Written by Duane Swierczynski

Review written by Adam Colclough

Adam Colclough lives and works in the West Midlands, he writes regularly for a number of websites, one day he will get round to writing a book for someone else to review.

Mulholland Books
RRP: £13.99
Released: February 26, 2015

When she gets arrested on a drugs charge honours student Sarie Holland is desperate to avoid a criminal record that could destroy her future. She agrees to become a confidential informant for the Philadelphia Police Department; that’s just the start of her troubles.

Even in a city awash with narcotics offering up a drug dealer to save her own skin isn’t an easy task. It’s fraught with moral problems over who to betray and who to protect, add to the mix a corrupt police department and dealers ready to kill to protect their turf and staying alive is soon the toughest test Sarie has ever faced.

In this bleak novel Philadelphia is anything but the city of brotherly love, it’s a drug blighted post-industrial mess; no wonder one of its most notorious neighbourhoods is known as the badlands. Duane Swierczynski’s grim story of drugs, bent cops and family strife is played out against the backdrop to the crumbling American dream.

His characters start off damaged by the troubles life has thrown at them and go on down from there, the violence they encounter is all too cruelly realistic and there are no neatly tied up endings; order only just manages to grind out a score draw against chaos.

What is there though is an exploration of the limits human beings can be driven to either by their desire for power or their desperation to survive for a few more hours. That and enough potential new directions for a second book telling the story of how much further into darkness the characters we have met can go.

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