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4.3 out of 5 stars380
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2010
I always buy Martinas books on the day they come out- and I must say the last 3 have been disappointing to say the least and I have sworn in my reviews I wont purchase another but I still do - and boy am I glad I did!

Theres the old Martina back in this book! I related to the characters in a way I havent been able to do for ages. Basically its the story of a man called Phil - hes unable to feel any real emotions but he pretends and his whole life is a show, apart from the love for his wife Christine who he worships! Christine feels the same about Phil, not knowing the other side of his gangster life, until one night she walks in and hes beating up his own sister! To say Christine is shocked is an understatement but that nights events creates the whole book. Christine has to resort to drinking and drugs in order to cope with her nerves and the man she is living with. Philip is unable to see that he is the reason she is downspiralling and the reason she is so addicted to the drink and drugs.

Christine and Philip have two sons Philly and Timmy, both brought up with the best lifestyle money can buy but with a control freak dad and a mom who is obliterated all the time really shows as they get older!

Thats all I am going to say about this as I dont want to give anything away, but bascially something major happens and Christine finds herself catapulted into Philips world and a lot of hearts will be broken!

I really would recommend this book, I really really enjoyed it and I am a die hard Martina fan who has been trying every other author who writes in the same style but Martina has redeeme herself and really think any other die hard fans will enjoy this - give it a go you may be surprised!!!!!!!!!!!
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on 20 October 2010
This is a return to the old style stories Martina Cole used to write when she first started out. A few changes such as the tiny chapters, (some only half a page long and none more than a few pages long), the lack of pages and pages of prose with no dialogue and she has finally got rid of all her repetitive cliches. There are a few of these but not of the 'Olympian standard' she used to write! The plot is very well described in the above review so no need to go into it. There is the usual mix of put upon Irish women standing by their men, lots of violence and an abundance of bad language from the start. It reads a bit like a violent episode of Eastenders at times (Peggy Mitchell being Veronica) but is extremely fast paced, easy to read and compared to her last few offerings, a massive improvement.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 October 2010
Martina Cole used to be one of my favourite authors until recently. Hard Girls was an awful read and The Business was even worse. I was convinced that Martina Cole had lost her skill however I am pleased to see that maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Don't get me wrong, this book was not in the league of the books from her early days such as Ladykillers, but it was a massive improvement on her last two books.

Early on we are introduced to the Murphy family and we meet Phillip the head honcho. He emanates the self importance of being the leader of such an influential crime family. We meet Phillip and his family along with Christine very early on and learn how the family all came to be in a position of such importance.

I liked the fact that the book is set over many years with the early introduction of how Christine and Phillip met and the sort of woman Christine was. We see their love affair turn to marriage, children and lastly the solid family Phillip wants and expects. Phillip is the eldest of the children in the family and although the main story leads with him we get to see the effect he has on his brother Declan and sister Breda. They are both part of the family business and as such get caught up in all the drama.

The story itself was a vast improvement and it was a pretty fast paced read. There is lots of action and business very early on and the tension runs high in the book which I loved. Martina Cole has also slightly changed her chapter style for this book with many shorter chapters as each persons role and situation changes. I wouldn't necessarily say this was a bad thing and I think it helped highlight certain key situations.

I liked the characters she created and loathed Phillip Murphy from the outset. Although I must admit that Christine just wasn't a strong enough character in my book. She is the woman that is put into a situation where she no longer recognises the man she has married. This was a major opportunity in my opinion to develop her as a woman and to fight back. However, this doesn't really seem to happen and she just drowns her world in drink and prescription pills.

The story itself is a typical crime and underworld family involved in business that can and does go wrong so from that point of view it was okay. Due to the storyline and Phillip Murphy the book was a surprisingly easy read. The thing that still bothers me is that this still seems to fall so short off the mark of what she used to produce.

