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The Business

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Imelda Dooley is scared. Really scared. She's played hard and fast and now she's been caught. She's pregnant and now she's on her own. Her father, not a man to mess with, will see that somebody pays for this. And it's not going to be her. So Imelda Dooley tells a lie. A lie that literally causes murders. When Mary Dooley's husband is killed in the night's events, she knows Imelda Dooley is scared. Really scared. She's played hard and fast and now she's been caught. She's pregnant and now she's on her own. Her father, not a man to mess with, will see that somebody pays for this. And it's not going to be her. So Imelda Dooley tells a lie. A lie that literally causes murders. When Mary Dooley's husband is killed in the night's events, she knows she must graft to keep the family afloat. And graft she does, becoming a name in her own right. But she still has to watch her daughter's life spiral into a vicious, hate-fuelled cycle of drugs and prostitution. Caught up in the carnage that is Imelda's existence are Mary's adored grandchildren, Jordanna and Kenny. Pretty little Jordanna isn't yet three and she already knows far too much. All she can do is look after her baby brother, Kenny, and try not to draw unwanted attention to herself.


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Imelda Dooley is scared. Really scared. She's played hard and fast and now she's been caught. She's pregnant and now she's on her own. Her father, not a man to mess with, will see that somebody pays for this. And it's not going to be her. So Imelda Dooley tells a lie. A lie that literally causes murders. When Mary Dooley's husband is killed in the night's events, she knows Imelda Dooley is scared. Really scared. She's played hard and fast and now she's been caught. She's pregnant and now she's on her own. Her father, not a man to mess with, will see that somebody pays for this. And it's not going to be her. So Imelda Dooley tells a lie. A lie that literally causes murders. When Mary Dooley's husband is killed in the night's events, she knows she must graft to keep the family afloat. And graft she does, becoming a name in her own right. But she still has to watch her daughter's life spiral into a vicious, hate-fuelled cycle of drugs and prostitution. Caught up in the carnage that is Imelda's existence are Mary's adored grandchildren, Jordanna and Kenny. Pretty little Jordanna isn't yet three and she already knows far too much. All she can do is look after her baby brother, Kenny, and try not to draw unwanted attention to herself.

30 review for The Business

  1. 4 out of 5

    The Cats’ Mother

    I've enjoyed her previous books, but this one got irritatingly repetitive, and the constant swearing is wearing. She spends so long describing her characters personalities and motivation, over and over again, that if you took that out, there'd only be a 100 pages of actual story. The central character is so unrelentingly awful that I really lost interest and only finished it to find out if the ending was as predictable as I'd thought. It was.

  2. 4 out of 5

    ReaderSP

    What has happened to Martina Cole? I used to LOVE her books and would await eagerly for the next one to be published but I have been left so disappointed with her last few attempts at writing. This story follows Jordanna and Imelda as they battle their way through life. Everything in this book, Martina has written before and I mean EVERYTHING. You can predict exactly what will happen right from the beginning. The repetition is so bad that the book could easily have been reduced by half. I cannot What has happened to Martina Cole? I used to LOVE her books and would await eagerly for the next one to be published but I have been left so disappointed with her last few attempts at writing. This story follows Jordanna and Imelda as they battle their way through life. Everything in this book, Martina has written before and I mean EVERYTHING. You can predict exactly what will happen right from the beginning. The repetition is so bad that the book could easily have been reduced by half. I cannot say how disappointed I am...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bev Taylor

