Neither the elegant middle-class Matilda nor the downtrodden Susan are precisely what they appear to be: when they meet in a prison cell, both are notorious husband killers. Matilda's appeal is imminent. She claims severe provocation in the shape of endless beatings from the husband she stabbed while Susan hardly bothered to defend herself in court. Most of Two Women
is a flashback--a powerful venue for portraying domestic violence and criminal manners. Susan's murder of Barry resulted from years of brutality and sexual abuse by him and his partner in low-level gangland violence, her father Joey. "Joey would set people up and Barry execute the acts of violence and robbery, leaving Joe with the wedge and the kudos of being number one bailiff to the criminal community, while at the same time earning off the people stupid enough not to have him as their protection".
Martina Cole is darkly funny about Christmasses and weddings ruined by alcoholic mayhem; she is also good on the ways in which women support each other and let each other down--Susan gets little help from her mother or her grandmother and yet finds a best friend in the most unlikely of places. Martina Cole brings to her novels all the emotional force of her best television scripts. This is a vivid picture of the working-class criminal world in which everyone is supposed to live by a code and where that code is broken by any person violent enough to get away with it. --Roz Kaveney
'The book is well written and the charcters solid' Evening Standard (New Zealand)
'An excellent read' Wangami Chronicle
The story will grip you from the first pages (Best
Gritty novel from an author who knows intimately the world she writes about (Express