Monday, 26 November 2018

The Secret Life of the Krays - John Dickson



Quite a departure from my usual choice of book. Even when I read non fiction it’s very unlikely to be a true crime based tome. But sometimes you need to drag yourself kicking and screaming out of your comfort zone and read something different.

This is a straightforward account from one of the Krays’ gang members. One can only presume he is telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is convincing and it served to confirm that everything you’d heard or read about the infamous twins is absolutely true. 

You wouldn’t expect it to be an uplifting read. It’s peppered with violence, cold, unfeeling and premeditated violence.  In fact I was conscious of feeling a bit like a voyeur; seeing and hearing things I shouldn’t and don’t actually want to, really.

I suppose that what gives this book an edge over some others about the Krays is the fact that it is written by someone who not only knew them but worked very closely with them. Mr. Dickson drove the Krays to their nefarious destinations on numerous occasions and appeared to be a trusted member of their entourage.

Something that does come through is how difficult it became to extract oneself from the inner sanctum of the ‘Firm’. It seems that Mr. Dickson was never free to pursue his own life. He was at the beck and call of the Krays 24/7, and he was just one gang member. 

It’s a short book, quick and easy to read. It’s not particularly well written, overall there’s a stilted feel to the narrative. But, hey, I wasn’t expecting a Man Booker contender. I ended up feeling quite sad at the lives lost and the fruitless existence of these people who seemed to achieve nothing save notoriety?

I must thank Readers First for the opportunity to read this little book.


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