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Maitland, Barry - 'Spider Trap'
Trade Paperback: 384 pages (Aug 2006) Publisher: Allen & Unwin ISBN: 1741148169

The bodies of two young girls are found, shot and discarded in an old abandoned warehouse in the Cockpit Lane district in Brixton, London. Nearby, the activity of the police investigation sparks the interest of a young schoolboy who is obsessed with a school myth about "Brown Bread" and an abandoned wasteland near the warehouse and his school. Nobody really knows what "Brown Bread" is, but the whole school has known for years that it's hidden on that bit of wasteland. The problem is that the wasteland reveals three skeletons and they don't seem to be the "Brown Bread" that everyone's been talking about. The skeletons have been there since the Brixton riots around 20 years ago.

The Cockpit Lane area is the heart of the West Indian Community in London and Brock has previous history with them, and with one of the original crime families from before the West Indian invasion. The Roach family members are now worth serious money and it seems, have gone straight, but it was a different story for them at the time of the Brixton riots.

There was something really engaging about this book. The investigation of the death of the two girls is sidelined by the discovery of the three skeletons, but there are some elegant twists and turns which tie everything together. There are some really engaging and involving stories around the victims, the West Indian Community and how many of the younger members of that community came to be in London. There is a great supporting cast within the West Indian Community, and there are some complicated and involving connections between them, Brock, Kolla, the victims and the local villains. These interplaying connections add a level of reality to the entire storyline. There are some private life goings on for both Brock and Kolla. Brock's personal life story goes to how he reacts and feels about being dragged back into his own past. Kolla's becomes integral to the storyline of the investigation but is not a distraction from that.

SPIDER TRAP is ultimately a really engaging story which is very readable.

NB. SPIDER TRAP, the ninth in the Brock and Kolla series, is currently only available in an Australian edition.

Karen Chisholm, Australia
August 2006

last updated 8/05/2009 15:12