Don’t Get Involved by F J Curlew
Today I am pleased to take part in the blog tour for Don’t Get Involved by F J Curlew.
Many thanks to the author for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
A missing shipment of cocaine
Three street-kids fighting for their lives
A Mafia hitman intent on killing them
A naïve expat who gets in their way
Who would you bet on?
Ukraine, 2001. A time of lawlessness and corruption. Three street-kids stumble upon a holdall full of cocaine, belonging to the Mafia. Mafia hitman, Leonid, is given the job of retrieving the cocaine and disposing of the street-kids. To do so he is forced to step back into his old life and he doesn’t like it. The children run on their wits. Leonid hunts them down. Nadia, a young woman with her own dark past, arrives in Ukraine looking for a fresh start. She wasn’t expecting this!
“She had no idea of what, or who, she was supposed to be running from. Right now everything was a threat. Definitely militsiya, but who else? Everyone. Right now it felt like everyone.”
I read and enjoyed a previous book from FJ Curlew called Dan Knew which is about a rescued dog found on the streets of Ukraine. The book was a clever semi-autobiographical account of the author’s life told through the eyes of her dog.
I was interested to find out that Don’t Get Involved is also set in Ukraine, around the city of Kiev. The story features three street kids who have one purpose in life…to survive. The group is headed by Dima who is joined by siblings Sasha and Alyona. Their existence is beyond unbearable, so when Alyona comes across a huge bag of drugs, they know that their lives are about to change. However, they are shrewd and tenacious, wise enough to know that any tiny adjustments they make from their change of fortune, could raise suspicion. They meet Nadia a British woman who has travelled to Ukraine to teach English. She is drawn to the children and offers a rare glimpse of kindness, but first, she must obtain their trust.
The children know that the mafia are looking for Alyona. Leonid Lezo has already approached Dima with a knife to his neck asking if he knew the girl. The street kids are hugely protective of each other, they feign arrogance but inside they feel sheer terror. They dream of escaping to the US and living around palm trees and sports cars but know their journey will be fraught with danger.
The author describes the harrowing existence of the street kids and the appalling conditions they live in. Alyona has a vulnerability which makes the boys fiercely protective and the compassion they show to her and each other is deeply touching. I loved Nadia’s story and how she began to trust and let her barriers down. The streets of Kiev come alive with vivid imagery and the story is raw, sensitive and compelling.
Fiona spent fifteen years working as an international school teacher, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Much of her inspiration comes from her travels. Her writing has been described as, “Human experience impacted upon by political situation, interwoven with a love of nature.”
She now lives on the East Coast of Scotland with Brockie the Springer, and Fingal the rescued Portuguese street-cat. Her days are divided between dog-walking in beautiful places and working on her stories. Not a bad life!
Don’t Get Involved is her third book.