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Genre: Crime

Stars: 4

Links: Amazon UK and Amazon.com

The Blurb:

Sebastian suffers from acute asthma. He’s ex-military, but the asthma meant he never saw combat. It’s held him back his whole life, and now he has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. Working as a courier, Sebastian arrives in town with a bag to deliver. He doesn’t know what it contains, he doesn’t want to know, but he’s pretty sure it isn’t drugs or money. An hour before the hand over he hooks up with Isobel, a weary nurse in need of a ride. But Isobel is slave to a man she calls Mr Punch, the overlord of a criminal empire built upon manipulation, blackmail and fear.

Anonymous and terrifying, Mr Punch is almost legend, haunting the lives of ordinary people, forcing shopkeepers, office workers and nurses to become
henchmen and assassins. Believing he is trapped between Mr Punch and his mysterious employer, Sebastian’s best chance of survival is to run. But running isn’t Sebastian’s style. It’s not an option for a man with acute asthma.

My Review:

Fast, suspenseful, and oh-so-dark, this is one of those crime/thriller novels that keeps you guessing and second-guessing until you’re not sure what is going to happen to whom.

Sebastian is a nice guy with a job delivering unknown cargo. Isobel is a nurse that has been manipulated for years by the mysterious criminal overlord, Mr Punch. When Sebastian gives her a ride, their future collides in an explosion of action, intrigue and bleakness. May the best man win…

Tightly plotted, so fast that it will leave you completely – yes, I’m going to say it – breathless, and with well-drawn characters taken to the extremes of the human condition, this is a very good, and very different, take on the crime thriller. I look forward to reading more in the series.

*I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.