Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Hope Road” as Want to Read:
Hope Road
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Hope Road

(LS9 #1)

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  778 ratings  ·  64 reviews

A gripping read... A fascinating study in dark and evil... The stuff of Great British grit and dark, dark humour … Barlow provides plenty of twists and turns before the truth is revealed. But what is most enjoyable about Barlow's writing isn't his story archs or plotting, but his characters, dialogue and sense of place... Beautifully cinematic… far more cinematic than a Mc

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published December 13th 2011
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Hope Road, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Hope Road

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.59  · 
Rating details
 ·  778 ratings  ·  64 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Hope Road
Jul 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have had this book on my kindle for quite a while and I am very pleased I finally decided to read it. There are quite a few characters in this book but this just adds to the great story, and they are all quite believable. There are lots of twists and turns, although all is not as it seems as you will discover at the end. The book was gripping, thrilling and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Jan 28, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle, kbr
Hope Road is set in the Yorkshire town of Leeds and follows John Ray – son and brother of notorious criminals. John Ray has always been the good boy of the family, turning away from a life of crime. The author clearly knows Leeds well, and he describes the areas and locations excellently,

The book starts with the murder of a prostitute, and twists and turns until we find out who the girl actually is, and the complicated story of how she came to die. There are a number of different things going on
Jan Cole
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
I found this book kind of on the boring side. Guess it's just not my favourite style. The gangster type characters were not that well identified and the story line was a little hard to follow. The book revolved around John trying to clear a friend and co-worker of murder. It just didn't hold my interest. ...more
Penny Post
Aug 28, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book, could even relate to characters though most were criminals, prostitutes or police. In fact, the book is written so you get attached to the main character. The honest one in a family of criminals. The story lines takes you along with Den (Denise) officer who is called out on a body found in the trunk of a car owned by her boyfriend, John, the good one! She is immediately removed from the case but keeps letting herself be drawn in by John. While second story line follows the m ...more
Mar 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Better Than Goodfellows

A quirky yet enchanting tale of the son who got out of the family business. John Ray spent his life trying to get out from underneath the "cloud" of his family name. When his good friend and protege ends up in jail John will do whatever is necessary to prove his innocence. A well written mystery with fascinating characters. Great plot with a lot of twists and turns.
Frank Roberto
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a great first book.

I selected this book because reading the description appealed toe. I'm always looking for new authors to read and new characters to learn about and new series to begin. This was a very fast read because it was full of action and the story didn't drag on. I can't wait to read the next two books in the series.
Jun 11, 2020 rated it liked it
John is the good man in a bad family, a sort of Yorkshire Michael Corleone. But things go horribly wrong when a young woman dies. Competent crime story.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Not quite what I expected and all the better for it. I'd like to read the other two books and continue with John Ray's journey. ...more
Matt Schiariti
Jan 28, 2013 rated it liked it
John Ray: prodigal son of the infamous Tony Ray crime family. He’d always wanted to be cut from a different cloth. He was the one they were most proud of. The straight shooter, the legitimate one. Top honors in school, university degree. He’d left home for over two decades, looking to wipe the grime of the family name off of himself. To take things one step further, he turned his father’s high end used car business into a completely legit and successful operation. John Ray thought he’d separated ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
John Ray never wanted anything to do with his father's criminal activity, and education was his ticket out of that lifestyle. After graduating from Cambridge and going abroad to Spain, John worked as a corporate accountant for two firms in London and Manchester for fifteen years. Two years ago, all that changed when his older brother Joe was gunned down in a gangland murder, and he found himself back in the Yorkshire town of Leeds, bound and determined to turn the family secondhand automobile de ...more
A.C. Flory
Dec 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
I read somewhere recently that it takes about six or seven exposures to an author's name for that name to register with readers. Well, I'm living proof that theory is correct!

John Barlow, the author of Hope Road, writes the odd post for Indies Unlimited, and I must have enjoyed those posts, because when I stumbled across his name in the Amazon 'readers who bought X also bought Y' list, a little light bulb went off in my head.

