Winner of the Gold Dagger Award for Best Novel! Winston Sledge began his criminal career at an early age, starting with shoplifting and pickpocketing. Bossy and self-confident, he took particular delight in leading other boys astray and organizing a gang of petty thieves. These days, the charismatic, self-styled "entrepreneur" is driving around London in a Jaguar, keeping a teenage mistress in his riverside council flat, and supplementing his unemployment benefits with the proceeds from his burglaries. Winston's boyhood friend, Joe, works in a Soho pizzeria and lives with his mum and dad. Joe dreams of having his own pizza parlor, and he's acted as Winston's accomplice for the thrills as well as the money. But when Winston's violent temper gets the better of him one night, a routine robbery suddenly turns into a far greater crime. Now Joe is implicated in a murder and the more he tries to distance himself from his partner in crime, the tighter Winston clings on to him. A chance encounter with a runaway girl promises a way out but only if Joe and his new friend can outwit Winston, whose villainy has already spiraled out of control. A taut, award-winning novel from one of the unsung British masters.