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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb crime novel with a love story to boot
Many years ago I listened to the audio version of Dangerous Lady and quite liked it. Since then I hadn’t touched another Martina Cole novel but after reading an interview with the author I decided to give her books another go. I’m very happy that I started with The Ladykiller, as it is one of the best crime thrillers I’ve ever read. The book is about...
Published on 11 Feb 2006 by Veronica

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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Ladykiller
I really enjoy reading Martina Cole's novels; the realism which she conveys, with gritty and reliable characters, make you want to become part of her world. However, the one thing that strikes me about her novels is their predictability. Cole knows her audience and she has a specific formula: A London gangster; a character with Irish ancestry; and a woman who, despite...
Published on 31 Oct 2011 by Teddy Ludford


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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb crime novel with a love story to boot, 11 Feb 2006
By 
Veronica (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
Many years ago I listened to the audio version of Dangerous Lady and quite liked it. Since then I hadn’t touched another Martina Cole novel but after reading an interview with the author I decided to give her books another go. I’m very happy that I started with The Ladykiller, as it is one of the best crime thrillers I’ve ever read. The book is about the criminal underworld in the East End where violence, prostitution, sex shops, massage parlours, hired thugs, bent coppers and paedophiles are a part of ordinary life. I know, it all sounds pretty heavy, and believe me the book is not what you would call light-hearted, but it is written with a such a down-to-earth style and with such realism and psychological insight that it is very enjoyable and exciting to read. Martina Cole is an amazing storyteller, and knows how to keep the reader hooked all the way through.
The novel starts by focussing on George Markham, an abused boy who has turned into an abusive man. George is heavily into sadomasochism and he has started to turn his violent fantasies into real-life crimes by raping and murdering women. One of these women is Mandy Kelly, the daughter of London hard man Patrick Kelly. Patrick will stop at nothing to track down her murderer and bring him to his kind of rough justice.
At the same time, the serial rapist / murderer is being hunted by DI Kate Burrows and her police team. Kate is a woman with a wayward daughter and an ex-husband who has breezed in and out of her life too many times. The emotional heart of the novel lies with Kate and Patrick, who are on opposite sides of the legal fence but who grow to love each other. Their relationship is rocky, passionate and controversial. I absolutely adored the fact that this book included such an interesting love story. In another author’s hands it could have come across as ridiculous but Martina Cole writes it perfectly.
As a female reader, I found myself absolutely falling for Patrick Kelly whilst at the same time aghast about his criminal activities and penchant for young women (but over eighteen years old!) when not in a relationship. You can see how Patrick is the result of his poverty-stricken upbringing – he did what he had to in order to survive. Everything that makes him attractive – his strength, confidence and power – is also what makes him such a successful villain. Kate is also a really strong and interesting character, and I liked the way she stood up to Patrick and didn’t give in to her principles in order to meet his, such as when she walked out of an illegal boxing match that Patrick wanted to see.
The book is also great because every scene seems so authentic. You become immersed in a world where women are ‘birds’ and ‘skirts’ (I know, I know, so chauvinistic – but it’s part of the culture) and police officers are the ‘Old Bill’ and ‘filth’. This book is certainly not politically correct, but it is better for it. Overall, I would recommend this book to people who like crime novels and aren’t offended easily by violence, bad language and sexploitation! This novel is a wonderful guilty pleasure.
JoAnne
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 29 Jan 2006
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
I've read a couple of martina cole novels and none have disappointed. She uses strong characters and a great story line to keep the reader interested. In this book, George Markham is an ordinary, if not a little creepy, man, whose nasty private hobby turns in to a public nightmare a his depraved fantasties become and real and he starts to terrorise the woman of Grantley. Patrick Kelly is a hard man - the most feared man in London, and when his daughter, Mandy, is attacked by the Grantley Ripper - he wants his revenge. Through the attack on his daughter he meets Kate Burrows, the DI in charge on the case.
As the crimes continue, the reader is given insight in to George's life and he childhood he had, along with the developing relationship betweem Kate and Patrick.
There are few twists and surprises, but the story and characters are strong and keep the reader interested. I was a bit disappointed with the end - it seemed a little rushed, but overall a great read - i'll be looking out for more!
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43 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real page-turner, 7 Jun 2006
By 
O. Doyle "celticshedevil" (Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
This is my second Martina Cole book, having read The Know. I was gripped from page one when I read The Know and was pretty sure The Ladykiller couldn't suck me in as well as The Know did. Boy was I wrong. The Ladykiller is another brilliant book from Martina Cole and it'll keep you turning pages until the early hours such is the mastery of the author at keeping you guessing what will happen next. I read it in 3 days straight and if I didn't have pesky work to distract me from my reading I would have finished it a lot sooner!

