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Gardner, John - 'Moriarty'
Hardback: 320 pages (Nov. 2008) Publisher: Quercus ISBN: 1847245870

In this third Moriarty book by John Gardner, which was delivered to his publisher prior to his death, the story continues with Moriarty moving back to London. It's based on the journals of Moriarty which came into Gardner's possession from a descendant of Albert Speer - Moriarty's Deputy. The other books being THE RETURN OF MORIARTY and THE REVENGE OF MORIARTY.

On his return, Moriarty finds that some of his businesses have been taken over by his bitter rival, Idle Jack (Jack Idell) and that some of his people have gone over to the opposition. So with his business empire falling down, Moriarty sets out to bring back together his Praetorian Guard (made of his closest gang members). With his brothels run by Idle Jack and the men running his protection rackets working for the other side, Moriarty has to act to re-establish his empire. He gathers his enforcers and sets them off trying to bring everyone back into the fold (whilst trying to remain out of sight).

As he is beginning to rebuild his empire, Moriarty realises that Idle Jack seems to always be one step ahead of him and so starts to look for the mole in his organisation. He now sets out to build another warehouse which will form the centre of his empire.

Whilst the police don't seem to know he is back in London and Moriarty can carry on a terror campaign to bring his former people back into line, things are starting to go wrong - is Idle Jack fighting back? The well written plot progresses until a number of shocking deaths close to Moriarty make him wonder if he would have been better staying away.

The book details how Moriarty ran his business so efficiently, from the watchers (young boys keeping an eye on Moriarty, his businesses and enemies), the enforcers (thugs who kept his people in line by torture or murder) to his Praetorian Guard who oversaw the operation. This shows how it was that Moriarty was able to be so effective as a criminal mastermind running most of the London crime scene.

This is the final Moriarty book by John Gardner which completes his writing career on a high. If the other books in the Moriarty series are of this standard, I would definitely recommend them.

Paul Blackburn, Scotland
May 2009

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 8/05/2009 16:25