Tuesday 26 June 2018

BLOG TOUR: Corrupted - Simon Michael

Corrupted is the fourth book in the Charles Holborne thriller series, and Simon Michael's follow up to the bestselling The Lighterman. 

Charles is building his reputation as a brilliant murder trial lawyer and living the good life with partner Sally. But he can't escape the influences and dangers of the past, and finds himself drawn once more into the orbit of the notorious Kray twins. 

It's not long before Charles is courting scandal and threats to his very life when investigating a sex ring that involves not just the Krays and the Mafia, but goes to the very echelons of the country's power. 

Simon Michael brings the past back to life across a beautifully rendered swinging 60s landscape, and delivers a gripping piece of thriller fiction that will excite any fan of the genre. 

What did I think?

Simon Michael is one of my favourite authors and I absolutely love his Charles Holborne series of legal thrillers set in 1960's London.  I stand by and reiterate my earlier statement from the first book in the series, The Brief, as this really is 'Britcrime at its very best'.  Having read the earlier books in the series, I felt as if I was catching up with an old friend in this latest instalment, Corrupted.  Having said that, for those who haven't read the earlier books (why haven't you?) this reads perfectly well as a standalone.  

Corrupted definitely has a dark and gritty feel to it as we glimpse the dark and seedy underbelly of 1960's London, in particular Ronnie Kray's notorious sex parties.  I use the word 'glimpse' purposefully in this instance, as Simon Michael gives just enough details to leave much to the reader's imagination.  After being picked up from the rail station by one of Ronnie Kray's henchmen, young Teddy Behr suddenly finds himself exposed to depths of depravity that will give him nightmares and before he knows it, he is accused of murder.  Only one man in London can defend him: Charles Holborne.

We find out so much more about Charles Holborne's character in Corrupted.  He is clearly still suffering from the loss of his cousin, Izzy, and grief makes you do the strangest things.  I felt that Charles wanted to go back to his youth when he was happy and Izzy was alive, so he joins his old boxing gym and signs up to a fight.  Having fought Reggie Kray in his youth, the twins turn up for a photo opportunity with a Hollywood actress who bats her eyelashes at Charles.  As his relationship to Sally has all but broken down, he is powerless to resist the allure of Patrizia Conti.

So many facts are intricately woven into the story that my eyes widened in wonder as I headed off to Google, as I often do when reading a riveting book.  I had never heard of the Robert Boothby scandal but it is this little nugget of truth that brings the whole book to life; for if Robert Boothby is real and the Kray twins are real, then why not Charles Holborne?  It is this multi-dimensioned character of Charles Holborne that brings the book to life; the man who constantly disappoints his mother, who is both looked down upon and envied by his peers, and the man who, like Harry Potter, doesn't go looking for trouble but trouble usually finds him.

You may have noticed that I haven't said a great deal about the plot...on purpose!  I am sure that you will be as shocked, surprised and amazed as I was by the perfectly crafted plot that Simon Michael has created for us.  As a real life barrister, of the legal kind as opposed to the caffeine based beverage (yes, I know it's a barista), nobody brings a court case to life with his words better than Simon Michael.  It took a while for Corrupted to get into court, which is always my favourite part, but once it does I could have stood up and applauded, if I wasn't too busy reading.  I don't know how he does it, but Simon Michael makes you feel as if you are actually in the courtroom.  

Corrupted, the dark and gritty latest instalment in the Charles Holborne series, deserves every single one of the five stars I didn't hesitate in awarding it.  The writing is so vivid and visceral that I can't believe it hasn't been picked up for small screen; as brilliant as it is on paper, I think it would be positively breathtaking on screen.  This whole series is the pinnacle of crime thriller writing and I am confident that nothing will ever knock it off its pedestal.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

During Simon Michael's years of practice at the Bar he has prosecuted and defended
enough murderers, armed robbers, con artists and other assorted villainy to provide him with a lifetime of true crime stories. The Charles Holborne thriller series is set in the dangerous gangland streets of 1960s London. Simon currently lives in London.

Social Media links:
Author Website: http://www.simonmichael.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/simonmichaeluk
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/simonmichael.uk/

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