    love your family. hate your enemies. know the business imelda has only two interests - herself and drugs - which she does her utmost to achieve single she finds herself pregnant and this results in her father and the father of her child being killed thru her untruths she has a daughter which she neglects and leaves with her mother only when she wants some money she then has a son but whilst pregnant she kills the possible father and then blames her daughter who is only 3 her mother is once again love your family. hate your enemies. know the business imelda has only two interests - herself and drugs - which she does her utmost to achieve single she finds herself pregnant and this results in her father and the father of her child being killed thru her untruths she has a daughter which she neglects and leaves with her mother only when she wants some money she then has a son but whilst pregnant she kills the possible father and then blames her daughter who is only 3 her mother is once again left to pick up the pieces whilst taking over her husband's business and running it very successfully set in the heart of london's criminal world it serves up a disturbing picture of drugs and prostitution; people out for themselves; grudges borne and basically a fight for survival this is 500 pages in hardback and quite honestly i found it very hard to get into. for every 100 pages they were all narrative (meaning impossible to really get into the characters as well) with about 4 of dialogue and very drawn out and repetitive for this i would give it 2.5 stars would have been nice to have a normal person. also how did the mother not manage to discover where her husband had secreted his money? bev ps a giveaways competition win

  4. 5 out of 5

    Baba

    A tale of a London criminal dynasty forever overshadowed by a malevolent female junkie relative in their midst - was my original one sentence review. 6 out of 12 Sounds like one worth rereading, if I recall correctly.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jane Shambler

    Excellent Cole manages to put you right there. It's part of society we prefer to ignore. But Cole doesn't allow you to walk away. It's a very powerful book. She also handles it well. While telling the truth yet trying to be sensitive to the children. Awesome read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marg

    I liked the book but it was overly repetative - I only needed to be told once how dumb Imeldas brothers were, once how selfish she was, once how fragile Jordana was and please only once how big Kenny Boy was. did not need to be told every page of every chapter!!!!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    Hmm...this book is difficult for me to rate. The Business was my first introduction to Martina Cole and one of those impulse buys while doing a weekly shop. The story took me a while to get into and I found the setting - the heart of London's gangster culture - disturbing and at times, difficult & unpleasant to read. However, Martina Cole's writing makes it a page turner and it gripped me enough to stay with it until the end. My heart went out to the little two year old Jordanna, and I was Hmm...this book is difficult for me to rate. The Business was my first introduction to Martina Cole and one of those impulse buys while doing a weekly shop. The story took me a while to get into and I found the setting - the heart of London's gangster culture - disturbing and at times, difficult & unpleasant to read. However, Martina Cole's writing makes it a page turner and it gripped me enough to stay with it until the end. My heart went out to the little two year old Jordanna, and I was horrified by what she had to witness and go through so early on in her life. I think it's this aspect that made The Business initially such an uncomfortable read because it gives the reader a stirring that this is what life is really like for some people. Whether you like it or love it, Martina Cole has the gift for telling a gritty and unforgettable story. And, yes, I *will* read her books again - but perhaps one that doesn't have such full-on swearing with every character.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bill

    As always, Martina Cole writes with an incredible knowledge of the sad, but extremely lucrative, world of organised crime in London, with its violent involvement in protection rackets, drugs, prostitution and various other anti-social behavioural aspects. The author lost many friends in the 70s and 80s caught up in heroin addiction, and writes with a passionate approach to the innocent parties (particularly children) who suffer dreadfully as a consequence. Part of the vernacular is rather coarse, As always, Martina Cole writes with an incredible knowledge of the sad, but extremely lucrative, world of organised crime in London, with it’s violent involvement in protection rackets, drugs, prostitution and various other anti-social behavioural aspects. The author lost many friends in the 70’s and 80’s caught up in heroin addiction, and writes with a passionate approach to the innocent parties (particularly children) who suffer dreadfully as a consequence. Part of the vernacular is rather coarse, which some readers may find offensive, but it captures the environment in which the story is set. My only criticism is perhaps duplication of various phrases and events throughout the book, but this may be deliberate to reinforce the message. I found it an excellent book and recommend it as great reading for anyone who is interested in learning more about this dreadful scene.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Yury

    Terrible. Extremely ugly writing in ugly language about ugly people. Author has a single most favourite word (starting with F) which she puts in the random places. I am sure pimps and drug dealers use F-word and others more creatively. Every thought seems to be repeated three times. "She was tired. Really tired. F-ng tired". And then three more after a few pages. Unfortunately I dropped my pocketbook in the sea, so I was stuck with this book picked up in the hotel lobby. Be warned. F-ng bad.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Ginny Mcpherson

    Felt it repeated itself over and over again. Storyline was ok but it took 2pages to explain something that could be done well in a paragraph. I have just read reviews from others and have noticed I am not the only person to think this. This was my first Martina Cole book and was not bothered about reading another but maybe I shall now if I believe other reviews, saying this is not like her normally?

