Okay, I posted a few weeks back that I’d picked up a copy of Viva La Madness by J.J. Connolly and I said I’d let you all know how the book treated me. This is the sequel to Layer Cake, a long-time favourite read of mine, which went on to become a favourite film; J.J. Connolly wrote the screenplay and did a mighty fine job.
A long awaited sequel; it’s something like ten years since Layer Cake was first published but well worth waiting for.
Almost 450 pages, Viva La Madness is long and sometimes I struggle with this length of novel. I’m happy to report I had no such problems. The narrative hooked me from page one, keeping me wriggling on the line like an exhausted kipper.
Set in 2001, Viva La Madness picks up the story of the anonymous drug dealing hero from Layer Cake; now retired, keeping his head down and picking up a suntan in the West Indies. But he is soon pulled back to Blighty and the cut-throat, murky drug business by his friend and associate Mister Mortimer.
Cue an amazing cast of characters and a story line with heavy London underworld gangsters, gun toting Venezuelan drug cartels, international money laundering and high tech banking fraud.
Written in the same first person point of view as Layer Cake, Viva La Madness has a truly authentic voice, witty sharp dialogue, and a complex plot. Moving at breakneck pace; Viva La Madness is believable, farcical and violent at times as our hero finds his life literally on the line and begins to regret his decision to come out of early retirement, longing again for the sunny, easy life of the Caribbean.
Viva La Madness treated me well and is highly recommended reading.