Friday book review – The Faithless by Martina Cole

Published by Emma Lee-Potter in on Friday 9th December 2011

I’ve written about my new-found liking for crime novels before. For some reason, even though I’m ultra-squeamish, hate blood and gore in novels and avert my gaze from crime dramas on TV, I love books by writers like PD James, Ian Rankin and Jeffery Deaver.

But crime writer Martina Cole is my guilty pleasure. Why? Because she’s such a brilliant story-teller. I start her novels thinking I’ll just read a few pages and before I know it, it’s 2am and I’ve finished the whole book.

Cole is fast becoming a legend in her own lifetime, with her books selling more than ten million copies to date. Gritty, fast-moving and packed with punchy dialogue, they grab your attention right from the first page. There are usually some shockingly violent scenes along the way but I grit my teeth and whizz through those bits at top speed.

Her latest, The Faithless, soared straight to the top of the bestseller lists when it was published in October and it’s easy to see why. Her 18th novel, it’s the story of Cynthia Tailor, a woman who looks like a supermodel and really should have the world at her feet. She’s got a devoted husband, lovely house and two gorgeous children (she usually gets her world-weary parents to look after them though.)

But Cynthia, who to my mind makes Cruella de Vil look like a pushover, is deeply dissatisfied with her lot – and green with envy when her younger sister walks down the aisle with the man she lusts after. She’ll stop at nothing to get him for herself, and sure enough, it’s her long-suffering husband and children who suffer the fall-out.

I’m sure Cole herself wouldn’t claim her novels, several of which have been made into TV dramas, are high-brow, but she certainly knows how to write addictive, hard-hitting fiction.

The Faithless by Martina Cole (Headline, £19.99)

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