Would you give killers what they want to get them to leave you and your family alone? Gray Bolton might, if he knew what it was. His life as a pawnbroker in a Mississippi town is good. He has a beautiful family and the future looks bright. Then he kills an armed robber and discovers that he was anything but a common criminal.
Trouble cascades upon Bolton from the police, from home, and from unknown parties who may be the most vicious of all. They all appear to be after the same thing and they will all do anything to get it. Unfortunately, Bolton has no idea what that thing is. His battle to find out will test him in ways he couldn't have imagined, and the stakes are simple: Everything.
This thriller from Jerry Hatchett snatches you early and doesn't let go. It is fast, intense, and thrumming with authenticity. The author's style is smooth and easy with remarkable pacing throughout this afterburner of a debut, resulting in a tale that you literally cannot pause.
©2005-2013 Jerry Hatchett (P)2013 Jerry Hatchett
I enjoyed the way the author kept the plates spinning on the characters on all fronts. I thought the strange convergence of characters at the end and some of the later character transformations were quite ingenious. I have to confess that the narration did leave a little to be desired. Some solid characterizations, some not.
I am a bit conflicted about this book. It starts off hinting at schlock-horror in a prologue, but then kicks off the novel proper with a protagonist I could really have come to like if positioned in a different story. I LOVE the idea of a pawnbroker as a protagonist - at times this character,and the best of the writing, reminded me of the late great Willam Tapply and his small-town lawyer Brady Coyne. A decent human with a strong sense of justice and a fine judge of character, in a job which brings him into contact with all sorts of people in trouble for all sorts of reasons. I could devour a series like that.
Gray Bolton isn't Brady Coyne, though - Hatchett doesn't flesh him out quite enough. The story is fast-paced and fun once you come to terms with the fact that it's also so pulpy it's verging on camp: the whip-smart gorgeous kick-ass black female sidekick who is also utterly compliant and worships the hero for no apparent reason is just one example (even her name is gimmicky, per Ian Fleming, or indeed Austin Powers). The unremitting redneck evil of the bad guys is another. But if you stop looking for Meaning and just enjoy the sex, violence and thrills per minute, this is an enjoyable ride.
Preference in narration is a personal thing, and I confess this aspect of the book didn't work for me. The style is very laid-back for a story that is so hyper-energised, and I felt the narrator struggled with women's voices and in differentiating characters generally. But, as I say, this is a personal thing - if in doubt, download a sample and see what you think.
I received this book free, as a review copy. My opinions are independent and my own.
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