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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters in a murky world
The development of the characters in this book is wonderful. You know that they all have evil sides to them, but you still can't help liking them (well most of them anyway!)

I've heard stories about the real 60s gangland environment and it was interesting to read a fictional account of what went on and how it changed over the decades. The author very cleverly...
Published on 23 April 2007 by Janie U

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saga of a criminal family
Martina Cole attracts quite a lot of press coverage and her books rocket up the best-seller lists. This is her first published novel, establishing something of a pattern. She will revisit this format in later novels, and will bring the heroine (or is that villain) back in a subsequent book ("Maura's Game").
The story, essentially, follows the changing fortunes of...
Published on 19 Dec 2004 by Budge Burgess


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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Saga of a criminal family, 19 Dec 2004
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
Martina Cole attracts quite a lot of press coverage and her books rocket up the best-seller lists. This is her first published novel, establishing something of a pattern. She will revisit this format in later novels, and will bring the heroine (or is that villain) back in a subsequent book ("Maura's Game").
The story, essentially, follows the changing fortunes of the Ryan family, in particular their only daughter, Maura. When we first meet them, it's 1950, and the Ryan's occupy a cockroach infested slum in London's Notting Hill. Mother is about to give birth to yet another child, all her boys waiting outside the bedroom, her good-for-only-one-thing husband out boozing again. This time it's a girl ... and young Maura will grow up to be loved and spoiled by all her brothers.
She'll also grow up to witness her eldest brother, Michael, become king of London's underworld ... and to eclipse him by becoming its empress! In the process, we follow her trials and tribulations, pains and abuses, romance and loss.
Not a crime novel - and certainly not a whodunit - this is really a family saga, covering half a century of the Ryan siblings' rise through the criminal leagues. In places there are some keen observations of working class life, at times there are some dreadful clichés, cardboard characters, and some very obvious plot lines.
At times it's very obviously a first novel - Martina Cole has learned her craft well in the last dozen years or so and has tightened up her writing. The first half of the book is conveyed in a series of episodic snap-shots of the most significant events in Maura's life: once she begins to enter adulthood and assume a role in the family business, it becomes more focussed on her. Some of the elements are clichés, some extracted from real life crime. But it's a well-paced, engaging book.
This is not, as I say, a crime novel, so don't buy it thinking you'll be trying to work out who the killer is, or whatever. This is a family saga, one which takes a walk on the darker side, and it's an enjoyable, undemanding read.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a whodunit, more of a family saga, 4 Dec 2004
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
Martina Cole attracts quite a lot of press coverage and her books rocket up the best-seller lists. This is her first published novel, establishing something of a pattern. She will revisit this format in later novels, and will bring the heroine (or is that villain) back in a subsequent book ("Maura's Game").
The story, essentially, follows the changing fortunes of the Ryan family, in particular their only daughter, Maura. When we first meet them, it's 1950, and the Ryan's occupy a cockroach infested slum in London's Notting Hill. Mother is about to give birth to yet another child, all her boys waiting outside the bedroom, her good-for-only-one-thing husband out boozing again. This time it's a girl ... and young Maura will grow up to be loved and spoiled by all her brothers.
She'll also grow up to witness her eldest brother, Michael, become king of London's underworld ... and to eclipse him by becoming its empress! In the process, we follow her trials and tribulations, pains and abuses, romance and loss.
Not a crime novel - and certainly not a whodunit - this is really a family saga, covering half a century of the Ryan siblings' rise through the criminal leagues. In places there are some keen observations of working class life, at times there are some dreadful clichés, cardboard characters, and some very obvious plot lines.
At times it's very obviously a first novel - Martina Cole has learned her craft well in the last dozen years or so and has tightened up her writing. The first half of the book is conveyed in a series of episodic snap-shots of the most significant events in Maura's life: once she begins to enter adulthood and assume a role in the family business, it becomes more focussed on her. Some of the elements are clichés, some extracted from real life crime. But it's a well-paced, engaging book.
This is not, as I say, a crime novel, so don't buy it thinking you'll be trying to work out who the killer is, or whatever. This is a family saga, one which takes a walk on the darker side, and it's an enjoyable, undemanding read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great characters in a murky world, 23 April 2007
By 
Janie U (Kings Cliffe, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
The development of the characters in this book is wonderful. You know that they all have evil sides to them, but you still can't help liking them (well most of them anyway!)

I've heard stories about the real 60s gangland environment and it was interesting to read a fictional account of what went on and how it changed over the decades. The author very cleverly bought in references to the Krays and Richardsons and the IRA to make the story seem as real as possible.

The grubby descriptions of day to day life were very vivid, particularly when the family were children and struggling to survive. It should be remembered that a lot of people lived like this without all of the criminality.

