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Truecrime [Paperback]

Jake Arnott
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)

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Book Description

18 Aug 2003
It's thirty years since Harry Starks and his gang kept the underworld of Soho under control but the consequences of their brutal reign are still being felt. Julie McCluskey, the actress daughter of one of Starks' victims, has grown up without a father and now that she's discovered it was money from her father's murderers that put her through drama school, she's furious. Furious with her mother for accepting it, but even more furious with Harry Starks - and she's decided she wants revenge. Tony Meehan, journalist and part-time murderer ('I've only killed three') has added another occupation to his list: he's ghostwriting the autobiography of one of the Bullion Job (Brinks Mat) gang, a robbery in which Starks was also involved, and the gold's still missing. And then there's Gaz, who worked for Starks' rival Beardsley in the 80s and is now running bouncers, taking too many drugs, and playing a very dangerous game. Moving his focus on to the greedy 80s and the rave scene of the 90s, Arnott delivers another hard-edged, riveting, brilliant novel that will delight his many admirers and win him more.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (18 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0340818565
  • ISBN-13: 978-0340818565
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,612,119 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

'Sparklingly witty, immensely profound ... It should be read as a matter of urgency.' (Erwin James, Guardian)

'The most expansive, ironical and funny novel of the series.' (David Isaacson, Daily Telegraph)

'Arnott delivers a beacon-bright satire ... [a] literary triumph' (Metro)

'Arnott earned his spurs in [his] first two novels, both pin-sharp and tough as hide. In the conclusion there's a little less action and a little more conversation, but that only furthers Arnott's credentials, allowing his ear for dialogue to cut through ... The prose is as hard, stylish and memorable as our antihero himself.' (Arena)

'Arnott's satire is right on the money' (Observer)

'The popularity of Arnott's work rests on his fluent, readable style and strong storytelling. While challenging the hype surrounding the genre, he avoids hypocrisy by stopping just short of glamorising his subject matter.' (New Statesman)

'The plotting is well-handled, and the comings and goings of its three main characters are cleverly interwoven ... Yobbos are Arnott's forte, and Gaz's misadventures are told with ironic relish.' (Charles Mitchell, Spectator)

'A clever blurring of real-life bad lads and fictional hard-nuts ... David Bowie's a fan of Arnott's, by all acounts. Read truecrime and you will be able to see why.' (Front)

Book Description

New decade. New rules for survival. Jake Arnott's blistering look at the underbelly of life in the 90s is a sure-fire bestseller. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inferior, but still very entertaining 20 Oct 2003
Format:Paperback
TRUECRIME is a worthy successor to THE LONG FIRM and HE KILLS COPPERS (the latter, in my opinion, one of the single best books on England and English culture to ever be published), although it is perhaps the weakest of Arnott's loosely connected gangland trilogy.
I read Arnott's first two novels last year (when I was 21), back to back, and - although I was enthralled and gripped by the atmosphere of THE LONG FIRM and the sublimely handled plot of HE KILLS COPPERS - thus found that a lot of those books' density went over my young head (refrences being pointed out by others). Arnott's period pieces were received by young readers purely for their stylistic, thematic and narrative content.
Not so TRUECRIME, which is set mostly in 1995, with the rise of Britpop, New Labour and gangster chic providing the colourful backdrop. Historically more immediate, the overwhelming amount of references - Guy Ritchie, Dave Courteney, Lenny McLean, Ministry of Sound, to name but a few - this time cast a strange shadow over Arnott's writing. Is he the immense literary talent some have claimed, or is he merely bringing together a wealth of thinly-veiled references and calling it a 'novel'? Though TRUECRIME is a fast, witty and blistering read, readers might find themselves playing 'spot-the-reference' instead of following the three stories that Arnott dexterously weaves together.
With multiple first-person narratives, TRUECRIME is a closer relation stylistically to Arnott's debut, THE LONG FIRM, but by keeping it down to three voices this time, Arnott creates a tighter, more intimate world that readers soon get lost in. There is no doubting Arnott's ability to string sentences together, which he does better than 9 out of 10 writers with publishing deals.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book 17 July 2006
By mrtbm
Format:Paperback
Read the triology long after they first came out...not sure why so many reviewers dislike this one. Thought Truecrime was brilliant. A superb critique of the underbelly of contemporary life, not just cashing in on it or glamourisisng it. Couldn't put it down. Again, as with the previous Arnott books there are the excellent characters of fiction mixed with the backdrop of real life references that gives the book a very real feel to it. As a one time long time London resident really could relate to the settings and the stories....so on a personal level was quite thought provoking. A fine finish to a fantastic trilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fitting end to enjoyable trilogy 8 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
truecrime provides a fitting end to Jake Arnott's highly-enjoyable The Long Firm trilogy by bringing it all the way from the 60s to the rave culture, glamourised Lock Stock gangsters and Cool Britannia of the 90s.

