By Woody Haut
Los Angeles Review of Books
December 19th, 2014
A Dirty Baker’s Dozen: My Favorite Crime Novels of 2014
British author Barker (Bending the Bars, a memoir of his time in prison) ventures into fiction with this acerbic look at Thatcher’s Britain. In 1987 London, posh stock traders mix comfortably with polished criminals, and cocaine fuels already out-of-control self-confidence. The profit potential of a grand drug deal is irresistible, particularly with the advent of the cocaine futures market. Single mother Carol Curbishley, a minor drug dealer attracted to the riches of a life of crime, is pulled into the middle of one such deal, despite her fear of the consequences it may have on her and her nine-year-old daughter, Sheila, if she’s caught. Carol faces some difficult choices when the stock market crashes and a hurricane hits London. Some unconventional punctuation diminishes readability, but Barker’s characters ring true and his story is an enthralling portrait of an era whose legacy still haunts us.