  11. 4 out of 5

    Arwen

    I read this straight after 'The Graft' and frankly didn't like it so much. It could easily be 100 pages shorter. I think Martina Cole's strong points are dialogue and action. She doesn't disappoint in either, but there is page after page of character analysis and psychology which I found boring and repetitive. I still enjoyed the book but found myself skipping chunks of it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    100% Martina Cole fans will love this one

  13. 5 out of 5

    Aastha

    its a good read. its intense. martina cole is amazing.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sian

    I think after this book I'm now done with Martina Cole. The first MC book I read was The Ladykiller and I was gripped from start to finish, predictable in places but overall I enjoyed the read. It lead me on to her other books, which to start with were quite good, but now they are all the same, once you've read two or three they start to become the same book. Change the names of the characters and set it in a slightly different part of London and it makes for the same monotonous reading, book I think after this book I'm now done with Martina Cole. The first MC book I read was The Ladykiller and I was gripped from start to finish, predictable in places but overall I enjoyed the read. It lead me on to her other books, which to start with were quite good, but now they are all the same, once you've read two or three they start to become the same book. Change the names of the characters and set it in a slightly different part of London and it makes for the same monotonous reading, book after book, and The Business is by far the worst of them all. It was boring, predictable, repetitive, and no depth to any of the characters nor storyline. I usually find it hard to part with books even after they've been read as I like to go back to them but as of today every Martina Cole book has been cleared out and donated to a charity shop freeing up shelf space for something more enjoyable.

  15. 4 out of 5

    R. Phyllis

    How do you make a book full of murder and crime so utterly tedious to read? The characters are flat, and the descriptions are a repetitive slog of stereotypes. Several character descriptions arent worth reading as the character is dropped two pages later. The story skips forward in time as and when it likes, dwells on people slagging the protagonist off and then rushes through major character deaths in one wishy-washy paragraph. This book was a chore to read, but on the bright side the characters How do you make a book full of murder and crime so utterly tedious to read? The characters are flat, and the descriptions are a repetitive slog of stereotypes. Several character descriptions arent worth reading as the character is dropped two pages later. The story skips forward in time as and when it likes, dwells on people slagging the protagonist off and then rushes through major character deaths in one wishy-washy paragraph. This book was a chore to read, but on the bright side the characters were flat enough and the story was plain enough that I could go weeks without opening the book and still be able to jump straight back in. A neighbour gave me this book and some other Coles, sheepishly admitting that The Business isn't Cole's strongest work. Despite this, I'm keeping my expectations low for the rest, and am glad I didn't pay for this disappointment.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I was bored to death with this book. I've tried so hard to keep on track, tried so hard to connect with the characters but it just wouldn't come. Everything about the way this was written was overly repetitive. I never once remembered getting intrigued, excited, or any positive emotion wash over me while reading this book and thus I was halfway through it, I decided that I've had enough. I usually don't ever stop midway while I've started a book because I've made it an importance to finish what I was bored to death with this book. I've tried so hard to keep on track, tried so hard to connect with the characters but it just wouldn't come. Everything about the way this was written was overly repetitive. I never once remembered getting intrigued, excited, or any positive emotion wash over me while reading this book and thus I was halfway through it, I decided that I've had enough. I usually don't ever stop midway while I've started a book because I've made it an importance to finish what I've started but I just couldn't go on with this one. And I'm relatively sad that this is the first book of Martina Cole's that I've read because I've heard some good stuff about her other works but I'm pretty sure I won't be picking her up from the bookstores for a long while.