Like its two predeccesors truecrime weaves multiple narratives and plots skilfully into one. Arnott's hallmarks are all in evidence as he places his characters againt the backdrop of real events and twists them into his own gripping plot using the voices of three different storytellers. Characterisation is definitely one of his strengths, whether it be the struggling actress, the posh boys struggling to look like ganagsters, the wizened old hack or the criminals.

There is also a large dose of irony in the stories being told here, with public perceptions being blown apart by reality and parody aplenty, particularly of those seeking to become famous.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arnott on top form. 17 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
His first novel, "The Long Firm" was good, and Jake Arnott pulls all the same narrative tricks here. But this time it is more confident and accomplished; less desperate to impress us with violence and period slang. But the period detail rings true here, he captures the 80's/90's as I remember them. The plot is very engaging and told through strong, believable characters. Don't try to match the characters with their real life versions, just go along for the ride! It's clever, and thoroughly entertaining.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arnott succeeds yet again 30 Sep 2003
Format:Paperback
Having read Jake Arnott's first two books, and enjoyed them both, it was inevitable that I'd buy the third book in the Harry Starks trilogy.
With a backdrop of 60s criminality this book is set in the pre- New Labour nineties. Like the latter chapters of The Long Firm, Harry Starks is an enigma, the strong link between the four main characters in the book.
The story telling is of the usual high- quality, dialouge is realistic and the stories are interwoven well (although knowing Arnott's style, it does seem more forced than his debut and a little stretched towards the end).
If you, like me, jumped on the bandwagon of Lock Stock, this book panders to the glamour of Cool Brittania and 60s 'geezers'. But it is also heavily ironic. Arnott's reference to a 'show within a show' in his fantasy world mirrors what he has acheived in reality. The 'coolness' of villany is parodied.
I heard there was going to be TV version of The Long Firm last year. I'm not sure what happened to it, but I bet people wanted it to be very 'Lock Stock'. Maybe this books is Arnott's way of getting his own back. Who knows.
I loved the book. Buy it, borrow it, steal it ....
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4.0 out of 5 stars truecrime 19 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoy this series by Jake Arnott and feel he evokes the atmosphere of the period. My only criticism, and it's not of the author, is that while I haven't read the paper version, the Kindle edition would have benefited from better proofreading, as there are a few annoying misprints.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Harry's back!
I love Arnott's characters. None more so than Harry Stark, although the collection of damaged beings that flit around him all have their own unique stories to tell.
Published 4 months ago by David Brennan
5.0 out of 5 stars Preseent for a Friend
Bought the trilogy for a friend's birthday. These Jake Arnott books are an excellent study of the London crime scene. See also He Kills Coppers and The Long Firm.
Published 13 months ago by Elizabeth
2.0 out of 5 stars Jake's Lost the Plot
I read the superb The Long Firm and He Kills Cops and they are without doubt 5 star books, unfortunately trying to update the Essex/gangland genre for the 1990s just doesn't work. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Colin Mayo
3.0 out of 5 stars Final Part of Arnott's Trilogy
The final part of Jake Arnott's trilogy. Set in 1995 (mostly in and around London) the book charts the sagas of three very different individuals whose lives will (almost... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Walton White
2.0 out of 5 stars Jake has finally become a parody of himself
My prior reviews of Arnott's first two volumes in this series reflected that having lived through the times of all those events, I did not find his dramatised fiction versions... Read more
Published on 1 Mar 2009 by Siriam
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I thoroughly enjoyed both The Long Firm and He Kills Coppers but it wasn't far into Truecrime that I began to lose interest. Read more
Published on 15 Mar 2005 by P. Fox
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Not Great
I liked this book enough (it was my first Arnott) to now read The Long Firm, but it definitely petered out about 3/4 of the way through when too much unreality crept in. Read more
Published on 19 Feb 2005
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and very enjoyable read
Whilst this doesn't match the brilliance of The Long Firm it is a great book that is superior to much other crime fiction. Read more
Published on 15 Sep 2004 by pboropixie
1.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre
Having read the Long Firm and thought that many references and storylines came from the Krays (and in particular John Pearsons brilliant - The Profession of Violence) I wasn't... Read more
Published on 9 July 2004 by Jabbers
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