Johnny Delgado by Kevin Brooks - Barrington Stoke Book 8

I was really impressed by Johnny Delgado, it is a little longer than the other Barrington Stoke books I have read so far this year, but packs a lot in. The sentences, paragraphs and dialogue are short and snappy. This shows the influence of classic thriller writers; the introduction mentions Raymond Chandler, and I also recognise a bit of James Ellroy. But unlike these heavy American authors, here the characters and situations are very close-to-home on a South London estate.

I really like the central character, wannabe PI Johnny Delgado, he is deeply naive, but very endearing. All the brains, muscle and morals come from his friends on the estate. But his heart is very much in the right place.

It is a true thriller with a lot of action, and it was interesting to re-read with hindsight. The world of gangs and violence indicates an older audience, and there is a bit of bad language, but this is also what makes it an exciting read.

It also has a nice cliff-hanger ending, setting up a sequel, Like Father, Like Son, that I will definitely be checking out.