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Kevin Sampson

Outlaws is Kevin Sampson’s finest book to date: a taut, thrilling novel told in a vernacular that sizzles off the page.

Gun law is out of control in Liverpool. Organised gangs fight it out for control of clubland and with it, regulation of the lucrative supply of narcotics. Supremacy in this violent world is short-lived as younger, hungrier and more ruthless gangs move in. Against this brutal backdrop, three South End villains pursue a dying trade. Ged, Moby and Ratter are Blaggers. Old-fashioned highwaymen with two decades of meticulously planned jobs behind them. With the Christmas season in full swing, Ged is planning a job that’ll see the boys through until spring. As usual, he won’t give them any details until the morning of the blag. Until then, they have to stay off the street and keep out of trouble. The problem is that Moby loves to go out. A week before the blag, an incident in a lapdance bar nearly leads to a gang war.

Ratter, meanwhile, has long since outgrown the needless danger of the blag. He’s invested his loot in the booming property sector, converting banks, churches and warehouses into apartments. He wanted to cut his links with Ged a long time ago, but has his own sinister reasons for staying on board. As the make-or-break heist approaches, Ged needs to summon all his street nous and killer instinct just to survive. And even then he needs friends in low places to ensure that the stains vanish without trace.

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