It's the 1960s and Billy Cracken is a hard man to keep locked up. An austere and troubled childhood has given way to life as a hardened criminal and now status as one of the most feared prisoners in England. He has been moved from one maximum security prison to the next. Guards and inmates alike fear and begrudgingly respect the powerfully-built Cracken. But a life doing his porridge, even if as a minor celebrity, isn't the one he wants.
A girlfriend and a child await Cracken on the outside and he'll stop at nothing to get to them. While plotting his escape he crosses a powerful mobster who vows to make Cracken's life hell, and if nothing else succeeds at making his escape all the more difficult, something the ever-rebellious Cracken defiantly relishes.
The follow-up novel to the wildly successful Get Carter, Billy Rags is a fascinating look into the lives of British inmates serving time in a maximum security prison. Lewis manages once again to tell an exciting, action-filled story with a soul - demonstrated most clearly in a series of brilliant flashbacks to Billy's childhood and in the end conjures a character that will remind readers of both Tom Hardy in Bronson and Lee Marvin in Point Blank.