Why do the British seem to be so much better than Americans at depicting gay criminals? I’m thinking of Jake Arnott, Jack Dickson, among several others. Has it something to do with the British culture’s apparently ambivalent attitude about the Cambridge spies Guy Burgess and Anthony Blunt and the racketeer Ronnie Kray as contrasted with our more puritanical, judgmental mentality?

Crook entertainingly follows the twists and turns in the life of Ned Fickler, a London black teenager on the dole who finds crime irresistible. Since his best mate is the incredibly stupid and homophobic Colly Briggs, Ned prefers to work on his own whenever possible.

Life gets complicated when he falls for young police detective Jason Truman. Brought together by a sort of quid pro quo pair of incidents—Ned saves Jason from a vicious assault; Jason saves Ned from a robbery charge—Jason continues to turn a blind eye when necessary to Ned’s forays to the wrong side of the law.

However, he has no real inkling, even as they begin to share the same flat, just how felonious Ned’s life is becoming under the tutelage of gangster boss Harold Palmer. The chronicle of Ned’s misdemeanors segues into a murder mystery: who has stomped people who got into Palmer’s way to death? But the reader’s true interest from beginning to end is discovering whether the beguiling and charismatic teenage dodger will pull off his next scheme.

The striking cover by Paul Richmond illustrates the opening scene in which Ned is mysteriously attracted to the portrait of the guy whose flat he is burgling, not knowing at the time that it belongs to Jason or that he is a copper.
By Michael Gouda
Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 9781615815364
Paperback, 232 p., $16.99
ISBN 9781615815371
eBook, $6.99

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4 Responses to “‘Crook’ by Michael Gouda”

  1. […] CROOK By Michael Gouda Dreamspinner Press ISBN 9781615815364 Paperback, 232 p., $16.99 ISBN 9781615815371 eBook, $6.99 [Read the review] […]

  2. […] CROOK by Michael Gouda Dreamspinner Press […]

  3. […] ‘Crook’ by Michael Gouda […]

  4. […] ‘Crook’ by Michael Gouda | Lambda LiterarySep 13, 2010 … CROOK By Michael Gouda · Dreamspinner Press ISBN 9781615815364. Paperback, 232 p., $16.99. ISBN 9781615815371 eBook, $6.99 … […]

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