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on 24 November 2014
The Imposter is a sequel to Mark Dawson's "Gaslight" and is the second in his "Soho Noir" series, I really liked "Gaslight", but this one takes storytelling to another level. It is not really necessary to read "Gaslight" first as this book stands alone and all the characters are fully explained.
The story is set in post-war London and revolves around Edward Fabian, who returns from the war, apparently a hero, and then struggles to make a living, this sets him up as a sympathetic character, and his getting the VC only makes him more of a hero to us. However in a very clever piece of writing his real character is revealed and we find out that he is really a totally amoral, narcissistic, manipulative psychopath. What is even cleverer is that despite these character flaws being revealed the reader still roots for him and wants him to succeed.

What makes this book so special is that the other characters are as well developed as Edward's, there is Joseph Costello and the rest of his family (first introduced in "Gaslight") who used to run the whole of the London Underworld and also the betting on the Southern racetracks, but they are under attack from a new gang run by Jack Spot. Another great character is Billy Stavropolous, who sees through Edward and is drawn in a suitably creepy and weasely manner, this creates a brilliant struggle.

There are plenty of twists and turn to the story, including a neat twist in the last couple of pages, which very neatly sets Joseph up for another book if Mark Dawson decides (Yes please!)

I heartily recommend this book and have awarded it 5 stars.
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on 8 October 2013
Mr Dawson has carried on almost seamlessly from " The Black Mile" the first of the Soho Noir series even though they are set a few years apart. The main characters Edward Fabian (Doc) and Joe Costello make for a super team, one with the brains and one with the muscle. Joe had a slight, (very), mention in The Black Mile, though his actions in that book led to a very sorrowful sub plot. Edward you just have to try and figure out who he really is and what he hopes to gain. Mr Dawson again incorporates some real characters from the time ie. Jack "The Hat" McVitie' who gained more notoriety later on in life with the help of The Krays and Jack Spot who "Mad" Frankie Fraser served seven years in prison for, for "cutting him up a bit" and they are not out of place or described in any way more than they were here. The end has a good twist that I never saw coming because I had Edward figured out wrongly, on a few times to be truthful, and leaves the author scope to carry the series on if he so wishes. There were a few mistakes ie. a corporal calling another corporal sir as in the demob scene, the V.C. getting mixed up with the Military Cross, which he couldn't be awarded because it is for officers only and part five having the wrong year at the beginning 1946 instead of 1947. Two other curiosities which someone may clear up. Would someone with a university education join the enlisted ranks and was King George VI ever called King Albert especially so long into his reign? Any way this is a cracking read and I would thoroughly recommend it.
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on 28 March 2014
It is not very often that I rate a book 5 stars - however, I can't think of a single reason not to do so for this book.

Mark Dawson demonstrates his skill as an author in the way he masterfully crafts the characters of the book - which stand alone in their own right for this story, but for those of you that have read the prequel to this book (Gaslight - another excellent book) you can see how the author has really considered the complex change in characterisation given the additional years that have passed since the first book, especially for George - for without his brother now, he's a bit lost.

We are introduced to many new family members and see how the crime family actually hangs together through the quick thinking Violet and the brawn of George - but the family have other gangs interested in their 'businesses'.

The story hinges around a new entrant to the Costello family - Edward Fabien who was befriended by Jospeh Costello during the war. Fabien is not everything he seems to be, but the family don't know this and how he sets to work on them!! A real gem of a relationship comes in the form of Billy Stavropoulos and Edward Fabien. Stavropoulos, clearly less intelligent than Fabien, knows that something is not right - the author carefully creates a very contentious relationship between these two characters. Into the mix comes Joseph Costello, whose life long friend, Stavropoulos, is causing him some issues when Fabien comes onto the scene.

Overall I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book - even though it took me a little longer than usual to read, the pace was such that I found myself right back in the thick of it quickly enough.

I would definitely recommend this book and of course the prequel (Gaslight).
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on 17 January 2016
On the whole enjoyed the story. Got a bit confused with the continuity from Gaslight. Main characters Harry/George Costello on returning home from WW1 Harry sets about life of crime dragging George along. Their father being a watchmaker.
In the Imposter skip forward to end of WW11 Harry has passed away George and sister Violet now control crime family inherited from their father who ran race course gangs.
Hence my confusion.
Good central character but you never get to the bottom of his back story
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on 27 December 2017
What a very good read. Seriously unputdownable, had to keep reading. My only criticism would be in the accuracy of some details. This book is set in the 1940's and I feel sure the Police cars in London at that time did not have sirens, they had bells, sirens came in around late '50s?
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on 2 March 2018
Very rarely write reviews but making exception. This was superb. Great characters, believable plot, interesting period details. Order of the series isn’t 100% clear: I believe this is the 3rd, the first is Black Mile and the one I have not read is Gaslight which was (confusingly) the first written.
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on 12 April 2018
As usual a dam good read loved it never disappoints working my way though the rest though have read a good many
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on 4 March 2018
Mark Dawson does it again. This is an well written noir, with developed characters & a top story line.
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on 21 April 2015
The main character, ie the Imposter is an interesting lead. He has a past, present and future all mapped out in his head with flashbacks revealing past deeds which for me were sometimes confusing. I felt at times as if I'd missed a paragraph or important page but the ending ties things up pretty neatly.
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on 9 October 2017
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