The story centers around 3 main characters; DI Kate Burrows, East-End Hardman Patrick Kelly and the Grantley Ripper himself, George Markham.

DI Kate Burrows is assigned to the case of the Grantley Ripper who has been abducting, raping and murdering young women. Kate is so thoroughly engrossed in her job that she doesn't see what's happening with her own daughter until it's almost too late. The Rippers second victim is the daughter of local hardman, Patrick Kelly. Kelly's daughter, Mandy, was his world and her death has propelled him on a quest to find her killer and exact revenge. This task becomes more complicated when he falls for DI Kate Burrows. The Grantley Ripper (aka George Markham) meanwhile is on a roll and nobody can stop him.

What I love about The Ladykiller is the down to earth realism that Martina Cole brings to the book with the characters explored in such depth that you feel you know them. It's also one of those rare books that really keeps you guessing how things will turn out right up until the last chapter.

I'm fast becoming an avid Martina Cole fan and will be snapping up a few more of her books very soon. If they're anything like my first two experiences I'll be very impressed!
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An thriller your eyes will not want to leave, 20 Feb 2000
By 
T. Wilson (Republic of Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
I have been reading thrillers for twenty years and this one rates amongst the best. The Ladykiller will have you hooked from page one. For story telling ability, Martina Cole rates with the finest. It is fast moving with characters that are lovable, nasty, scary and frustrating. The Markham family have a lot of problems which stem from their formidable mother. This leads to George Markham going off the rails, in order to achieve sexual gratification and murder. This quiet man with the smile that just shows his teeth, will have you shivering. D.I. Kate Burrows is on the case and when Patrick Kelly (a known but fair villain with no convictions) loses his daughter (his one weakness) to the Grantly Ripper, he wants revenge. Kate Burrows gets involved with him, against her better judgement. DI Burrows has her own problems with her daughter and her ex husband. Put this all together and you have a mix that will have you going everywhere with this book, in order to read a few more pages when you have a spare moment. I loved this book and although it is the first Martina Cole, I have read, it will not be the last!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Ladykiller, 31 July 2005
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
The first Martina Cole book that I have read, and I am now a big fan.
An excellent read, definitely a book that you can't put down.
I am now on her third book and they just get better.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Ladykiller, 31 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
I really enjoy reading Martina Cole's novels; the realism which she conveys, with gritty and reliable characters, make you want to become part of her world. However, the one thing that strikes me about her novels is their predictability. Cole knows her audience and she has a specific formula: A London gangster; a character with Irish ancestry; and a woman who, despite adversity, becomes the novel's heroine. Furthermore, Cole invariably highlights women's oppression, and this novel is no different. The eventual murder of George Markham was committed by a woman, a prostitute, and so it became socially acceptable, as opposed to, the murder being committed by a revengeful, Patrick Kelly. `The Ladykiller' is based around the lives of three people: London's most feared gangster, Patrick Kelly; Detective Inspector, and the novel's heroine, Kate Burrows; and the sexually violated, George Markham. Despite the predictability of the narrative, it's a highly enjoyable read and will leave you gripped right until the very end. Martina Cole is a terrific storyteller; she invites you into her world and leaves you wanting more, and more. She does, though, within this novel, make us ponder a really interesting subject: Are people born evil? Or are we all shaped by our backgrounds and childhood to become the kind of people will grow up to be? This question was certainly relevant to George Markham. Despite the murders of the woman - and a child - we are left feeling empathy for the man because of his cruel childhood - his Mother was a prostitute, and he was `experimented' on by his Mother's partners.
Overall I enjoyed the novel and would definitely recommend it.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best yet for Martina, 30 July 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
Do not start to read this book if you cannot dedicate yourself to not putting it down because believe me from the moment you start reading you will not be able to stop. I was absolutely intrigued and glued to the pages the whole way through. This book encouraged me to read the rest of her books which were all extremely good but this one is the best. Can't wait for the new one!!!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars brilliant book, prepare for nightmares, 13 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
Just finished this book tonight, only started it yesterday but couldnt put it down once id started. Brilliant read but extremely disturbing, the details of the killings were graphic.