Whether that is because there is so much competition or whether MC has lost her touch, I don't know. All I do know is that this was much better than the last two and I can only hope that her next one is even better and maybe we will see the Martina Cole of old.
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on 29 December 2010
As many of the other readers have written here, I too am a Martina fan and have read all of her books. This one was more interesting than the previous two but still lacking in some respects. It felt to me like the main storyline was about the development and changes in the characters yet there were a lot of issues, drinking, drugs, lack of emotions that were not delved into very much.

I also did not enjoy the ending, usually the end of the books make me feel quite cheerful, yet this one was different. However, I enjoyed reading it and did not stop until I had finished, I hope that next year's Christmas present is at least of the same standard if not better
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on 28 October 2010
Just how we fans like it! this is real standard of how a crime thriller should be wrote. Altough not my favopurite book it was well worth the read!! i have read all Martinas book and felt that although the last few havent been up to her usual standards they were still okay, and enjoyed them, this though is a blinding good read. Keep em coming.
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on 2 January 2011
Very much like her last 3 books. Could not wait to finish it and skipped most of the story as I knew it would be repeating itself. I am afraid as a Martina Cole fan for many years I was again very dissapointed in this new book and really think she is just churning out these books now for money....
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on 18 October 2010
I have all of the Martina Cole books and love them. This new one I got on the day it was released and was disapointed to say the least. Yet again it was an Irish Catholic family with big strapping boys and one sister and yet again one of them was flawed. Like many other of her books. But what really annoyed me was that there was a new chapter almost every other page. You read one page and then it was another chapter with the heading a quarter of the way down the page and then the story which finished at the end of the page and the the next page was a new chapter. There were 496 pages in this book and there must have been sixty of them used with all the chapter headings and finishing half way down a page. I think that the books are not so important to Martina now and lets face it her life is so different to what it was when she wrote Faces, Two Women etc and I think that the writing gets sidelined. Perhaps publishing one book every couple of years would be better so that there is more substance and less spacing in them would make for a better book. Its a shame because I had waited months for this one and it was not one of her finest.
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on 20 August 2013
If this had been the first book by Martina Cole I had read, I would not have bothered reading another one! It was slow and boring and all the way through I was waiting to be drawn in, but, it never happened. Would not recommend this book to anyone.
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on 21 June 2011
I have just finished Martina Coles latest offering and while I enjoyed the book I did however feel that the ending was just a little disappointing. It is extremley fast paced and the chapters are very short making it a very easy read. Its good but not great....you do connect with the characters almost feeling as though you yourself are part of the "Family"...I was just hoping all the way though the book that Christine ( the wife and main character ) somehow manages to pull herself together and come out fighting. This sort of happens towards the end of the book but not as spectacularly as I thought it could of been. The book ends on more of a fizzle rather than a bang.....all in all a good read and i would recommend.
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on 14 November 2010
I HAVE BOUGHT ALL OF MARTINA'S BOOKS AND ALSO PROMISED MYSELF I WOULDN'T BUY ANOTHER, AS I FOUND THE LAST 3 OR 4 ABSOLUTELY DIRE!!! THIS ONE, ALTHOUGH BETTER THAN THE PREVIOUS BOOKS, IS STILL LONG WINDED AND SLIGHTLY BORING. I KNEW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN BEFORE I FINISHED READING IT. THERE ISN'T THE SUSPENSE OF THE OLD BOOKS. I MISS STORIES LIKE THE RUNAWAY GIRL AND LADYKILLERS, THE KIND OF BOOKS THAT YOU CAN'T PUT DOWN. MARTINA SEEMS TO HAVE LOST HER MOJO AND I HOPE SHE GETS IT BACK AGAIN. I WOULD LIKE TO SAY THAT I WON'T BUY ANOTHER BOOK BUT I KNOW I WILL AS I KEEP HOPING SHE'S UPPED HER GAME AND RETURNED TO THE BRILLIANT WRITER SHE USED TO BE. I WOULDN'T RECOMMEND ANYONE TO BUY IT BUT RATHER WAIT UNTIL SOMEONE LENDS YOU A COPY. SORRY MARTINA BUT YOU SEEM TO BE LOSING YOUR TOUCH AND I HOPE YOU CAN GET IT BACK AGAIN!!!!
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