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Viva La Madness
J.J. Connolly
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Viva La Madness

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  374 Ratings  ·  44 Reviews
Now Connolly is back with a sequel that sees him on the same stunning form, with his trademark razor-sharp dialogue and quick-fire violence, but also finding dark humor and pathos in the lives of violent men. From the London underworld, Viva la Madness moves to international crime with trans-Atlantic drug deals, money laundering, and high-tech electronic fraud, portrayed w ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published May 10th 2012 by The Overlook Press (first published September 1st 2011)
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I picked up Viva La Madness over Christmas break because its English pedigree reminded me of Snatch and maybe a cousin of the Scottish Trainspotting. I never read/saw the movie of the prequel (Layer Cake), and neither the library nor used bookstore had it, so I went with the sequel. I wasn’t disappointed. Well, not much. Viva La Madness is a lively, rollicking read that requires full reality dismissal for optimal enjoyment.

Viva La Madness is a seedy, underworld comedy with well-drawn characters,
Ian Mapp
Jan 23, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lad-lit, crime
I had no idea there was a sequel to Layer Cake.

I'd rate the film in my top 50. It's cool, sleek, fast paced and has some killer set pieces and one liners. If I catch it on TV, its one of those "I'll just wait up until such and such scene". A bit like Get Carter.

I read the book after the film and found it as enjoyable. As you would expect with the author being the screenwriter, it was an accurate representation.

So I stumbled across this in the library. Its bigger on scale than Layer Cake but stil
Bernadette Steele
What a riot! I finally found an author who might be the equal of Elmore Leonard (at whose feet I worship). J.J. knows how to spin a plot, writes richly developed characters who are at times the victims of their own hilarious foibles, and dialogue that absolutely delights in it's inventiveness and smacks of authenticity. Forget the dictionary, just enjoy the wonderful phrases and jargon and the unique narrative voice. I'll be tracking down his first book "Layer Cake" to read ASAP.
Thomas Appleby
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Better than Layer Cake, so many twists and turns, Read it!!
Feb 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
much preferred this to Layer Cake..seems the author has matured as a writer
Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too long and unnecessary complicated.
Woody Chandler
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was first introduced to J.J. Connelly through the 🎥, "Layer 🎂" & subsequently read the novel. I was ecstatic to find this one, of which I was unaware, at a library book sale held recently.

It started slowly, but about halfway through, it picked up steam & became a runaway 🚆, culminating with one of the major events of the 21st century. Quite the read! Any chance of a 🎥?

I had also meant to say that the building nature of its plot was like listening to Maurice Ravel's "Bolero". It started
John Black
Jun 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Viva La Madness is a sequel to the author’s previous novel, Layer Cake. The tile Layer Cake is, in part, a metaphor / slang term for the illegal drug business, in particular cocaine dealing. The novel featured an unnamed protagonist who was at the point of retiring into the sun with his ill gotten gains as a mid-level cocaine dealer when his boss tells him he has a little job for him to do. Complications naturally ensue…

Layer Cake was adapted into a film staring a pre-Bond Daniel Craig. The film
Feb 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Abandoned halfway through...vile, pointless...
Greg Frederick
Though this book felt like an attempt at a 2.0, it failed somewhat and came off as more of a money grab by the author. That said, it was still really enjoyable to revisit a couple key characters from the first novel. Also, there were several new characters that were given such depth that I miss them now that the book is over. The problem comes with the plot. It was intricate enough, but just completely unbelievable. The drug world is all about money and lifestyle, and apparently nobody in this b ...more
Douglas Lord
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short review is easy: Did you enjoy Connelly’s Layer Cake (2004)? You’ll enjoy this too. The longer version: This madcap romp set in the seamy underworld of the international drug trade is a laugh a minute‚ provided you laugh at Byzantine intrigue, gruesome murders, and violent, gun-toting chaps speaking in a thick Cockney accent. Our unnamed narrator is a former middle man looking to get back into the trade after a couple of years laying low. When the adventure bug bites him, he joins a tea ...more
Paul Mcfarland
Jun 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second installment of J.J. Connolly’s depiction of the life and times of his nameless criminal protagonist. Instead of enjoying his hard earned retirement as chronicled in L4YER CAKE he finds himself caught up in a multi-continental mess that spins from South America to London.

Despite some UK criminal argot that sent me fleeing to Urban Dictionary I really enjoyed this fine crime novel. There is a cross, then a double cross, then a --- well you get the idea. The plot turns come thic
John Clarey
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Better to have read "X" before starting this book: aside from some references here and there, there are no untimely revelations. J.J. Connolly reiterated his stroke of genius. This sequel is just as good as the previous one. It will delight fans of gangster films. This is ideal reading for holidays, put the brain on pause and find something to laugh at almost every page. Macabre humor that is. Completely sick thugs in London, more mobsters from elsewhere even more sadistic, a muddle that unfolds ...more
Ryan Holmes
I really enjoyed Layer Cake - the tight plotting, double crosses and clear through line motivation of the nameless protagonist was a really enjoyable read. He had a goal, a deadline and that helped give the novel stakes.

