Graven Image by Charlie Williams. Crime Express/ Five Leaves Publishing £4.99
Reviewed by Peter Coleborn
The dealer assured me that this is a grim crime story – not a police procedural, something I wanted to avoid. And she was correct: this is a hard and downbeat tale about Leon, who’s searching fro his daughter, kidnapped by Graven. Leon was a bouncer at a brothel run by Graven but something not fully explained causes Leon to go on the run. Besides his search, people are looking for him, such as Dux and Sid – unpleasant youths armed with an Uzi. Leon is captured, escapes and goes on a rampage…
So far, this sounds quite straightforward. Yet as I was reading it I felt that the author had a trick up his sleeve, something that meant not all was as it appears at first glance. And yes, there is a surprise twist, one that I didn’t fully anticipate. I don’t mean that this is a twist-in-the-tail type of story, which I don’t much care for – and so I was more than happy to be “shocked”.
Because of this doubt it was difficult to fully empathise with Leon in his quest – but not impossible. Leon does come across as a real person, if somewhat crazy and bloodthirsty. The story grabs you and takes you along for the ride – like being in a Beamer bombing along at 60 m.p.h. The author packs in a lot of excitement and tension in this novella. Although first published in 2011, copies may still be available from FiveLeaves.