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Reviews Written by
B. Wolinsky "Spudlicker" (East Coast)

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The Guv'nor
The Guv'nor
by Lenny McLean
Edition: Hardcover

2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but self-indulgent, 3 May 2005
This review is from: The Guv'nor (Hardcover)
Lenny McLean was dying of cancer as he wrote this book, so he obviously couldn't have had time to tell his whole story. Whoever he dictated his memoirs to must have pieced it together as best as he/she could.
McLean's autobiography is an oral history of the post-WW2 London underworld. There are fights, shootings, IRA weapons sales, extortions, and countless other "gangster" activities. I can understand why he'd make his living as a bodyguard for underworl figures; he's had an abusive childhood, was deeply angry, had never been to school, and didn't enjoy manual labor. The only jobs he could handle were either "criminal" or "bodyguard for criminals". He chose the latter. It was less likely to end him up in jail. McLean also discusses the bare-knuckly boxing world, which existed mainly for betting. Then there's the "unlicensed" boxing, which is really just brawling with boxing gloves.

There are some things, however, that McLean left out of the book, and one of those things was drugs. He hardly mentions the pervasive drug problem in his part of London, which he couldn't have been blind to. After his death, and this books publication, it was found that one of the "young toughs," who shot him at his home, was a high-dose drug user. Was McLean so disturbed and disheartened byt he drug problem that he didn't mention it? Was he afraid of the drug dealers? Either may be the case. The only time he admits to being uneasy is when he fights for the New York Mafia and they're all carrying pistols. If he was afraid of the Italian American Mafia, he would've been wise to have feared London's drug world. Junkies will do horrible things to support their habits, and there's no shortage of crackheads who'll kill for a bag of drugs.

There's one thing, however, that I can't forgive. There's almost no credit to the person who ghostwrote the book. Lenny McLean dropped out of school at age 11, so there's no way he could've written this book himself.

Noah's Castle
Noah's Castle
by John Rowe Townsend
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking, Yet Believable Nonetheless, 3 May 2005
This review is from: Noah's Castle (Paperback)
This is a fantastic tale. Inflation drives prices up in the UK and paper money becomes worthless. Bacon is now 300 pounds a pack, and don't ask about the price of lamb chops.
But there is a smart bloke in England. His name is Norman.
In the darkness of his basement, Norman has assembled a horde of supplies; canned beans, rice, vegetables, oil, and even medical supplies. So much food is stored down there it looks like they're looking to wait out a siege. The truth is, they are!
Norman knows that things will get worse, and it'll only be a matter of time before food becomes scarce and mobs will prowl. The food storage becomes his obsession; he thinks it will last 6 months, but he wants to have enough for 2 years.
Unbeknownced to Norman, his secret may be out, and some greedy locals may be looking to clear him out.

The Hideaway
The Hideaway
by Jamila Gavin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Fun to Read, Perfect for kids who hate reading, 3 May 2005
This review is from: The Hideaway (Paperback)
Peter is your average adolescent, but his life has changed. His parents divorced, and both of them are angry. His mother is stressed out, working in an antiques store and expects Peter to be perfect....or else! His father is a (lazy) professional musician who can't be relied on to set a good example and hates having responsibilities. His parents aren't abusive, but he can't realy count on them either.
In Peter's new hometown, he finds a friendly kid named Patrick, a bad kid named Dennis, an eccentric tramp named Percy, and a lonely, empty cave in the woods.
The cave becomes his refuge, his respite and his peace. He ponders running away and hiding in there, but, he also meets an group of travellers, who show him that there are more than one type of family.
As a kid I hated reading, but I loved reading this book.

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