Book Review: Jay Stringer, Lost City
The final part of Jay Stringer’s trilogy of Eoin Miller novels (the previous two were Old Gold and Runaway Town) is yet another excellent example of, what Stringer himself calls, “social pulp” fiction. It is a fine conclusion to a trilogy of crime novels that has explored gang culture, institutional corruption, racism, community, family and masculinity in a way that is not afraid to pick at the scabs of modern Britain.
This final installment sees half Romani ex-cop, Eoin Miller a fully established member of the gangland community that he helplessly tried to resist the pull of in the previous two novels. He is now high up in the organisation of the Gaines crime family who run pretty much all of the criminal activity in Wolverhampton. It appears that someone is trying to muscle in on their turf though and as the bodies pile up, the world begins to close in around Eoin. As he gets drawn into a world of pornography, prostitution, corruption and murder he must face his own personal demons as well as come to terms with his own past.
Eoin is the classic crime fiction outsider who doesn’t really belong in any of the circles he moves in. No one really trusts him in or at least that is how he views himself. Much of the power of the Miller stories comes from this tension in the character as he tries to find his place in the world. He is a brilliantly written character and it is unfortunate that the author has decided his story ends with this great book. It would be nice to revisit him at some point and perhaps Stringer will do so once he has told some different stories.
In the meantime Lost City should be at the top of everyone’s must-read list, especially if you are a fan of gritty, socially aware crime fiction. If you haven’t read any of Stringer’s work start with Old Gold and read all three of the Eoin Miller books. You won’t be disappointed.
Lost City is released in January 2014. Old Gold and Runaway Town are available now.
Review by Neil Martin