Book review: The Informant, by Susan Wilkins
When the lovely people at Pan Macmillan recently sent me some books, I was spoilt for choice and found deciding where to start was not easy. But having picked up The Informant and barely put it down since, I am very glad I did.
The Informant is a gritty, fast-paced and action-packed thriller that starts with an explosive and shocking scene and doesn't slow down till the final page. Karen Phelps is released from prison after serving six years for covering up for her brother following an armed robbery. Determined to stay clean and sober, she is desperate to help her family turn from their villainy and to leave the violence and abuse behind. But she gradually realises that her brother Joey has grown into a cold and calculating psychopath who will stop at nothing to further his own aims, including deceiving his own flesh and blood.
Set in Essex and east London, the well-depicted dark shadowy scenes are juxtaposed with the light and airy spaces bought with large amounts of tainted money. As the characters develop, we start to understand their motivations and backgrounds. Some have hope, some feed on taking hope away from others and some are simply desperate. From a gangster family fuelled by hatred and fear, the siblings have to choose between the life of crime with which they are familiar and the less straightforward route of honesty and freedom.
I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping read, from the first page to the last. Some scenes took me completely by surprise, but the context given helps explain why the characters act in the way they do. It was intriguing to see the twisted way in which Joey operates, compared to the more naive and hopeful motives of his sister, and Susan Wilkins has done an excellent job in bringing both these and the other characters to life.
An excellent read and one I struggled to put down.
The Informant, by Susan Wilkins is published by Pan Macmillan and available to pre-order from their website.
Disclosure: Pan Macmillan sent me this book to keep for the purposes of review. All opinions are our own.