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They Drive By Night

by James Curtis

As dawn breaks over London a man is about to hang in Pentonville Prison. He has killed a woman and is set to pay the ultimate penalty. There is some sympathy for him on a passing double-decker, and protests take place outside the gates, but the execution goes ahead. At the same time Shorty Mathews is being released, set free to stand outside Kings Cross station and wonder what he should do next. He makes a decision and is soon on the run, hitching away from London on the Great North Road. As an ex-con, he knows the police will be out to convict him for a crime he hasn't committed.

Back in London, living in Clapham Junction but operating around the West End, a killer is becoming more and more deranged. He refers to himself as The Lone Wolf and sees his psychopathic behaviour as a form of cleansing. He is wiping the scum from the streets, eliminating prostitutes so they won’t pester decent citizens for money.

They Drive By Night shows the realities of life for women trying to survive by selling sex, whether in Soho or on the Great North Road. They are the victims of poverty, exploitation, assault, murder. While the novel is a fast-paced read also notable for its insights into the life of the long-distance lorry driver, it is, like all of James Curtis’ writing, based on the search for justice.

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