Bermondsey Trifle - Chris   Ward
Where do I start? What a shame this book is so poorly written because the plot is excellent. It���s got everything you want from a South-East London gangster book including the violence of the Millwall supporters and even Albanian Special Forces.

But - and this is a huge BUT - Chris Ward fails completely when attempting to write conversations in the colloquial dialect or using the cultural nuances of South-East London. Nobody expects an author to write in the Glottal Stop (Oh��� Ken��� Row��� for Old Kent Road and so on), it would be impossible to read, but at least try and make them sound tough.

When getting in an ordered cab Paul (whose one of our mates, by the way) turns to the driver and says, ���Don���t ever press that horn if you come here again. Get off your fat arse, walk into the club and say you���re here, is that alright?���

Is that alright? So he gives the driver a rollocking and then asks if it���s alright. Not really hard, is it? Another time he turns to his brother, Tony, who���s the mad dog of the family, and says, ���For God���s sake Tony, get a life.��� Yes, Tony, get a life for goodness sake.

Every gangster has to have a mad dog brother, right? You���ve got to have a mixture of brains and brawn in the family. Look at Peaky Blinders!

Here���s another couple of examples; ���I wanted to call you hours ago. In fact, I want to see you, Emma, the truth is, I haven���t stopped thinking about you all day.��� He sounds more like Admiral Darcy in Bridget Jones���s Diary that a toughened gangster who���s been dragged up on the streets of Bermondsey, Rotherhithe and New Cross.

We find out right in the beginning of the book that Paul has a posh-totty girlfriend living in Chelsea or somewhere. There���s a lot going on ��� another firm from Essex, arguments over door territory, a Millwall game, all standard stuff really ��� and then we find Paul and Tony having a drink with a couple of employees down the Oh��� Ken��� Row.��� There���s a gang of girls in the pub, one of whom takes Paul���s eye. They���ve travelled to South-East London in the hope of meeting some real life East London gangsters. Call me pedantic, but I���d have thought that East London would probably be a better place to meet East London gangsters than south of the river in Bermondsey.

Anyway, there���s a fight or two and Paul pulls the girl. Now I���m thinking, ���Where is he going to take her? Not back to his place in Chelsea where he���s set up with the bit of posh-totty, surely? But I���ve got it all wrong. This IS the posh-totty. This is how they met. We hear about her right in the beginning and then as the story is still flowing and lots of things are happening they actually meet! This is how the book jumps around. Or perhaps Chris Ward simply forgot he���d introduced her to us already.

Emma, of course, is a complete bimbo. She gets so excited about Paul coming to see her and her mind���s in such turmoil that she doesn���t know what to do first, shower or put her ���make up��� on. I���d opt for shower myself, but what do I know? There could well be some shower-resistant makeup on the market that would prevent her eyeliner running down her face, although I can see how that would add to her dark, mysterious mood.

(Makeup is one word, by the way, Chris, not two)

But it���s the atrocious way the book is formatted that makes it so awful to read. Quite often - a lot of times in fact - a section of a chapter finishes, or so you think, because it then carries on after a little break as if nothing had happened. Here���s an example;

���.. pushing her tongue deep into his mouth. They kissed for a few seconds

(chapter break)

until Paul pulled away. ���Wow you���re a good kisser. I could do that for hours.���

And he doesn���t exactly talk like a Cockney either, does he? More like a 13-year-old schoolboy from the stockbroker belt kissing a girl behind the bicycle sheds. Here���s another example;

..... Micky the Torch who liked setting fire to buildings and Tommy the Fence

(chapter break ��� why does he like setting fire to Tommy the Fence, I wonder)

who took stolen property ���..

Ah, okay. One of these formatting typos again. As you can imagine, this doesn���t add to the reader���s enjoyment of the book.

All in all, the book���s poorly written and with regret I can���t honestly give it more than a 2 Star rating.