Having just finished reading Ronnie’s last book, I’d like to share my personal views on it.
“Framed” is a crime novel, but does not exactly follow the conventional genre where the police, or a detective are investigating to solve a murder. Indeed, young Frankie James, the main protagonist, is neither. He’s the brother of the main suspect, Jack, and neither does he believe that his young sibling could ever do what he’s accused to have done, nor does he trust the police to try and solve the case in a fair way. The James family has been on the wrong side of the law only too often in the past, and Frankie very much has developed an “us against them” attitude when it comes to the authorities and the justice system. So he takes things in his own hands, and starts investigating his own brother case, backed by a boss of the local mafia. This will bring him to do things that aren’t exactly lawful and, although he succeeds in proving Jack’s innocence, it’s not exactly a happy end. Frankie will also have to face some serious consequences on a personal level. I won’t say more, I don’t want to spoil you.
Frankie is supposed to be similar to Ronnie as a person, with a similar family background, and he is indeed similar to a large extend, but he’s definitely harder than the real Ronnie, who, to his own admission, is rather a softy. A lot of traits are common though, and not just the nice ones: it does ask for a lot of honesty to expose ones own foibles the way Ronnie does here, through the character of Frankie, a good guy at core, wearing his heart on his sleeve, but no always acting in the most sensible way. Ronnie also manages to make his real self appear in the book (wink).
There is a lot of strong language used in the book, and a lot of slang too, which contributes to the general atmosphere – Soho some 10 years ago, not exactly upper-class – but this may make it more difficult to read for non native English speakers, and it will certainly require a VERY good translator, if it’s ever translated, to faithfully render the peculiar style of writing used in the book. That said, “Framed” would certainly make an excellent plot for an action film. It’s dynamic and colourful. I enjoyed it.
Ronnie said it’s better than his biographies. I wouldn’t say that: it’s simply too different to compare. What’s tastier? Old cheese and wine or chocolate cream cake? Well it depends on personal tastes, and on the moment too for those who appreciate both… same here.