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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping read, but a bit out of date
I bought this book as a bit of homework. I'm working with some British Army officers to start a Free School in Manchester, and I reckoned this might provide some useful background to local gang culture.

As the author admits, things have changed fast in the last couple of years. We no longer have gangs operating to a code, and the 'olders' who used to control...
Published on 26 Aug. 2011 by T. Burkard

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Its The Wire on Mute ...
I saw Gavin Knight at Latitude Festival and was intrigued by his approach, apparent empathy with the subject (he's been embedded with the police forces in the three locations), and wit. I hoped for something like Sudhir Ventakash's Underground Economy (which turns up as a chapter in Freakonomics and [allegedly] influenced the economics of The Wire). Unfortunately, this is...
Published on 1 Aug. 2011 by Jacl20c


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4.0 out of 5 stars Good and gripping 'true crime' book, 17 July 2011
By 
Sinbad (UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
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Hood Rat is your typical 'true crime' book, which reveals details of criminal and gang life in three cities of the UK: Glasgow, Manchester and London.

Each section is unrelated to the others, so this is a collection of three short stories. The characters, both criminals and police, are well developed and interesting; from Somali gangsters, to Sikh junkies, to knife-wielding Weegies, there's enough shocking and sensationalist material here to make it a fairly gripping read and I always looked forward to reading on.

My only criticism is that in some places, the writing did not make full sense. There are some links between sentences and paragraphs which didn't quite fit together, as if a vital part had been omitted. This was especially apparent in the final chapter where the story flits between Glasgow and the USA. I was reading an 'unproofed' copy, so I'll give this the benefit of the doubt and hope that a touch more editing will happen before its official release.

Overall, if you like 'true crime' books then you will enjoy Hood Rat.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Read, 17 July 2011
This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
An excellent read and one I couldn't put down, the first I've read by Gavin Knight. He draws you in to the situation and the characters and makes you feel as if you were there.

I wish there were more people in policing like Anders Svensson and Karyn McCluskey, they make the world a safer place.Hood Rat
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4.0 out of 5 stars Unsavoury side to modern society, 3 Sept. 2011
By 
Peter J Godliman (Slough) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
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Hood Rat may just open the eyes of the blinkered world that insists that life was just as bad years ago - the "when I was young" brigade.
Based on true life research, where the author shadowed police, gangs, dealers etc. The book tells it, as it is, about children as young as seven, running drugs for the dealers; of children not yet in their teens carrying and using knives and guns; of beatings, gang feuds, mistaken identities and murders; parents who have no control of their young ones, or don't care enough to challenge or discipline them.
A rather scary insight into how some of our young citizens view, and live their lives in today's society. Hood Rat is a fascinating read, yet harrowing, almost unbelievable. It discloses life in three of our cities Manchester, London and Glasgow, but the horrifying thought is that it could be anywhere!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Shocking account of UK gang crime, 22 Mar. 2012
By 
Jr Lorrimer "jlorrimer" (Oakworth) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
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It's written more like a novel than a factual account, which might make it less believable and sadly easier to digest. This is a shame as some of the anecdotes in the book seem truely horrifying.(I was particularly shocked by the tales of Glaswegian kids swinging swords at each other).
At times it can feel like you're reading the script from The Wire, but this isn't Baltimore - this is the UK, and despite the sometimes flawed narrative the author has suceeded in writing an engaging book about the type of characters that dominate our troubled inner cities.
It's not all doom mongering though, the story offers a small token of hope with the story of a succesful project in Glasgow, set up by Karen McCluskey to tackle gang related crime.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thrilling and Disturbing Picture of Our Urban Landscape, 5 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
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In much the same way as Burial provided the soundscape for the first decade of the 21st Century, so this book provides the literary landscape.

It compellingly charts the way the underside of our urban environment works both socially and economically. In so far as the latter is concerned, one can't help but think the strident and over-whelming neoliberal ideology of the past thirty years has directly shaped the outlook, life chances and the inevitable actions of the people who populate this book. In many ways, the attitudes of all the agents in this slice of urban analysis- from the gangland, underclass dealers to the police- is strongly dictated by a broken society where wealth and individuality is hugely celebrated, but the means to actually achieve it is limited to the very few.

As such this fine book is more than just the collection of some grimy stories about the operations of the urban criminal underworld across the UK, and the coppers and establishment bodies that try to control [but rarely understand] them. That's not to say it can't be enjoyed purely for its vicarious thrills alone, of which there are many, but it is interesting to read a book like this that points to more complex things.

I read this book quickly in a couple of sittings and will probably read it again. I hope it reaches a wide readership, because it deserves to.
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2.0 out of 5 stars fictionesque, 4 April 2014
This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
was very put off by the style of this book coming across as fiction where the characters merge together.it gave the feeling that the author who followed the police not the gangsters had polished his story to much some of the writing on the sikh drug users were interesting but got stale when he merged it with another storyline about somali gangsters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Insight, 27 July 2013
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
For a first book by the author it is as though you are reading a thriller, what you forget is this is the streets of Britain. You only need to read this book to realise that children from broken families need more help from care workers and guidance from role models to inspire to aspire.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good faction, 25 Oct. 2012
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Kindle Edition)
Nice to see some real crime statistics which, although depressing, are presented in such a good read. The Glasgow parts to the story took me black to my childhood and were very true to the gangs where I lived.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good read - probably as much fiction as fact though..., 3 Jun. 2011
By 
Glasgow Dreamer (Glasgow Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Paperback)
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The author of this book is a journalist, not a novelist. That comes across in his writing, which is sharp, to the point, and possibly a little over-dramatic in places.

The book focuses on three British cities, Manchester, London, and Glasgow (where I live). It sets out to shock, with graphic portrayals of everyday life in these cities' "underworlds". At first I was shocked, but on further reflection I realised that there was nothing here I hadn't already seen on TV or in newspapers.

The narrative relating to each city is self-contained; there are no links between the stories contained in each city's part of the book. We are introduced to a number of characters from each city; kids, junkies, gang members, cops, social workers etc. Although the book claims to contain the truth, many of the names have been changed to protect the innocent (and the not-so-innocent). This is understandable, but does throw up a bit of a credibility problem. Having lived all my life in one of the three cities, I recognised some names (generally well-known cases, but also politicians and activists), and also instantly recognised some characters who were fabrications (if they had been "real" I would have heard of them). It was impossible to discern whether only the names were changed, or whether (as I suspect) these unidentified individuals were, shall we say, rather more fiction than fact. There were also a number of factual/geographical errors in this section, which can't really be explained by anything other than sloppiness.

...and that's the real problem with the book; there were so many errors and, being complimentary, stretches of imagination contained in the Glasgow section alone, that I had little faith in the rest of the content.

Having said that, if treated as a work of fiction written in a journalistic style, it should keep you occupied for a couple of hours. I quite enjoyed the book, but don't/can't believe that much of it was actually true.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hood Rat, 11 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Hood Rat (Kindle Edition)
A superb insight into gangs an gang violence in inner city England. Although fictional the author as done a hell of a lot of research from the hierarchy of gangs to Police units
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Hood Rat by Gavin Knight (Paperback - 1 July 2011)
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