Chasing The Game by Paul Gadsby – Reviewed by Guy Portman
The year is 1966. England are about to host the World Cup. The Football Association has decided to put the iconic Jules Rimet Trophy on display in the lead up to the tournament. In West London a criminal organisation are forming an audacious plan to steal the trophy, and then hold it to ransom. The firm’s leader, Dale Blake, has recently taken control of the outfit, after the murder of the previous head, Tommy. With Dale’s leadership being challenged by other members of the firm, this daring raid could provide the ideal opportunity to prove himself.
The story skilfully merges fiction and the real life events surrounding the actual theft of the Jules Rimet Trophy in 1966. This is a fast paced mystery with an atmospheric setting that succeeds in depositing the reader into the vibrant, rapidly changing London of the 1960s. The book boasts an array of colourful characters, including the volatile Jimmy, a dog by the name of Pickles, and the traditional Chairman of the Football Association, Clement Spears, who provides comic relief. The reader is able to identify with protagonist, Dale, despite his criminality, due to his sympathetic nature and a problematic personal life that entails a declining relationship with wife Sheryl, a runaway teenage son, and a father in prison.
Chasing The Game is compelling, original and eminently readable, with an unpredictable plot. The book will appeal to all mystery and crime aficionados.
One assumes that the organisers of the forthcoming World Cup 2014 in Brazil will be keeping the trophy under lock and key.