  17. 5 out of 5

    jeannette allerston

    Another gem Martina Cole What a rollercoaster of a ride, what a broken family ,i,ve read this book twice and the second time I found myself reading parts that I some how missed the first time around, when I read books on this subject (family), I find myself feeling so lucky to have come from such a big loving family , sadly my father passed away very young, having older brothers and sisters this story has made me appreciate my family thank you Martina 😉 and Annie Aldington brilliantly narrated as Another gem Martina Cole What a rollercoaster of a ride, what a broken family ,i,ve read this book twice and the second time I found myself reading parts that I some how missed the first time around, when I read books on this subject (family), I find myself feeling so lucky to have come from such a big loving family , sadly my father passed away very young, having older brothers and sisters this story has made me appreciate my family thank you Martina 😉 and Annie Aldington brilliantly narrated as always 10/10..... 5 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mary Pimbblet

    I've read a few Martina Cole books now, and wasn't expecting a fabulously written masterpiece, but this is shocking. I don't think an editor has been near this, it feels like it's been dictated and not even proof read. Everything is incredibly repetitive, the author can't seem to work out if half the characters are stupid or really intelligent. I also got extremely sick at being told to be sympathetic to junkies every second page, because even if they do completely evil things it isn't their I've read a few Martina Cole books now, and wasn't expecting a fabulously written masterpiece, but this is shocking. I don't think an editor has been near this, it feels like it's been dictated and not even proof read. Everything is incredibly repetitive, the author can't seem to work out if half the characters are stupid or really intelligent. I also got extremely sick at being told to be sympathetic to junkies every second page, because even if they do completely evil things it isn't their fault. There is probably a good story here somewhere, but this really didn't work well.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Pam Boardman

    I have read some of her books some time ago and enjoyed them, so I decided to read another one of her books. I was so surprised that this book was awful. It is very long with many long pages repeating over and over. The whole book is about murders, and they seem to get away with killing people. All of the characters were people you would not like to meet.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Bennet

    I like this one but with some distance. The story and the characters are very interesting and the writing has its own distinctive style but it could have been half as long and just as good. There are a lot of ways to say things and this writer uses all of them at the same time in the same paragraph. So it was a challenge not to skip any and I didn't.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lucy Wildman-Ayre

    The repetition / of language in this book was very frustrating and quite disappointing. The over description of situations and the characters got very tiresome. I did, however enjoy the story about how one individuals complete selfishness and lack of empathy and compassion can have an incredibly horrific knock on affect for generations.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Maria Ryder

    I forced myself to finish this book. I don't know why the rave reviews, I found it repetitive, dull and predictable. I bought this book and another Martina Cole book from a charity shop on the recommendation of a friend, I am taking them both back to re-donate them without even looking at the second one.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Susan J. Barrett

    Loved it. Raw and immersive, utterly spellbinding, hard hitting, gritty, frustrating (Imelda is loathsome with absolutely no redeeming factors), and brilliant. Not for the faint hearted. Martina Cole is now firmly on my list of favourite authors.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Emma Shaw

    Brill

  25. 4 out of 5

    lindsey harper

    I normally love reading Martina cole books but I was bored reading this there wasnt much to the storyline just the same things getting repeated along the way I normally love reading Martina cole books but I was bored reading this there wasn’t much to the storyline just the same things getting repeated along the way

  26. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra Berkeley

    Disappointing High expectations from a avid fan sadly not met read with known predictably not the unexpected highs in previous books

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Garlant

    Glad to see the word repetitive appear in so many reviews. This book could seriously have been cut in half. Dull, dull, dull. Glad to see the word ‘repetitive’ appear in so many reviews. This book could seriously have been cut in half. Dull, dull, dull.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Roxanne

    Well, as in all Cole's books I really enjoyed the story, however the repetition in her latest books can be really annoying.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Gail Marchant

    Not Martinas best Repetitive story you feel you read before Not Martina’s best Repetitive story you feel you read before

  30. 4 out of 5

    Olivia

    I found this easy to read but so repetitive. For the length of it nothing much happens so its ok if you dont want to have to think too much. I found this easy to read but so repetitive. For the length of it nothing much happens so it’s ok if you don’t want to have to think too much.

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