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on 13 May 2011
This is a very confident debut from Howard Linskey who has painted a vivid and realistic picture of the darker side of Newcastle. Written from the perspective of David Blake, who over time has deluded himself that he is a "white collar criminal" above and morally aloof from the violent activities of his colleagues, it charts his free-fall into a world of shit when "The Drop" of the title goes missing, along with its courier. Linskey manages to introduce a diverse cross section of characters - from the Newcastle Mr. Big through to the head of the shady organization the aforementioned Drop should have landed with via an array of foot soldiers on the streets of Newcastle. He portrays this world perfectly - or at least what I imagine this world to be like. The bottom line is you believe that there are people like this out there.

Linskey manages the neat trick of making you empathise with the "hero" of the story - although he is hardly a model citizen - and you always hope that he navigates his way through the murky world he is in. The pace of the book never flags and there are enough twists in the story to keep even the most hardened reader of the genre guessing what the denouement will be.

Whilst the obvious parallels with "Get Carter" will be drawn by many, it reminded me as much of "The Long Good Friday" in its depiction of gangsters unable to fathom out what is going on around them and who is pulling the strings behind the meltdown of their operation. I'd recommend this for anybody who would enjoy a story written in an engaging style, with a realistic plot, punchy dialogue and a dash of humour.

Whilst this is a cracking crime thriller, I think it is above all else a story about Newcastle - its good, bad and ugly. The author's words show a genuine love of the place and even though it describes its less than savoury side, it still serves as a grittily poetic homage to the city.

I am already looking forward to the promised follow up novel and hope the high bar he has set can be maintained.

Remember the name Howard Linskey, because I guarantee it won't be the last time you hear it.
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on 19 June 2012
David Blake isn't really a gangster, although his boss Bobby Mahoney most certainly is. Blake is the more legitimate side of Mahoney's gangland empire.

One of Blake's business responsibilities is 'The Drop'. The delivery of cash to someone very powerful and very influential.

But when Blake's heads back to Newcastle, after an idyllic trip to Thailand with his yuppie-lawyer girlfriend, he is confronted by Finney, one of Mahoney's more psychotic henchmen, who tells him that The Drop didn't happen. And it's all Blake's fault.

And it all goes pear shaped from then on in.

The Drop is the blistering début novel from Howard Linskey. An intense, violent, story of life in the north of England's underworld, peppered with keenly observed details, sharp dialogue and strong characters.

The Drop is a cracking, well paced and gripping crime novel that has me keen to get stuck into Linskey's recently published follow up,The Damage.
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on 30 May 2016
An absolutely magnificent story which is beautifully written, and very difficult to put down!

There's tension all the way as we follow one of the top men in a Geordie crime syndicate in his role as advisor and fixer for the top man. A missing delivery of funds within the criminal world causes tensions to rise and then the bodies start to appear. When the advisor's situation seems to be hopeless, he manages to turn the tables on the opposition with the use of extreme violence. Despite his previous background role in the organisation as an organiser rather than a man of violence, the hero of the plot manages to save the day.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 19 January 2012
This book was recommended to me by a fellow reader, and I am extremely glad that I took their advice! Howard Linskey released this, his debit novel in April 2011 and his follow up book is due for release in April 2012.

It takes less than two chapters for me to be utterly engrossed in this book. David Blake is a gangster, except he isn't your ordinary violent and ruthless man. He is somebody that has worked his was on to Bobby Mahoney's firm by giving his sound judgement on things and proving his loyalty. When David returns from his holiday, he gets news that Bobby is not a happy man. David, who is head of Bobby's security, has managed to leave an important drop to another man in the firm who, it seems, has disappeared off the face of the planet. Pretty soon David realises that he has to find the money and the person responsible.

I really liked David Blake from the off and as he races to find the people who have Bobby's money I found myself liking him even more. This was not your typical gangster that roughs everybody up; he merely asks politely and leaves the roughing up to his colleague Finney. The story has a relentless kind of pace as David uncovers more and more things that aren't quite right.

Although David is the main character, we meet a hell of a lot more along the way, all who make the story that little bit more interesting. Bobby, David's boss features heavily as does Bobby's young daughter Sarah. We also see some of the other people who are either on the firm or were once part of it. The characters and storyline kept me turning pages late into the night.

There is actually an underlying humour to this book too which I loved. The setting up in Newcastle was done perfectly, with no overkill on either the accent or the place. I loved the ending, and the fact that this is the perfect opener for the second book. An absolutely cracking debut novel and the follow up is already pre-ordered. If you haven't heard of Howard Linskey, take note, this man is already a well remembered name in my never ending list of great authors.
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on 25 July 2011
A gripping debut novel set in Newcastle's underworld, this story sets off at full speed and just keeps accelerating right to the last page with nary a chance to draw breath. Filled with characters you can believe in but wouldn't want to meet on a dark night this is a very well told story with twists and turns you don't always see coming.
Highly recommended
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on 16 June 2017
Smooth and slick, loved it.
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on 30 April 2017
absolutely brilliant , great writing ,believable and realistic
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on 1 February 2017
Excellent start of a trilogy
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on 18 April 2011
This is a great book, I could not put it down! The characters are really engaging and I was hooked all the way to the end with some superb writing....it has a great British gangster feel about it dove tailed with clever "Goodfella" type moments.....the main character David Blake is a cool gangster living a glamorous life, but the writer pulls no punches when things go wrong showing the fear and violence hooked up in the mob...

This is a great read....I even bought my Dad a copy as he is a prolific reader of crime books and he loved it......high praise indeed!!
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on 30 August 2013
This is debut by Linskey and is written from David Blake's perspective, a self styled "plastic gangster". In his own words Blake works for a Newcastle crime lord as the ideas man... his sales and marketing director. He fancies himself suitably far enough removed from the day to day running of a gang life to not see himself as one until someone starts muscling in on their turf. It starts with the drop and its courier going missing. The drop is exactly what it seems: bribe money never reaching the corrupt middleman and all of a sudden Blake is tasked to find the money and the missing courier. He's suddenly and violently thrust into the middle of gangster life only to find his "colleagues" being picked off one by one. Blake is ultimately faced with the decision to walk away or fight back. This is a fantastical start to a new series and the detailed description of criminal and the more seedier life in Newcastle is very believable. I'm looking forward to reading "The Damage", the next David Blake book.
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