When the book starts, George Markham, seems like an inadequate, sad, middleaged man who has a perverted sense of sexuality, however, as the book goes on you realise how dangerous he is. He kills the daughter of the local gangster/businessman, Patrick Kelly, and this leads to the development of a relationship between Kelly and the DCI in charge of the case, Kate Burrows. He also rapes and kills several other women, leading him to be called the Grantley Ripper.
The most disturbing aspect of this book to me is the very ordinariness of George Markham and the capacity for evil that he has. Of course noone expects their next door neighbour to be capable of such evil, but every killer is someones neighbour. As a reader, you can see incidents when he should have been caught by the police, such as when a young boy comes forward as a witness to a girl being abducted by the killer, but he is discredited and advised not to testify as he was using drugs at the time. Also, the ease with which someone can falsify a DNA test was terrifying. A number of incidents made you feel that the police were, at best, inadequate in their investigating.
Another part of the book i enjoyed was the relationship between Kate and her daughter Lizzie, which is not all it seems at the outset. Quite worrying for a mother of a teenage daughter! Kates mother too is an interesting character with her liking for Bushmills and irish accents adding a bit of humour. Some people have criticised Kate and Patricks relationship for being overly romanticised and convenient, but I was hoping they would stay together all the way as they had both been through so much and seemed to give each other something the other one needs.
I have read 3 other Martina Cole books, but I would say this is my favourite so far. She seems to draw heavily on the gangster world and the connection/fine line between police officer and gangster in all her novels, but what i liked about The Ladykillers was Kates family being 'normal' ie not born and bred gangsters. It gave the book a bit more depth.
This book is a really great read, but sometimes you feeel almost voyeuristic at the crimes. You can imagine everyone who knows George being totally shocked at his crimes, but it brings home the fact that every rapist and killer is probably well known and respected in their community. The book also focuses very well on the grief and impact on the families of the victims. The relationship between Kate and Patrick gives both sides of the argument for the consequences of killing; justice or revenge. When Georges childhood is revealed, it is sickening and horrific, obviously it taints his life and leads to his misogynist outlook towards women and warped sexuality. The scenes where he has his mother over for dinner at Christmas lead to some dark humour which, when you read about his childhood, make you feel guilty about laughing.
I would agree that the ending is a bit of an anti-climax, but the author had to end it this way to lead to a happy ending for the two main characters. I would have liked to have seen something a bit more horrific happening to George as in other Martina Cole novels.
I would definetely recommend this book. I have even told my husband to read it, he usually doesnt like my 'girly' books, but im sure he will enjoy this one.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Please Read This!!!!!!!!, 29 Mar 2006
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
I am an absolute fan of Martina Cole, and although it is difficult to choose a favourite from her novels, this one is up there. As always, Martina wrote this novel with candid realism, violence and mystery. This story of sadistic serial killer George Markham will keep you in suspense, with a clever link between all of the central characters. Believe me when I say that you will not be able to put this book down!
Martina Cole does not pull any punches, her characters are all believeable and likeable. The story line is graphic and hard hitting, but its an honest story line that doesn't cheat the reader with an obvious, lazy conclusion.
Word of warning, however! You WILL become a Martina Cole addict after reading this and like me, you WILL end up with all of her equally compelling novels sat on your book shelf!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, one of my all-time top books., 30 Dec 2013
This review is from: The Ladykiller (Paperback)
This was one of the first Martina Cole books I read. I have gone on to read just about all of her other books so that says how good it is. It's really gripping, I couldn't put it down. It's about a serial killer, but, unusual in that you know from the outset who the killer is, it's told from his point of view. It shows how he avoids capture for quite some time. It is humorous sometimes in the way that George frequents the local sex shop-Sexplosion- and sits in his garden shed looking at material he gets from there, then goes back into the house to the wife. Other moments you just think OH MY GOD! at some of the horrors he commits. This book will have you reading avidly into the small hours. I've actually read it twice which is unusual for me as there are so many books out there to be read I usually only read things once. A fantastic book.
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The Ladykiller
The Ladykiller by Martina Cole (Paperback - 29 Oct 2009)
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