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Chambers, Kimberley - 'Payback'
Paperback: 528 pages (June 2014) Publisher: Harper ISBN: 0007435053

PAYBACK is the ninth book written by Kimberley Chambers and once again brings her infamous Butler family to life. Chambers is a fascinating lady herself having been a DJ, a cab driver and a street trader in her time, she has experienced a lot of the East End world and writes in a way that makes you wonder how much of her work is fiction and how much is fact. She certainly has the accents written perfectly and I really enjoyed my own trip down memory lane that this aspect of the book inspired. Chambers is a best selling author and deserves to do well with this, her latest book. Indeed, the other reviews that I have seen for PAYBACK suggest that she will.

As is typical of large, crime families, loyalty is everything to the Butlers. Queenie Butler is a powerful, matriarchal figure and her sons love her fiercely. The family has more than its share of tragedy and the book begins with a double funeral; Queenie's son, Roy, has committed suicide and her nephew, Lenny, has been killed in a car crash. The family struggles to put a brave face on things and keep it together but when the truth of the crash is discovered that the driver was one of their own - there is big trouble.

Vinny, Queenie's oldest son, is a nasty bully and a powerful figure in the East End. He is generally feared for his violent nature and doesn't think twice about killing the man who stole his first love. As his catalogue of wrong-doings increases, so does the number of people who want revenge. When Vinny's baby daughter is kidnapped, his world collapses around him and he does everything he can to find her. It seems as if this is finally the payback that so many people want.

While I liked the story line for PAYBACK, and thought that some of the characters were interesting, it was not really my type of book. My main problem was that is was far too easy a read for me and I didn't find it at all gripping or chilling. Having said that, I don't want to suggest that the book is bad just not my thing. If you like a nice, easy read that won't leave you a drained, emotional wreck then this is the book for you. Personally, I like to be disturbed by what I read and this, unfortunately, didn't even come close.

Amanda C M Gillies, Scotland
August 2014

Amanda blogs at
Old Dogs and New Tricks.

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 9/10/2014 14:11