Needless to say I bought Hope Road, and read it. What the theory did no
Jun 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
John Ray has spent years trying to escape the connotations of his family name. He's known in Leeds as the son of Tony Ray, notorious crime boss. After almost making a clean break he comes back to take on his Dad's garage, and make it legit. He even has a police officer girlfriend completing the veneer of respectability. That is until a dead girl is found in the boot of a vehicle that traces back to the garage. His employee and friend Freddy looks set to be charged with the murder, and initially ...more
Amy H
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: radical-red
this was a great book to read, but in the end i think it dragged out. I mean i could of easly skipped over the last 60 pages to finally to the ending that i was waiting to read. Other than that is was a great crime book.

Tony Ray is a son of a huge crime boss. He on the other hand was on the straight and narrow. Got great grades in high school then moved onto college were he continued his straight a mark. Then one day he watched his brother get shot in the head by a bunch of thugs things started
Charlotte English
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't usually enjoy books written in the present tense, but in the interests of being open-minded I gave this one a try. What comes across as pretentious in some books actually worked well here. It gave the story an interesting feeling of immediacy.

John Ray is a great hero. He's rather charming without being sleazy, he's popular and confident but without being obnoxiously arrogant. His background is interesting: how do you get away from the stigma of being part of a notorious crime family? I
Jun 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Ray is the white sheep of his family. His father, now in a nursing home, was a well-known crime figure in Leeds as was his older brother. Even his mother had her own string of knock-offs going till her death.

John tried to escape. He went to Cambridge and took jobs out of Leeds until his father's stroke brought him home to help his brother decide what to do with the family's used car business on Hope Road, a business that fronts for various criminal activities.

As they discuss options, an unk
Beth Kemp
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
A lot of the energy of this novel comes from its present tense narrative, which works well at bringing immediacy to the story. It's told in the third person, largely from John's viewpoint. John is a great character: tough and streetwise because of his criminal heritage, but trying desperately to be a good guy and run a legitimate business. It's not hard to sympathise with him as he runs around trying to find out what really happened and to clear Freddy.

Denise and John's relationship adds a furth
Feb 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
John Barlow has accomplished something with me. Reviews I've read in other places say the same thing. I don't normally favor books in the present tense. But since I do like British crime novels, I decided to give it a try.

I was son lost in the world of John Ray, son of crime boss Tony Ray, and the, I guess you would call him the white sheep of the family. He'd been through college, brilliantly, and had an accountant's degree.

He had come home after his brother was murdered and his father had had
Jun 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
John Ray grew up in a mob family but decided to go straight. When he was a kid, he secretly wanted to be a cop. He went to Cambridge, got a degree in accounting and didn't want to go back to his home town of Leeds. His dad and brother worked out of a car dealership, using that as their cover for their "business dealings".

John went back for a visit and while standing in the dealership with his dad and brother, his brother was shot and died. His dad was old and was put into a nursing home. John s
Aug 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Are we a product of our family, or can we escape our past? This is a central question in the novel "Hope Road." John Ray is the youngest son of Tony Ray, a notorious counterfeiter in Leeds. After 20 years, he has come back to Leeds. When his older brother is killed, he takes over the family car dealership.

One morning, a young woman is found dead in the trunk of a car that tracks back to the dealership, and John's life turns upside down. His friend and employee is nabbed for the murder and John m
Jun 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Not written in the usual style I'd read, I wasn't sure if I could keep going at the very beginning, but I was easily pulled in to the crime and mystery behind it. Who did the actual deed? Is the main suspect telling the truth? What's he hiding? We ask these questions all the time in these kinds of novels, but we stop asking them as the book goes on, usually because we've figured out what it is that's going on. When reading this book you will be constantly asking the questions, right to the end. ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a Kindle freebie. It's the first in what the author plans will be a nine-book series. The protagonist is a man named John Ray, the son of a successful master counterfeiter in the north of England. His father has had a series of strokes and his brother, who had been a ruthless criminal in his own right, was murdered. John, an accountant who has stayed out of the family business, has returned and fashioned a legitimate business from what had been his father's front and the hub for his cri ...more
Janice Spina
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a first rate crime novel that kept my interest from the first page. The dialogue flows and the storyline is gripping as each new piece of evidence is uncovered. John Ray, the main character, fights to step away from his father and brother's criminal background. He takes over his father's second-hand car business and tries to make it into a legitimate business. But sometimes the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read with a few surprises for the reade ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: on-kindle
This was a wonderful book, just my kind of mystery. Set in Northern England (Leeds, Yorkshire) it is reminiscent of an Ian Rankin Rebus mystery. The characters were well-developed, not perfect by any means, and the mystery remained just that until close to the end of the book. Because it was told in the third person, most often through the main character, John Ray, there was a sense of immediacy, that I felt I was in the story as it played out. I highly recommend this book and am starting the ne ...more
Sally Beaudean
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
Hope Road tells an interesting story about a man who was born into a family of crime who, despite his best efforts to be legitimate, falls into the family's criminal path. The decided weakness for me is the writer's use of sentence fragments. Drives me crazy. (Yes, I did that purposefully.) I enjoyed the British terminology and some of the powerful descriptions, but I was dissatisfied with the conclusion. It's not a great book, but it's better than any book I'be written. ...more
Dec 26, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: ebook, crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Not a bad crime story with several twists. kept me reading to the end and wanting to see the outcome. As a free kindle download this was brilliant value.
It read easy a few grammatical errors but this is more to do with quality control than errors by the author.
Would recommend this to readers of crime who want a decent story but who do not want to take notes in order to understand what is going on. You get a feel for the characters and can begin to picture them in your mind.
Pam Whitman
Oct 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Suspenseful but language barrier caused a little confusion

