Taken – Jacqui Rose

“Casey Edwards has demons to put to rest. Since she had to give away her baby at 15, she’s been lost in booze and bad company. But now she wants to find her child and put things right. Heading to Soho, Casey meets former gangster Vaughn Sadler, an old-school hard man who can still handle himself – and anyone else. There’s a spark between Vaughn and Casey but she can’t let herself get hurt, not again.

To find the truth, Casey must enter the dark world of London’s gangland: hard drugs, vice, even people trafficking. Soon she discovers that mob boss Alfie Jennings and sadistic psycho Oscar Hardings are plotting something dangerous, something brutal. Something that puts Casey – and her child – in serious trouble . . . “

First of all I’d like to thank the author (@JacPereirauk on Twitter) for sending me this paperback copy of her debut novel to review.

This book is currently number one in three categories on Amazon Kindle and I can completely see why! Now I don’t often read books of this genre so I was pleasantly surprised by how gripped I was by it, once I had started reading I just didn’t want to stop (unfortunately I had to now and then as real life was calling, but every chance I got I sneaked back to read some more).

The story captured my interest on the first few pages, it is a simple idea of a mum looking for a child she was forced to give up, but it has been written so well that this simple idea is turned into an unputdownable drama. It is based around the sordid world of gangsters and criminal activity, this obviously means that there is swearing, violence and drugs included in it so if that is something that might offend you then this book isn’t for you.

I did find some moments unpleasant and uncomfortable to read but I feel that they were necessary to create the right atmosphere for the story and to enable the reader to understand the world that Casey has found herself in.

The characters were explained well from their past to the present and this made it easier for me to understand some of their actions. Casey’s strength was inspiring especially after having her child taken away at such a young age and the life she led after that event. Vaughn was a great character, I really liked how protective he was over Casey even when he didn’t know her very well. You could tell he was a tough man but he definitely had a softer side and that made him one of my favourites in this book.

There were a few funny moments in the story which was unexpected and I particularly liked the use of the cockney rhyming slang that was dotted throughout the book (some I’d heard of before and some took me a minute to work out).

This is a gritty and addictive book that really had me on the edge of my seat.

Taken is available to buy now in paperback and eBook formats.

You can find out more information about Jacqui Rose on her website here.