Somewhere I read that Martina Cole is the most-shoplifted author in Great Britain. After reading Cole’s “Faces,” I certainly understand it. There’s no way most people would want to pay for this dreck.
“Faces” is an Irish crime-family saga — think of it as the O’Godfather — set in London (a “face” is apparently a small-time criminal). Its biggest problem is that, like most crime-family novels that followed Mario Puzo’s landmark work, it’s annoyingly cliched.
You’ve got the drunken, gambling father who abandons his family. You’ve got the hard-nosed, hard-working son who quits school and turns to a life of crime — out of pure desperation, of course — to take care of the family. You’ve got the mentor with a heart of gold and a taste for larceny. And of course you’ve got the women who have no spirit of their own and are completely dependent on their men, existing only to gratify them.
Here’s a sterling example:
“ ‘You all right, babe?’ His voice was thick with phlegm and she felt the bile rise inside her. When he coughed deeply to clear his throat, hawking loudly, she felt the urge to physically attack him, so disgusted did she feel. But, as always, she forced a smile onto her lovely face and nodded her assent.“
Are ya kidding me?
It’s accurate to say this book has it all — lots of iron wills and iron fists and every other tired mob image you can imagine, and the most gratuitous use of profanity I’ve seen in a long time. Apparently Cole has seen a few episodes of “The Sopranos“ and is convinced that mobsters are morally committed to use the F-word at every opportunity.
Do yourself a favor: Don’t risk shoplifting “Faces.” But don’t buy it, either.