Hmm. In my search to find similar authors to Martina Cole a few years ago I came across Jessie Keane and Kimberley Chambers. Both those two authors I feel can compete with Cole (her earlier work at least), especially Jessie. Mandasue Heller was another author I discovered but found that her books were a bit hit and miss. Roberta Kray was on my radar for a while, but I just never got around to reading her books. Plus there was always the question of whether she got published just because of her marriage or because she was a good writer.
Kray's previous books didn't really jump out at me when I read the plots for them but when I read the plot for Bad Girl I couldn't wait to read it. Unfortunately however I didn't feel like there was much of a story and for a book that is 520 page, that's a very disappointing thing. I like books like this that are full of violence, sex, murder and more violence. Hardly any of that was present here. The bad guys are badly written cardboard cutouts and it is never clear what they actually do, just that they run the East End. Yes we all know what these people do to become a face and rule the roost so to speak but I actually want to read about it. Think early Martina.
Helen was the 'main' character and we follow her life after the death of her mother when she is returned to the clan that threw her mother out on the street. Hated by everybody except her uncle she finds herself lost in the world not feeling loved or wanted. As she grows up she wants to learn more about her background and find answers to what happened when she was a little girl. The story however at the end felt very rushed and ended unresolved, this isn't a problem in a series of books as you simply wait for the next one but Kray's next book isn't about Helen so I am annoyed that she chose to finish the book like this.
I read two books in between starting and finishing Bad Girl so it was by no means an unputdownable read but it did have the potential to be a good book. Perhaps Kray's earlier work is better but I don't feel in any great rush to read it. Even Martina's latest stuff is better than this and that's saying something. I'm a bit disappointed but the plot for Kray's next book does sound good enough to tempt me to read it. Unfortunately though, judging from this book alone it would appear that this is more a case of 'who you know'.