‘A Numbers Game’ by R.J. Dark is a crime fiction novel set in Yorkshire, on a fictional council estate called Blades. A novel that I started and was immediately there, with the characters.
We meet Malachite Jones and Jackie Singh Khattar. Malachite first of all hates his name and also wants a quiet life. He is a ‘psychic’ who really wishes he was one! He is a man with sadness in his past and his own code of honour which doesn’t include the laws of the land. Jackie takes protection money and fits security alarms…a ‘sort of’ businessman who may or not keep a note of the details of said properties with his alarms fitted.
Grieving widow, Janine Stanbeck wants to find her dead husband Larry’s winning ticket and escape Blades Edge with her son. And she thinks Mal can help her.
But Larry’s dad is the crime lord of the estate, and he wants that ticket for himself, and worse for Mal, he’s not the only criminal with his eyes on it. Add in two coppers desperate to nick Mal’s best, only, and admittedly quite dangerous, friend, Jackie Singh Khattar, and Blades Edge is getting pretty crowded.
A novel that I felt right at home with. The setting of the council estate in Yorkshire took me back to my own childhood upbringing on a council estate in the next county over from Blades Estate. I could picture everything and everyone. Such relatable characters that are as dodgy as you find on the estates anywhere in our country. The grim reality of the housing is that the money never manages to quite finish the improvements. The poverty, the problem families, the sense of place was just right there.
The mystery of the ticket is just the tip of the iceberg. The story is about more than that. The characters are such an unlikely duo but they really make this story what it is. I read this book so fast, I didn’t want to leave these ‘friends’ I had made without knowing the outcome.
A dark, gritty and gripping book which I highly recommend. I am hoping we will have a second book in the future.
Thanks to Zoé of ZooLoo’s Book Tours and R.J Dark for the gifted copy of the book.