Champagne, Charlie and Me – Deborah Hilton

Champagne, Charlie and Me gives an interesting insight into the seedy world of nightclubs, drugs and prostitution. Young Nicola, already having a drink problem has probably just made the worst mistake of her life by getting a job in a restaurant. She quickly befriends the chef, a gay, drug-taking alcoholic called Bernie – and from there things go downhill. Gone are Nicola’s attempts to get over her drink problem, and she spirals into a world of wealthy gang members and all night parties. Her parents are out of their minds with worry, and yet, Nicola can’t stop. She’s only drawn deeper…

The story uses Nicola as a main focus, and yet it’s about so much more. It’s about Bernie, his seedy past, and how it’s about to catch up on him. It’s about Jamie, a guy with secrets so big that his worst fear is being found out. And it’s about gangland boss, Terry Millian and his brassy blonde bit on the side, Zoe. Together, the two make a formidable team and they’re about to take the city by storm. New clubs, new brothels, more money. The couple exude success, and nothing stands in their way.

Until dodgy deals start unravelling, and Terry discovers that the man he’s always treated like a son has betrayed him in the worst possible way… but who will get caught in the crossfire? Only one way to find out…

This isn’t a bad book. It’s a bit of a difficult one to categorise. It’s certainly not chick-lit, so I suppose it could be called crime, though there very little graphic or complex detail involved. It’s almost a mini-crime novel. Nevertheless, give it a whirl. It’ll open your eyes to the gangland world and make you realise just how easily money and power can seduce innocent people.

Good characters and settings, but I’ve read better. It’s certainly worth reading, as it’s entertaining enough but I wouldn’t say I was riveted. There wasn’t a lot of tension, and you’ll likely guess the conclusion long before it becomes apparent. So-so.

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