Could this, finally, be the showdown between the two powerful East End gang bosses – Krait Beaney and Johnnie “the Boot” Swann? Nothing could be sweeter. Or so Johnnie thinks. He’s got it all set up and, at long last, pictures himself in full control of all large scale criminal activity in the East End of London. But, as has proved to be the case before, there is just one problem. Family. Frank Garibaldi, Johnnie’s son, who is wanted in the UK for the rape and murder of Star Cleary’s kennel maid and who was shipped out to Spain by his father, safely out of the reach of the law. Permanently, Johnnie thought, but as so often has turned out for him in the past, if there’s a starting point where everything shows definite promise of going wrong for him, directly or indirectly, it can once again be laid at the door of a member of his family.
Star Cleary, manager of the Nine-to-five Shelter for its owner and benefactor. Krait Beaney, finds herself with a choice she vowed she would never make and is forced to face when her husband, DS Vincent Black, becomes obsessed with finding the hitman who was hired by Johnnie Swann to shoot and kill Mary O’Reilly. Mary, who once managed the shelter with Star’s help, was in the wrong place at the wrong time and knew too much about what happened the night it was torched by Johnnie.
Star makes the choice she was determined never to make, crossing the line into the East End gangsters’ world and, in so doing, places her own life in jeopardy when a sequence of totally unexpected events places her once again in the frame for murder.