It's a bonus book review Saturday, and today is another good one!
Acts of Violence
'My name’s Jack Mason. I made a mistake. Took home the wrong girl. Now she’s dead. Cut up. And they’re telling me I did it.
It’s the same cop that tried to take me down ten years ago. Now he’s coming at me hard. And he’s not the only one. Cole Webster, the city’s crime lord, thinks I stole from him. Broke me out of custody just to ask me about it. Then I killed his son. Now he really wants me.
Add to this equation a government agent, and I’m a real popular guy right now. Pretty much everyone I meet wants me dead, lawfully or otherwise. There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I’ve got till morning to uncover Webster’s trafficking operation and take the heat off me. And all I’ve got to go on is a pissed off homeless girl with a thirst for revenge.
Guess it could be worse. Can’t quite figure how.'
My Review: 5 Stars
Written/Reviewed by Samuel Denberg
Welcome to the colony planet Harem, where it never seems to stop raining and everything, including most of the cops, is owned by a mob boss.
Into this gloomy world steps Jack Mason. Jack wanted to be a cop, a clean cop. Failing that he applied for P.I. license. After it was refused too, he stepped out on his own to bring justice to his corner of the universe. Jack hates violence, but he especially hates violence against himself, and against women. With his fake badge, real gun, a pack of cigarettes, and more attitude than is healthy, he's out to make his world a better place.
But his plans come to a crashing halt, when a girl he's been trying to pump for information, ends up brutally murdered in his apartment. Things heat up for Jack when he discovers that the detective handling his case is Lawrence, the same detective who failed to put him away for the disappearance of his girlfriend, many years previously. Haunted by what he's sure was a murder he couldn't prove, detective Lawrence is determined to put Jack away for this fresh murder. Things go from bad to worse when a couple of masked men break Jack out of jail, and deliver him to Cole Webster, the man who owns the underworld and most of cops in Harem.
Jack must now escape from the mob, evade the cops, and find allies where he can, while trying to find out who killed the girl, and why the mob trying to kill him.
Harem is a low-tech world in high-tech universe. This fact alone adds an original flavor to this novel. Throw in a detective with an attitude reminiscent of Sam Spade, (The Maltese Falcon) and a crime boss more crocked than Al Capone, and you get a novel that takes you from one unexpected twist to another, leaving you wondering which way is up in this twisted world where nobody is what they seem and everyone is owned by someone else.
Acts of Violence is well written and entertaining. The main characters are realistic and the plot flows nicely. The style is rough and wonderfully futuristic, yet it still retains the essence of a classic noir detective novel.
Here's a Taste:
'As his nose cracked under my knuckles, I reflected on how much I hated violence. Not violence stemming from my own unresolved anger issues. That I was fine with. It was violence against women that I hated. I didn’t know why, but the prettier the girl the more I hated it. Maybe I was shallow.
This worthless little shit lost his cool when she put too much ice in his drink. Lost his top altogether when she tried to take one cube back out with those little tongs and it fell back in. Pulled her halfway over the bar to explain to her real close how she was going to pay for the splash on his silk shirt. Maybe if he’d explained who his daddy was, it would have actually rung a bell. Less of a drug store tinkle, more of a gong furiously beaten with a hammer. Cole Webster owned the club. Owned her. Little Dick Webster – though he probably preferred ‘Rich’ or ‘Richie’ – didn’t think to mention that. She gave his left cheek a bright red hue that didn’t match the sprayed on tan. He repaid the favour.
That’s when I stepped in. Wrong foot first.
The bar stool followed Little Dick to the sticky floor. His shiny purple shirt hissed at me as his movements tore a seam. Then hindsight grabbed my shoulder. Hindsight was a six-three, two-fifty-pound bouncer with egg-shaped eyes. His boss’ jumped up boy was lying on the ground and he wasn’t about to risk his job by reacting too slow.
‘Big mistake,’ was all he said. The only words he knew, maybe.
‘I noticed,’ I said. I didn’t know why. A witty one-liner always seemed the way to go at a time like that. Problem was, I was never particularly witty under pressure.
The bouncer wasn’t trained. He made a mistake. I’d like to say choosing me to play the punch bag was the mistake, but that wasn’t it. He threw me into the side of the bar. Little Dick was just clambering to his feet beside me. I banged the back of my head on the shiny steel, but if I’d let the bright white flash in my eyes deter me, I’d have woken up in hospital. Or in my car. Halfway to the bottom of the lake.
I wrapped both hands around the legs of the nearest bar stool. Made out I was dazed and pulling myself up. The bouncer didn’t see it coming. Felt it though, when the stool hit his jaw. With that bulk, there wouldn’t have been much I could have done if he hadn’t thrown me aside like an empty steroid needle. Now he was unconscious. And fired. Maybe for that failure, he’d wake up in his car, halfway to the bottom of the lake. I didn’t feel bad.
‘Do you have any idea what you just did?’ Little Dick was referring to his own humiliation. He didn’t care about the bouncer. ‘You just signed your own death w—’
As his nose cracked under my knuckles a second time, I reflected on how much I hated violence. I hated violence directed towards women. I hated violence directed towards me. I hated the threat of violence directed towards women or me. I decided then that I hated Little Dick Webster.'
About the Author:
'Ross Harrison is the author of three novels and two short stories. Although he doesn't stray from science fiction, he has ventured into multiple sub-genres, including space opera, thriller, noir, and steampunk. He has been writing since childhood, and occasionally likes to revisit those old stories for a good cringe and nervous laugh.
Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, where he moved from England in 2001, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back.'
Find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HXVWKPW
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