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The Damage

Howard Linskey

The sequel to The Drop, more brutal, gritty crime fiction, as David Blake struggles to keep together the crime empire he's worked so hard to build.

There's a thought that keeps me awake at night; I have to be lucky every time, they only have to get lucky once. David Blake is a worried man. He should be enjoying the high life now that he is Newcastle's "Top Boy," the man who controls everything in the city that's worth controlling. He lives in exiled luxury, while his brother Danny and trusted right-hand men, Palmer and Kinane, take care of business. The money keeps on rolling in and Blake is sharing his life with the girl that he loves, Sarah Mahoney—shame he had to murder her father to save his own skin but she doesn't know anything about that. Blake never wanted to be boss but no one else is savvy enough to deal with all of the firm's problems: the rogue drug dealer keeping too much of the take, or "The Turk," Blake's new source of "product" who's taken a million Euros as a down payment on a shipment that never arrives. Newly crowned Glasgow crime lord Alan Gladwell wants to do business with the firm, and the deal makes sense but can Blake trust the man whose brother he brutally murdered? Then there is his obsession with the beautiful but troubled Simone, who chooses to work in one of the firm's massage parlors when she is so much better than that. When one of his men takes two bullets in the back and someone tries to kill him, Blake struggles to stay in control. From the heroin-laced high rises of Newcastle to the seedy back streets of Bangkok, in a world of contract killers, corrupt politicians, bent detectives, coke-snorting footballers, fixers, hookers, and pimps, Blake is in a race against time to find his potential assassin and discover the truth.


After reading Howard Linskey's debut novel The Drop I was really looking forward to the second book featuring David Blake. Even if you haven't read the first book you could easily pick up the second and know what is going on. I admit I was worried that maybe the second wouldn't be as good but it was even better.


David Blake is now the 'top dog' Gangster boss running Newcastle. He is actually living in Thailand with his girlfriend Sarah and only needs to fly back to the UK to sort out any issues his two right hand men Palmer and Kinnane can't handle. Sure enough very early on, problems start cropping up involving his firm in which he decides he needs to get back to Newcastle to resolve.


We remeet characters from the first book, such as David's brother Danny, Palmer and Kinane, the Gladwell's who run Glasgow and some new faces amongst all those too. David Blake is the main reason I loved the first book as he isn't your typical Gangster. He comes across as a really nice bloke who only uses violence when absolutely necessary. In addition to him we see quite a bit more of Palmer and Kinane which I liked as it gives you a real idea of other people involved in David's life.


The story itself kept me gripped from very early on. It seems that there are numerous threads and problems that soon spiral into something much worse and end up with David fearing for his own life. He has to deal with a new supplier named 'The Turk', corrupt politicians and coppers as well as dealers, pimps and celebrity coke addicts. There is quite a lot going on at any one time and it means as the reader you are constantly left wondering what is going to happen next.


As in the first book there is a darker side of humour running through some of these characters and it makes them that bit more readable. I also found that although a lot of conclusions were made at the end, there are lots of more threads I can see opening up for follow up books.


Overall I am delighted to have found such a great author at the very beginning of a series. I can only cross my fingers and hope that Howard Linskey carries on writing so well. This man is certainly one to watch.


Review by Katherine Everett, Best Crime Books

About Howard Linskey:

Howard Linskey has worked as a barman, journalist, catering manager and marketing manager for a celebrity chef, as well as in a variety of sales and account management jobs. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites on a number of subjects. The Drop, Howard’s debut novel, was published by ‘No Exit’ in 2011.

Originally from Ferryhill in County Durham, he now lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

Howard is a long-suffering Newcastle United fan.

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