Top positive review
5 people found this helpful
Excellent book, an amazing story of the City. Well worth a read.
on 17 October 2014
It took me about 20 pages to 'get into' this book, as it quickly covers some of the story from 'The Cartel' which details the period 1973-2003 when Liverpool became the number 1 drug importer city in the UK.
But from then, it gets gripping, as the book then goes into the gang wars which occured between established cartel figures and allied gangs from the southside of the city (Toxteth) in conflict with the new American style street gangs and crime families rising in the north of the city - Everton, and the Nesgy soldjas and Crocky crew, (Croxteth and Norris Green).
What you will find as you read it is that many apparently unconnected news reports that you have seen - for example the grenade attacks and shootings on 2 WPCs by the one-eyed Dale Cregan, and basically went 'What the F! was that about???' These become starkly illuminated when you read the book (this was part of a gang campaign to intimidate the police along with exploding cars outside police stations) - all of which you don't get from the news reports. Or the shooting of the child Rhys Jones on his bike in Liverpool (by the crocky crew) etc.. finally you understand whats been going on in the city.
A lot of the story centers on Kallas and Sideoius (his lieutenant) and their gang war with Bubbley and cartel old school figure 'the Financier'. I soon established that Sidoius (who is described in the book as hanging around with a well known soapstar), was in-fact Tony Richardson (recently locked up) and the soapstar/gangsters moll was Jennifer Ellison. Kallas is James 'Pancake' Taylor.
No idea the real names of the rest, but one thing that is useful to do when reading the book is to look up on the Liverpool echo website/do general Internet searches on the characters i.e. Tony Richardson, or Colin Smith (the Boss of Bosses) who was recently assassinated in a hostile takeover attempt by other members of the cartel (also covered by the book). You will be shocked at how the articles in the echo match virtually word for word the content of the book.
The events and sequences will have you hanging on every page in a mixture of disbelief and suspense. (has this really been going on - thousands of people i the city on the drug payroll etc?).
Finally, one thing that has to be said, and is also covered quite well, but rather uncritically, by the book are the police reaction to the US style gangs and gangsters. The figure of 'the Analyst' - the policeman who encouraged new innovative policing methods used against the gangs talks to the author, and shows how major changes in the law against the gangs and gangsters - such as 'Joint Enterprise' - i.e. being able to charge an entire group of people with a serious offense if they all stay silent and 'don't grass' - (so they give up the shooter/leader) whereas before the law 'not grassing' would let them all free due to insufficient evidence means they all now grass - and a major part of the protection of being in a gang (i.e. being untouchable and above the law) has crumbled away.
Also the changes in/or application of the law to confiscate assets of crime if there is no proper explanation of how the suspect came by them legally, (which is what you would think would happen anyway!) this means the law is seemingly, finally, coming together with a toolset to effectively work against the gangs and gangsters. The police part all comes over as a bit panglossian as other news reports have shown that the Serious Proceeds of Crime Act is in fact rarely used, and there is a huge inertia in the system, with only a skeleton staff at the Home Office doing such asset confiscation.
Basically if you live in the city - this is a MUST READ! If you don't its still a amazing read.