As the title suggests this book is about a family. Not just any family though, its about the Murphy family and specifically Philip Murphy. He runs a business empire in Sunderland in which various members of his family have jobs. He looks after his doting mum and of course his wife and two sons. This is fine on the surface, but in reality Philip is unable to feel emotions and enjoys hurting people for the sake of it. His empire is based on crime.
The book is set over a number of years, starting when Philip is a young man of 21 and meets his wife Christine. He is determined to have her and sets out to get his way, removing her parents protests by sending work their way. We see the love blossoming between them and then Christine ends up pregnant and they get married. Christine is ignorant of the type of man Philip is until problems in the family makes his mother send her round and she walks in to see Philip beating up his sister. Christine realises the man sort of man she is married to and begins a downward spiral of alcohol and drug abuse. She has everything money can buy but realises its a guilded cage.
The books is absorbing and you get involved in the lives of the characters, watching Philips sons grow up and the business expand while Christine descends into depression. The outcome is unexpected and sad. The only problem with the book is that the characters seem to do whatever they want with little regard for the law, and only in one place do we see one of them going to jail. Having said that is is an absorbing read. It is a fast paced crime drama.
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