Monday, 20 January 2014

Book Review: The Jump by Martina Cole

First published in 1995 yet still attracting loads of readers almost twenty years later, The Jump had my attention for quite a while and with Cole's books never disappointing me so far, I had high expectations!

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"The Jump is another thrilling page-turner in the Martina Cole collection and there’s no doubt about her being the author who ‘tells it as it is’.

One of her more tame novels, The Jump still manages to create a realistic seedy underground world that many of us would look silly without it being described by Cole. Through the altruistic, naïve and subservient character, Donna, we become introduced bit by bit into the shocking criminal business that features in all of Cole’s signature novels. Unlike many of her other books however, this is a more gradual easing in and is highly recommended for a first-time reader of Martina Cole.

Donna is woman you can hate, love and pity all at the same time who will do literally anything to save her husband Georgio from a long-term prison sentence in Pankhurst for armed robbery. Unlike many of the other villains’ wives, she’s absurdly well-mannered and soft to the point where half the time you just want to bat her over the head with a frying pan. Georgio on the other hand, is a more mysterious character who changes your opinion of him with each move that he makes, for better or worse. When Donna takes over Georgio’s businesses and the 40-something woman actually works for the first time in her life, she doesn’t like what she finds and her digging soon opens up a whole can of worms for them all!

The fast-paced storyline despite the sometimes obvious conclusions (particularly if you’ve read Cole before), is a good filler to quench the thirst for scandal, danger and probably a little disgust that Cole’s books manage to install in you. While the quality of writing is far from brilliant, many words and phrases are repeated so much that you feel like she had dementia when she wrote it (watch out for ‘in that order’, ‘naïve’ and how many descriptions there are of Donna being attractive for instance) but these aren’t expensive books and they’re trashy in the best of ways – quite like the cream of the woman’s weeklies crop that has those ‘shocking’ life stories we love to hate reading.

The Jump has fewer twists than expected from Cole but nonetheless the trademark surprises are there. You come to love and hate each character in so many ways that by the time you reach the last hundred or so pages you’ll end up wondering whether you want them to fail miserably or live happily ever after – either way, Cole delivers.

 If you’re looking for a book to inspire you then this probably isn’t it. If you’re looking for one that will entertain you to the point where your nights are sleepless reading just one more chapter, then you’re in the right place.

For fans of the like of Cathy Glass and similar abuse/shock authors then this book is another must along with all the rest of Martina Cole’s – yes, like many critics have said, it isn’t as good as her others but it is certainly a great place to start."

(Read: 28th December - 3rd January)

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