I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of Kimberley Chambers latest novel, The Sting, in preparation for interviewing her at Waterstones in Glasgow this month! So thanks to the publisher and the author for the copy.
Before I share my thoughts, here’s what the official blurb says:
TWO CHILDHOOD FRIENDS
Best friends Tommy Boyle and Scratch always had each other’s backs. Dragged up in care, and cruelly betrayed by everyone they trusted, they made a pact to fight their way out of the gutter – together.
TWO SIDES OF THE LAW
Old loyalties die hard on the streets of London. Tommy throws his lot in with the notorious Darling family – even if it means leaving Scratch to the wolves. She’s destined for a different path, reinventing herself as copper Kim Regan.
ONE DEADLY SHOWDOWN
Now they’re on opposite sides of the law. Running Operation Sting, Kim will rip the heart out of the Darling’s empire – and only her old pal Tommy stands in her way.
As gritty and dangerous as the London streets in which it’s set, this is No.1 bestseller Kimberley Chambers at her best. Get ready for a shocking read with a STING in the tail . . .
It’s been a long long time since I read any of Kimberley’s novels, way before my blogging days that’s for sure. So I was looking forward to getting stuck into this one! I’m not going to go over the plot as the blurb tells you exactly what you need to know!
The prologue immediately intrigued me with the reference to the Scottish Hogmanay tradition of first footing and the impact of the wrong dark stranger being first to cross your doorstep! How very appropriate this was in the case of Tommy Boyle! It soon became clear that not only was I not going to be able to put this book down but it was also going to take me back down memory lane! Set in the 1970s and 80s, The Sting certainly gives a sense of nostalgia to those of us of a certain age with references to Jimmy Osmond and Ernie the Fastest Milkman bringing a wee smile to my face. Kimberley Chambers made the pages come alive with her brilliant descriptions.
This book gripped me and I hate using that word all the time but it fits perfectly because that is exactly what it did. I didn’t want to put it down. Each page bring a new revelation, a new hook and a new reason to keep reading way past my bedtime!
Well written characters drew me, no actually they dragged me straight into their lives. I found it easy to picture them all, Tommy and his mates and Scratch when she came along. Their lives were heartbreaking and it served as a stark reminder of how kids lives in care were back then and it’s scary to say that it really wasn’t that long ago. The author writes with a hard-hitting, no holds barred approach and there is certainly no subject she is afraid to tackle. No sugar coating here either but she manages to convey brutality without the graphic details and in doing so draws the reader further into the lives of the characters she creates. She writes well of a time where domestic abuse was considered the norm and women would simply shut up and put up. Kimberley Chambers will make your eyes water in many ways with her retribution methods and I couldn’t help but cheer her on at times! In fact, I may ask her for some tips!
Tommy Boyle and Scratch stole my heart a million times over; they made me laugh and they made me cry real snotty tears. The characters they come in contact with making, shaping and breaking their lives. Some of these characters you will love, some you will hate and without giving any spoilers there are two characters for whom my vitriol was saved for Alexander and Granny Noreen, I would have gladly done time for!
The Sting put me through the wringer a hundred times and more, I laughed and cried reading this book. Jaw dropping, it puts the grit in grit lit! It keeps you up way past your bedtime! Do not miss this!
The Sting is available to purchase from:
and all other reputable bookshops!