A quite brilliant novel that has drawn comparisons with Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler: dark, frenetic and utterly compelling.
J is a successful burglar, with a house full of 'well-selected antique furnishins', a wife with an 'enhanced front', and a talent for acquiring hooky gear. But when a break-in goes badly wrong he finds himself betrayed and deserted by the people he trusted the most. Emerging from prison, J is torn between good intentions and the desire for revenge, but as the strands of his life continue to unravel before him, he becomes an unlikely, and ultimately tragic, hero.
This is an engaging novel, by a writer with a really strong voice. Read the first two pages and you will be hooked.
'This is a fine literary novel with an ambition to be greater than a gangster-police thriller. Barlay has achieved his goal and more.' Telegraph
'Barlay's evocation of the grimy end of Notting Hill, west London, is wonderfully written, with a convincing cast of characters, from the villainous to the inane. Dominated by the brooding figure of the absent sibling, this is a low-key treat'
Rarely does one read writing so inventive, yet so tensed against habituation; so exuberant, but so obsessed with the business of conveying depression, hopelessness and failure. What elevates Barlay from the crowds of undistinguished caper-writers is an extraordinary facility for creating and sustaining individual voices - this is a brilliantly literary novel. - Guardian
A disturbing peek into London's real underworld . A brilliant, haunting snapshot of a subculture which is really quite sumfink. - Big Issue in the North
'A nicely judged balance of insightful descriptions and world-weary sarcasm. It's full of colourful characters and the dialogue is fantastically rich ... Barlay's ear for slang and talent for getting it on the page is, like, the wickedest. Y'na mean?''
Independent on Sunday
'An extremely well written and provocative novel which makes Nick Barlay the Zola of North West London'
Barlay recreates the inner city's cold, closed world of deprivation, crime, drugs and violence with an expertise which recalls Chandler's expeditions to the seedier side of Hollywood. There's black hu