The Book

Published in paperback on February 16th 2012 by Picador.

Shortlisted for the prestigious Orwell Prize 2012 and the Crime Writers’ Association Non-fiction Dagger Award, Hood Rat was researched on the front line and told like a thriller: a unique and groundbreaking exploration of Britain’s hidden ganglands.

In Moss Side, Manchester, detective Anders Svensson is on the trail of drug baron Merlin and his lieutenant Flow, a man so dangerous his type is said to appear only once in a decade. Among the bleak housing estates of Glasgow, where teenage boys engage in deadly territorial knife fights every Saturday night, police analyst Karen McCluskey is on a mission to bring a new understanding to the most violent city in Europe. And in Hackney, 19-year-old Pilgrim has made himself one of the most feared gang-members in East London, wanted for attempted murder and seemingly condemned to a life of crime – until he starts to help kids like Troll, a Somali child-soldier turned enforcer, who runs drugs through the Havelock Estate in Southall . . .

In Hood Rat these narratives interlock to create a fast-moving experience of a contemporary British underworld that ranks with Roberto Saviano’s bestselling Gomorrah. Gavin Knight was embedded with frontline police units and has spent years with his contacts; here he tells their stories with sharp observation and empathy.

Page-turning, unflinching and politically-charged – this is a book that could not be more pressing.

Gavin Knight has written for the Guardian, Newsweek, Esquire, The Times and Prospect. Hood Rat is his first book.

HOOD RAT, a true-crime thriller, was published by Picador on 1st July 2011. Buy it here

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