2013)
Novels

Soljas (2010)
Gang War (2011)

Product Description

Review

"'The best gangster book of modern times' - Donal MacIntyre"

"An astonishing story' - Sunday Mirror"

"'Graham Johnson has refused to let the subject drop . . . Powder Wars is a portrait of a true sadist [John Haase] for whom inflicting pain on those who crossed him was not only business but a personal pleasure' - New Statesman"

"'A compulsive read. Graham Johnson has a unique perspective on the world of major drug dealers. Working closely with him, I have seen how brave and well informed he is' - Peter Kilfoyle, MPand former Defence Minister"

"'The story reads like a film script - drugs, murder, a contract on his head and a real Hollywood twist at the end. A cut above the rest' ***** - Zoo Weekly"

From the Publisher

Powder Wars is the true story of the supergrass who brought down Britain's biggest drug dealers. Gangster Paul Grimes was a one-man crimewave with a breathtaking capacity to steal. Any villains who got in his way were made to pay - often with their blood. But when his son died of a drugs overdose, the old-school mobster swore revenge on the new generation of Liverpool-based heroin and cocaine dealers. Against all odds, he turned undercover informant.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read 5 Jan 2007
Format:Paperback
One of the best true crime books ive read, so much so i felt i had to review it. Undoubtedly Paul Grimes was a proper villain back in the day - his exploits with the 'Hole in the Wall gang' tell all. He turned his back on crime and became what every criminal says they despise - a grass or in Pauls case - a supergrass because of his stance against the drugs trade. Fair play, he had it all and lost it all - and his rise and fall is well documented in this book. Its an honest reflection of his life and its all true unlike a lot of other so called villains and hardmen who spout absolute boll***s throughout their pages. And with regard to the review that says about him giving curtis warren a good slap and him being young - thats real life, you want to be a standover man and live in that world be prepared for the consequences. I recommend bernard o'mahoneys wannabe in my gang for another good read on the pitfalls and realities of the drug trade, maybe then you can appreciate that what grimes did was perhaps save a few lives -if only for a short while.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Far fetched nonsense 7 Feb 2010
By TripleA
Format:Paperback
I have read many of these true crime books. This one was far fetched and untrue. The central character seems to spout rubbish and I doubt many of his claims to beating up some very serious criminals. I live in the area and have knowledge of some of incidents mentioned and I cannot see it happening. If your into this sort thing can I suggest Gang War, Cocky or Essex Boys much better. The Liverpool slang is hard to keep up with even if your from the Merseyside area.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars POOR 8 Mar 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Didn't like the stayle of writing. Almost a complete narrative. Very little in the way of inter character communication. Just a monotonous mono-logue
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Top Class Read 25 Oct 2004
Format:Paperback
An excellent read from start to finish. If you have read Cocky then you will truly love this book as there are several crossovers between the two. Granted if you are not from Liverpool you may struggle with some of the slang but its still a great read. Exhilirating from start to finish, it gives you a vivid insight into what makes these guys tick and the ruthless and callous manner in which they exercise their force.
Being a scouser myself I loved the familiarity it gave me to names and locations but this aside, a neutral would still enjoy it without a doubt.
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31 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First review 1 May 2004
By pj
Format:Paperback
Best British true crime book ever written. I couldn't put it down. It's like Wiseguys by Nicolas Pillegi, the book which Goodfellas, was based on.
Unlike other British crime books which seem to concentrate on the Krays and gangsters in London 40 years ago, Powder Wars is about modern organised crime. It's speed is breathtatking.
If you bought Cocky - buy this. It's good.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nail biting, silent laughable read 6 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Book was not too long which is a pity.
Can't help feel sorry for Grimes, stuck in his old ways and didn't like change, certainly was a handful and could handle himself, very anti drug and firm on his beliefs, which is possibly why he ended up broke.
Tells a great story and makes you laugh all the way through, saw his YouTube interview with Macintyre after reading this, he is a guy you could have a few pints with and have a laugh with some great stories.
I loved it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book 24 April 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I would give this book 5 stars for this book, It was very personal, honest and being a reader who only enjoys non-fiction, it kept me completely intrigued!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Read 14 April 2014
By Lemon
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book should be read in conjuction with the two other books written by the author Harry Fergueson, K17 and Lima 3. This at a time when the present Government has launched an enquiry into undercover officers. The public don't realise what a dangerous job this type of work is and for MP's to critisise police and customs officers who put their lives at risk is a down right insult. Powder Wars is a fantastic read and I can say this from my own experience in my limited undercover work in the Met. Informants are a necessary evil in the fight against crime and this particular informant who the book is about deserves the highest credit in the fight against drugs.He was a very, very brave man.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Awesome
Published 1 day ago by g j wright
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great book!
Published 13 days ago by Simon W. Golding
5.0 out of 5 stars BREATH TAKING
EYE OPENER ABOUT THE UNDERWORLD
Published 1 month ago by Karen June Chambers
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read!
great read if you're into true crime. Very engaging and a very gritty tale. Love it!
Published 1 month ago by Nick Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
loved this., dirty. scary. intimidating- - Everything you want in a gangsta book
Published 2 months ago by SammiLou
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow!
I was captured from the first chapter. What an eye opener. I didn't realise to what extent these people are prepared to go to for gain.
Published 2 months ago by jan slinger
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read...
A good account from a career criminal who had an up close and personal view of how some of the biggest drug dealers in the country operated.
Published 9 months ago by Mr Contentious
5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant
it was brilliant all the way through i couldnt put it down i was getting up early hours at one point to read more
Published 11 months ago by paula wright
1.0 out of 5 stars crap
One of the worst books I have read for a long time. Poorly written, repetitive and boring. Avoid, waste of money
Published 15 months ago by Terry
4.0 out of 5 stars Saving for the plane!
I have bought this book to read on my travels so I'm saving it! Will update review once I've started to read it.
Published 16 months ago by Mrs E
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