Ronnie O’Sullivan will be signing copies of his new book Double Kiss at WHSmith Glasgow tomorrow, Tuesday 12th, December at 6pm.
So I thought this is a good time to write a little review …
Double Kiss is the second book of the “Soho Nights” series, and, although it’s probably possible to read it independently, I would strongly recommend to read “Framed” first because in Ronnie’s books, like in real life, there are a lot of characters surrounding the main protagonist and many of them are actually introduced, in context, in the first book of the series.
here is what Double Kiss is about:
Frankie James has his hands full.
He’s trying to develop the club he has “inherited” from his father to make it profitable. Part of this plan is to organise a snooker tournament, the Soho Open, that would attract pros as well as amateurs. To achieve that he needs to find promoters and sponsors and he wants to stay in control of it, which means staying away from the gangs running the area. This isn’t easy especially as his younger brother Jack is involved with one gang in particular, the one run by Tommy Riley. Worse, Frankie is indebted to Tommy who helped him clear his brother’s name when he was falsely accused of murder.
Frankie is also convinced that his father, who is imprisoned for armed robbery, didn’t get a fair trial and he is looking for evidence in order to get the case reopened.
If that wasn’t enough, a postcard arrives through the post, from Mallorca, seemingly written by his mother, who suddenly disappeared eight years ago.
And then, Tommy Riley requests Frankie’s help to bring back home his god-daughter, a teenager who has gone off the rails and eloped to Ibiza with her boyfriend. Frankie has no choice but to accept, and decides that, as he is going to the Baleares Islands anyway, he will take the opportunity to do some research about the sender of that postcard whilst fulfilling his mission…
At the heart of the series is Soho, a colourful area of London, and the language the book is written in, is just as colourful and uses a lot of slang. It has its charm and certainly gives the characters an authenticity, but it might be a bit difficult to read for non native English speakers. And it will require a very careful and skilful translation, if it is ever translated, to not betray the spirit of the original. That said, it makes Soho itself a character of the story in its own right and I like it. In that way, it’s a bit similar to the “Inspector Morse” series of books by Colin Dexter, where Oxford is central to both the narration and the atmosphere.
Frankie himself is very similar as a person to the author, Ronnie, and it’s even more obvious in Double Kiss than it was in Framed. He is not Ronnie, but he shares a number of traits with Ronnie, both in his personality and in his life history and cultural heritage.
The book itself is pacy, gritty, entertaining and keeps you guessing. I don’t want to spoil the readers of this blog so that’s all I’ll say. However, as the book finishes, it is clear that the story, and Frankies quests are far from over. When you reach the last pages, it leaves you wanting for more, thinking and trying to figure out where all this will lead Frankie, and you, the reader, along with him, as the plot unfolds in the third book to be published next year.
I liked Framed, and liked Double Kiss even better because of the various sub plots it presents. There is more depth and maturity in this one. And I will certainly read the third instalment of the “Soho Nights” when it comes out.