The following book isn’t my normal read, as I find most autobiographies pretty boring and full of narcissistic bullshit, but this one just struck the right chords. In the few days it took to read, I had it everywhere with me. The book is co-written by Mike Fielder, a best-selling author and former Fleet Street crime reporter, and I think it’s a very well written book. It’s published by John Blake Publishing Ltd.
Muscle is the autobiography of a very hard man: one of the London’s gangland’s main men, Carlton Leach.
The blurb on the book says, “I’m the Deadliest Bastard you’ll ever meet. If you cross me, I’ll track you to the ends of the earth and destroy you.” You read this book and you have no doubt about that at all. On the other side of that, you make a friend of him and you’ve got a friend for life.
From the start you learn that Carlton Leach is a bloke that takes shit from nobody. You show him respect and you get respect back. Cross him and expect the worse. From a young age, Carlton was a handy lad and proved it with the obsessive following of his beloved West Ham United Football Club and his infamous Inter City Firm, one of the most feared “hooligan” gangs in the UK.
From there he earned respect and got into nightclub door work, known as “Muscle”, and established himself as a force to be reckoned with. His door work then went on to running his own security firm, providing muscle to the top night clubs around London as well as the top celebrities. He was the minder of World Champion boxer Nigel Benn, and tells of the highs, lows and tears of that friendship.
It’s only when he tells you about three of his friends who were gunned down in Rettenden, Essex on a cold, dark night in December 1995 that you understand the real loyalty of gangland brotherhood. There’s a loyalty that runs deeper than just friendship.
There is a constant feel throughout the book that makes you want to like Carlton Leach, no matter what you think about him and his way of life. He tells you straight that he wasn’t a great husband or boyfriend to the women in his life, but he would give them and his children anything and everything.
At the end of the day, being a gangster is a way of life. There are people out there who play at the game but then there are the big boys who do it for real. Love him or hate him, Carlton Leach is the real thing.
I have to say that I have a lot of respect for someone who tells it like it is in a real way. There’s no beating about the bush in this book. It’s raw, its cockney and it’s honest! The only downside to this particular edition was the lack of photos. I understand there’s a further book by Carlton Leach that’s a re-work of this one which includes them and a couple of extra chapters.
I honestly think that this is a must read for anyone who writes in the crime/thriller/noir genre as it gives you a real feel and insight into the world of a modern hard-man in a hard game.
This is my first book review. Your thoughts and opinions would be appreciated.