Who would have thought that an American could be blindsided often throughout a novel due to British slang? It made me wonder how difficult some of our contemporary novels might be for the British to read. I had fun, though, guessing what the slang words and expressions might mean.

Other than that, I found the book to be suspenseful and well written. The characters were believable!e and well developed,
Ruby Barnes
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this crime thriller. It kept me in its grip
The fifth star was lost for me by problems I had with believing the interaction between two characters (John and Lanny) and the denouement. Both of the lads seemed to fall out of character on the occasions they confronted each other.
Nevertheless, hioghly recommended and I'll definitely be reading more John Barlow.
Feb 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: uk

Not going to offer a summary of the story. I'll just say it's entertaining and worth a read. A few typos, but overall a readable book.

The story line of Tony Ray and family reminded me somewhat of "The Godfather" movies. John Ray, the prodigal son, coming back home to run a legitimate business drew me in. Connie's character was a good inclusion.
Lori Cook
Nov 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
More complicated that a normal mystery, but he keeps it clear and compelling. I loved Den, wanted to give her a slap but understood her at the same time. VERY moving scenario she found herself in. And the ending was superb. Great read all round, even if set in a place I'd never heard of. ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Murder on the Mind (Jeff Resnick Mystery, #1)
  • Multiple Motives (Kate Huntington Mysteries #1)
  • The Missings
  • The Savannah Project (Jake Pendleton #1)
  • Justification for Murder (The Darcy Lynch Series Book 1)
  • Too Quiet In Brooklyn (Fina Fitzgibbons, #1)
  • Lie Kill Walk Away
  • Smoke Screen (The Darcy Lynch Series Book 2)
  • Birdsongs (Benny James Mystery #1)
  • Photographing the Dead (Nameless #2)
  • A Cutthroat Business (A Savannah Martin Mystery, #1)
  • Murder Passes the Buck (Gertie Johnson, #1)
  • The Praying Mantis Bride (Nameless #3)
  • Sloane Monroe Series Boxed Set (Books 1-3)
  • The Mercy of Snakes (Nameless #5)
  • Memories of Tomorrow (Nameless #6)
  • The I.P.O.
  • Corita Kent: Gentle Revolutionary of the Heart (People of God)
See similar books…
John Barlow's prize-winning fiction and non-fiction has been published by HarperCollins/William Morrow, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 4th Estate and various others in the UK, US, Australia, Russia, Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland.

His current project is the Joe Romano crime thriller series. The first novel, RIGHT TO KILL, is out in the UK with HQ/HarperCollins on June 24th, 2021.


John was born in Wes

Other books in the series

LS9 (3 books)
  • Father and Son (John Ray #2)
  • The Communion of Saints

Related Articles

If you're a fan of the mystery and thriller genre and young adult books, recent months have brought a bevy of great reads to your shelves! We...
140 likes · 21 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »
“I wish I was in Spain now, a glass of wine and a plate of ham.” He sighs. “Instead of which I’ve got all this shit to sort out.” 0 likes
More quotes…