Colin Grainger

Another gem from the talented Kimberley Chambers


It’s unusual  to review a book after it has made the author top of the book charts for the second time in her career.

But for reasons I need not go into, that’s what happened with me and Tainted Love by Kimberley Chambers.

As I have said before, it might be hard for some people to give an honest review of a piece of work by a friend of many years. But Kim knows I don’t deal in puff pieces or bullshit and those who know the way I have worked and written in 43 years as a journalist and Editor understand I tell it like it is.

Every time I start to read a book of Kim’s, I wonder if she can equal or top the last. But again she has. Tainted Love is well written, well thought out and an an outstanding crime thriller, whose characters stand out and don’t give an inch.

It opens with Queenie Butler packing to leave her Whitechapel home. A neighbour asks her where it all went wrong. And back we go to 1986. There are three Butlers, two weddings and one funeral.

Kim explores how love is stronger than hate, and how when your brother betrays you, there’s no coming back.

Vinny and Michael Butler have always protected each other and provided for the family. Together they were formidable but now the secrets and shocks come thick and fast and are exposed brutally. Pure evil hits the reader between the eye and women and children seem fair game.

Little Vinny is battling not to follow in his father’s footsteps. The dramas, crime and sex are often brutal, but Kim’s way of writing is inspirational.

From 1986 to 2001 we are taken on a tour of the family, their very complex relationships and the hope and then betrayal. Again there is so much attention to detail as the years pass by as the East End as we know it changes so much. The scene-setting, the music, the real-life dramas. There is so much those who live in East London or Essex will recognise. It is beautifully crafted and I know Kim anguished over so much of this.

It is not for the faint-hearted and will grab you by the throat sometimes. But Tainted Love is a real gem. I am not into plot spoiling as I think as many people out there should get this book and enjoy it.

I am so pleased that the public took Kim to number one for the second time. Another special book from a special author.

The only thing I am angry about is that a lot of friends have found it hard to get a copy in local supermarkets or bookshops, and have to buy the novel online. It is rare we have an East End woman writer with so much talent.

I’ve moaned at two supermarkets that they didn’t have it. Even in the weeks she topped the chart. The least they can do is support local authors.

* Tainted Love is published by Harper Collins. The hardback is out now with the paperback version in the summer.


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This article was written on 11 Mar 2016, and is filed under Books, East London, Kimberley Chambers, Uncategorized.

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