Nicola's Reviews > Back Door to Hell

Back Door to Hell by Paul Gadsby
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it was amazing

If I had to sum up this book for you in one short sentence without any spoilers, I’d say, “Fellas, women will always get you into trouble.”

This is a great read.

I’ve enjoyed many crime books over the years in which the main character was a regular civilian, but whose luck always seemed to be on his side with regards to things going well as he waged his newly-found life of crime. This is not one of those books. These 2 new criminals make so many mistakes and come upon so much bad luck. I’d just manage to catch my breath after one fiasco, when the next one would hit, leaving me desperate to read on for the outcome, yet also dreading reading on and learning the outcome.

Paul Gadsby reeled me into this story with a relaxed writing tone that kind of left me feeling like I was an onlooker in it, watching the crime play out—a crime of opportunity by some folk who were new to the crime world, and were totally unprepared for what lay ahead.

To be honest, this whole thing could’ve been set at one of my locals, back home, from decades past—or in any of your locals across the UK, for that matter. You think you’re a decent, law-abiding citizen? Forget that! As soon as you get over the initial shock and horror of this pair and what they do, and how could they even think of committing such a crime, the backdrop of corruption will rise up. Ultimately, I dare you not to be rooting for this crime duo as they trip around England, trying to avoid the consequences of their actions.

Mixed in with the gratuitous violence of the working-class underworld is a fair bit of humour to help lighten the tension. I went from wincing when innocent folk were being roughed-up, to laughing at some classic dad-humour. I think my favourite laugh came when one of the characters asked if his dad remembered him ever doing odd things as a kid, like drifting off with his eyes glazed. Dad’s classic reply was, “I remember you switching off in the last minute of that Under-15s cup final in Sydenham. Let their winger waltz past you from that set-piece.”

And I don’t know why, but all the way through this book, I could hear Pulp’s ‘Common People’ playing in my head.

Overall, it’s brilliant, harrowing, and poignant. It’ll definitely leave you wanting more.

“Sometimes you gotta take what you need, right when you need it.”


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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 14, 2019 – Shelved

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