This was the first Martina Cole book I had read, it won't change my world and isn't a "great" book but it was a book which I keep reading at every small opportunity and I thoroughly enjoyed. I will read more of her books.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story from a great author., 16 July 2001
By 
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
Not much I can add to what's already been written. Martina Cole is without doubt one of the best authors around. This was the second book of hers I'd read and it was every bit as good as Goodnight Lady, I've just started on The Ladykiller and that looks to be another winner. She writes epic tales with gritty realism and likeable characters. This one centres around Maura Ryan, the only daughter of a very large family living in West London. Maura suffers a terrible tragedy which makes her become cold and hard, although there's always still some of the warm innocent girl just under the surface. She joins her eldest brother, Michael, in his West End underworld activities and the two of them gradually take over the whole of London. Martina paints a picture of London where corruption is rife and the political undertones are scary but undoubtedly true.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Family saga rather than crime novel, 31 Dec 2004
By 
Budge Burgess (Troon, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
Martina Cole attracts quite a lot of press coverage and her books rocket up the best-seller lists. This is her first published novel, establishing something of a pattern. She will revisit this format in later novels, and will bring the heroine (or is that villain) back in a subsequent book ("Maura's Game").
The story, essentially, follows the changing fortunes of the Ryan family, in particular their only daughter, Maura. When we first meet them, it's 1950, and the Ryan's occupy a cockroach infested slum in London's Notting Hill. Mother is about to give birth to yet another child, all her boys waiting outside the bedroom, her good-for-only-one-thing husband out boozing again. This time it's a girl ... and young Maura will grow up to be loved and spoiled by all her brothers.
She'll also grow up to witness her eldest brother, Michael, become king of London's underworld ... and to eclipse him by becoming its empress! In the process, we follow her trials and tribulations, pains and abuses, romance and loss.
Not a crime novel - and certainly not a whodunit - this is really a family saga, covering half a century of the Ryan siblings' rise through the criminal leagues. In places there are some keen observations of working class life, at times there are some dreadful clichés, cardboard characters, and some very obvious plot lines.
At times it's very obviously a first novel - Martina Cole has learned her craft well in the last dozen years or so and has tightened up her writing. The first half of the book is conveyed in a series of episodic snap-shots of the most significant events in Maura's life: once she begins to enter adulthood and assume a role in the family business, it becomes more focussed on her. Some of the elements are clichés, some extracted from real life crime. But it's a well-paced, engaging book.
This is not, as I say, a crime novel, so don't buy it thinking you'll be trying to work out who the killer is, or whatever. This is a family saga, one which takes a walk on the darker side, and it's an enjoyable, undemanding read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent !, 2 Nov 2006
By 
A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
This prequel to Maura's Game is a great introduction to Maura and her family background. Its fast paced with lousy people, filthy language and all the usual assets of a great Cole story - it certainly doesn't disappoint in the sex, violence and criminal categories either.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars martina coles best, 26 Aug 2009
By 
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
she is an amazing author and this my favourite book of hers, so griity and chilling! it is so true to how they used to live and all the charactersyou can relate to, love it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed!, 16 Jun 2009
By 
D. J. Hussey "Crime Lover" (Lincoln, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
I read 'Ladykiller' sometime ago and absolutely couldn't put that book down so decided to invest in another Martina Cole book and bought this one, her first. To be honest, I was very disappointed in it, probably because it didn't grip me from the first few pages like 'Ladykiller' did, it seemed to spend several chapters setting the scene of the family involved who were mafia types in the East End of London but it didn't hook me and I struggled to even finish the book as I didn't engage with any of the characters and didn't really care what happened to them!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Anyone else hate Maura but love the book??, 11 Mar 2009
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
Loved the book, hated Maura. Ok maybe hate is too strong a word but she irritated me, not when she was small but when, at only 17, she became a 'face'.
I know the way she turned out is down to losing the love of her life, having to go through a horrific and sickening abortion at the hands of a butcher and her mother and being beaten by Michael just for loving a policeman.....but I found her a little cocky.
Loved all the other characters tho, especially Michael and didn't get much sleep turning page after page, a great book
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty.., 11 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Dangerous Lady (Paperback)
This was such a good read..Maura was dragged up along with her brothers in the midst of poverty, grime and violence..this added the grit to the character, as I am sure is true in reality..
She proves herself at a young age when she is put in charge of her brothers businesses, earning the respect of the thugs of the underworld..

Martina uses rhyming slang which adds to the authenticity..She uses it so well that one has to wonder if she moves amongst them even now! (joke)

Read it, you will like it......
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Dangerous Lady
Dangerous Lady by Martina Cole (Paperback - 18 Mar 2010)
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