This sequel however, was marred by a huge chunk of the book explaining what another character had done - huge exposition dumps that stopped the book in its tracks. The characters weren't as interesting as Layer Cake, and it's a poorer novel for it. The main character doesnt do m
Les Gehman
May 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Viva La Madness by J.J. Connolly continues the tales of our anonymous protagonist from Layer Cake. Our nameless hero is lured from retirement in the Caribbean back to the drug trade in London. However, no one is telling the whole story and quickly things turn violent. Plots within plots within plots, ad infinitum. Not being British or in the criminal underground, a lot of the slang threw me initially, but most of the time it could be figured out by its context. This is a very fun, action packed ...more
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: england, moider
Connolly's worthy follow up to Layer Cake, has the nameless protagonist of the first novel returning to London from Caribbean semi-retirement to indulge in more drug dealing chicanery. Connolly can stand his ground with twisting plot lines alongside Ellroy and Chandler, and he has some of the humour and feel for description of the later. There's a description of a gangster's funeral in this book that writers of far more literary genres would struggle to match, and there's a real love of language ...more
Adam Thomlison
I saw the movie "Layer Cake" and heard that this was being made as the sequel, so I decided to get ahead of the game and read it. It was exactly what it needed to be: a twisty and fast-paced mystery with an enormous and colourful cast of characters. It was, however, a little too much of both at times. The twists came so frequently that I wasn't ever used to a particular status quo before it got upended, and (related to this) the cast was so big that I wasn't entirely sure who was going to be imp ...more
Nate Granzow
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An exceptional read. Rich with witty dialogue, memorable characters, and an ingeniously complex plot that reads like a Guy Ritchie film, "Viva La Madness" was every bit as enjoyable as "Layer Cake"—arguably one of finest crime novels written. Connolly maintained the same fast pace, unique voice, and colorful descriptions I've come to expect from his work. Only disappointed there's not a third book in the series to launch into!
Sep 29, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-africa
It couldn't live up to layer cake. Marty and Mr. X seemed like they were included not for anything to do with the plot but only to tie it into the last novel. They barely added anything to the book. That said I finished the whole thing in a couple days. Fun but a step down compared to the first novel
Aug 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: authors-a_c
I don't know why but following the plot of this book was much easier than L4yer Cak3. This book was a bit more polished and the slang was easier to understand - as a Yank. Maybe I'm getting used to it or he's getting better. In any case, it's a brilliant, fast read and has equal amounts dark and humor. I could easily see this being made into a movie; I only hope it's as good as the first was.
Jun 25, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love this book, both as its own thing and as a strong sequel to Layer Cake.

Charismatic gangsters, Caribbean and London locations, conspiracies, and wonderful language. Strongly recommended.

Gamer utility:
Chock full. At the very least, a GM will get plenty of ideas for interesting NPCs and plots.
Warren Olson
Dec 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you loved the cult movie 'Lock stock and two smoking barrels'
you will be more than impressed with this classic tale by J J Connolly.
There are so many wacky gangsters chasing each other around London at times its hard to keep up/turn the pages quick enough.
Great light read that I found highly entertaining.
Jun 12, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long enough to keep you entertained for more than a few hours. Characters are edgy, full of life. When living in Caribbean makes you long for old life as gangster know game is on. Summer reading list must contain.
Andrew Tollemache
A great follow up to the Brit pulp crime classic "Layer Cake", "Viva" finds our unnamed dealer struggling to live in retirement in Jamaica before his former colleagues drag him back into a wild mess of lost bearer bonds, multiple Venezuelan hit teams and tons of hard to slog thru Brit slang.
Larry H.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
British gangsters, psychotic South American death squads, and a fiery Latin femme fatale. Oh yes, something about a USB drive. The topsy turvy London world has never been more vicious yet oh so infused with delightful dark humour.
Eric Ehlers
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the sequel toLayer Cake - one of my all time favorites. Connolly again weaves an interesting tale of London criminals with the protagonist from Layer Cake. Pacing of this nuanced storyline is very good in this one and if you liked the style of Layer Cake you will not be disappointed.
Feb 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very similar to the first one, Layer Cake. The plot is a little looser, perhaps, but there's slightly more edge to the humour, which for me was a plus -- hence the higher rating. Characters still a bit flat.
Jul 21, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't get into this book! It is about a criminal from the UK who takes part in some shady stuff. The characters are kind of annoying and the book took a long time to get going. I kind of had to skim through the end to get through it.
Apr 04, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not as good as 'Layer Cake,' and the setting telegraphs the conclusion a bit, but all in all, not bad.
S.T. Oner
Feb 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Super. Duper.
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