#BookReview - #BreakingBones by Robert White

The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.

But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.

Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.

The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.

Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.

Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.

Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.

Every dog will have its day.

This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties. 

Breaking Bones will appeal to fans of Martina Cole, Roberta Kray and Stephen Leather.

It's my pleasure to be reviewing Breaking Bones today, many thanks to the publishers and author for my e-copy of the book.
Breaking Bones opens with a preface told from the perspective of Detective Jim Hacker and tells of the origins of a criminal empire. Frankie Verdi, Eddie Williams and Tony Thompson meet as small children and soon become inseparable. At just fifteen they are sentenced to six months in an Approved School (a Borstal in all but name) following a sustained and brutal attack on fellow pupil. A headline gives them the name they will become notorious for; the 'Three Dogs' came out of Kirklevington Approved School stronger, fitter  - and with a grudge.
The narrative from here mostly switches to the third person and follows the exploits of the 'Three Dogs' but occasionally there are chapters from Jim's point of view detailing his rise through the ranks and his growing obsession with the gang. Set in the late Seventies and early Eighties, the era is vividly brought to life through the music, fashions and cars that feature prominently throughout.
The three gangsters plot a meteoric rise to power and nothing will stop them. They manipulate a small-time local villain to help announce their arrival at on the criminal scene as they handle that aforementioned grudge; at just seventeen they are already murderers and have a burgeoning drug empire. Frankie is the leader of the gang, he is the brains of the group, and has the 'power to strike genuine fear into another human being without saying a single word.' Eddie is the drug dealer of the gang and develops the contacts that take them deeper and deeper into the criminal underbelly. He has a short fuse and a violent temper but still accepts Frankie as their leader. Tony struggles intellectually but becomes a skilled builder. Frankie and Eddie are very protective of Tony, sometimes with devastating results. However, although the only member to arguably have some redeeming qualities, Tony is still a vicious criminal who commits some truly heinous acts.
The visceral brutality of the gang is never glamorised, there is nothing lovable about the Three Dogs, they are shown throughout to be merciless killers. Frankie's relationship with Laurie perhaps demonstrates his - and by turns their - terrifying nature most sharply. When she leaves her young Royal Marine fiancé Jamie Strange for Frankie she knows he's a gangster and at first the lifestyle dazzles her. However, Frankie's jealous rages and monstrous ego eventually sees her trapped in an abusive relationship and regretting having ever left Jamie. Jamie's own life has taken a few unexpected turns since they last met, his career in the army really give a sense of the times as he serves first in the Falklands War on the Sir Galahad and then in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles.
Breaking Bones is a gripping account of the criminal careers of the members of the Three Dogs. It's not especially tense, often the most violent acts are recalled through Jim Hacker's reports. This more detached telling of the story actually gives the gang a more sinister air - there's no sympathy felt for actions committed in the heat of the moment, instead the plain facts detail the grim and savage reality of exactly what they're capable of. Cleverly plotted and with superb characterisation  I really enjoyed Breaking Bones and thoroughly recommend it.

Breaking Bones is published in print by Endeavour Ink and as an eBook by Endeavour Press, and can be purchased here.

About the Author

Robert White is an Amazon best selling crime fiction author.
His novels regularly appear in the top ten downloads in the Crime and Action and Adventure genres.

Robert is an ex cop, who captures the brutality of northern British streets in his work. He combines believable characters, slick plots and vivid dialogue to immerse the reader in his fast paced story-lines.
He was born in Leeds, England, the illegitimate son of a jazz musician and a factory girl.

He hated school, leaving at age sixteen.
After joining Lancashire Constabulary in 1980, he served for fifteen years, his specialism being Tactical Firearms.

Robert then spent four years in the Middle East before returning to the UK in 2000.
He now lives in Lancashire with his wife Nicola, and his two terrible terriers Flash and Tia.

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