Crime You Just Can't Put Down; He Kills Coppers. by Jake Arnott (Sceptre, Pounds 10). Reviewed by Monica Foot
Byline: Monica Foot
Jake Arnott is one of British publishing's new blue-eyed boys. Before turning to writing novels, he had a most chequered career, ranging from labouring and life modelling to stand-up comedy. His first book, The Long Firm, was a smash hit a couple of years back and is now being made into a television series by the BBC.
It is, as we reviewers say, a 'thundering good read' and it deals with, among other themes, the Krays and Jack the Hat - villains of the kind of crime with which the British love to read about in their tabloids and whom they tend to sentimentalise with remarks like 'They only killed their own'.
With He Kills Coppers, Arnott returns to that most unremembered of days: the recent past. His evocative powers are admirable, his writing style succinct, his careful ability to plot is exemplary and he keeps you on tenterhooks to the last page.
His are not ostensibly sympathetic characters, yet he makes you care about their fates. His three main protagonists lives are adroitly charted and cunningly interwoven. Frank Taylor is a policeman whose career spans the vicissitudes of The Met through the 1960s and 70s, hippies, squats, protest, all that led to the police triumphalism over the Orgreave pickets and the whole dubious role of the police in the defeat of the miners' strike. …