'I'm going to do you a favour: I'm going to tell you my name and then I'm going to give you thirty seconds to turn and run. If any of you are still here after those thirty seconds, then we're going to have a problem'.
Jason Green's life is changed for good after he is saved from a mugging by crime boss, Harry Irwell. He is then drawn into Manchester's notorious underworld, where smash and grab is as normal as making a cup of tea.
But Jason isn't a casual thug. He has a life plan that doesn't involve blowing his money on the usual trappings. That is until a woman walks into his life offering the one thing that money can't buy - salvation.
Apart from new additions to his brilliant Jessica Daniel series, from time to time, Kerry Wilkinson comes out with other standalone thrillers. I read 'Watched' a few years back and I really enjoyed that. 'Down among the dead men' is another such standalone book and I was lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy from the author.
Wouldn't it be extraordinary if while you're being battered by a gang of bullies, when everything seems lost, a powerful crime boss comes to your rescue? You wouldn't believe it, no? This is what happens to young Jason Green. Harry Irwell did not only save him by scaring the crap out of his assailants, he also took him under his wing, becoming a father-figure for him and employing him as one of his 'sons', delivering 'messages' or collecting 'parcels' on his behalf in exchange of hefty sums of money.
But Jason is not a typical thug, he's a reserved, unnoticeable guy who doesn't like to mix with other people. With a good-for-nothing mother and a trouble-making brother, Jason is the only member of the dysfunctional family that has to buy provisions and take care of everything.
"Sometimes we're defined by the ruthlessness of our decisions."
Stuck in the middle of a complicated, dangerous game, Jason wants out, but he knows that to just up and leave Harry Irwell is not an option. Then two different women enter his life, each making him rethink his options and offering him a different escape route. Which one will he choose? And will he really be able to leave the man who has guided him throughout his life?
Thanks to Kerry's easy flowing writing, I read this book pretty quickly. Without confusing the reader, the story goes back and forth from the present day to the past so that we have a glimpse of Jason's life as a youth. However, I must say that it took me quite a long while to really feel gripped by the story. I found certain parts repetitive and there were also a number of questions that were left unanswered by the end. I don't know if the author did this on purpose or if he has in mind to write a sequel, but I love it when stories tie up everything at the end without leaving any loose ends.
However, having said that, this book is quite an interesting, different read. Even though crime, drugs and gang wars are at its centre, there is no police involvement in the story and the main character is not a detective but a gang member. In my opinion this is a great idea and a refreshing approach to story telling.
With thanks to the author for an advanced review copy.
About the Author
Despite two national newspaper reports to the contrary, Kerry Wilkinson is male. Honestly.
His debut, LOCKED IN, the first in the detective Jessica Daniel series, is a UK no.1 Kindle bestseller, with the first three Jessica Daniel books making him Amazon UK's top-selling author for the final quarter of 2011.
THINK OF THE CHILDREN outsold Dan Brown to become Amazon UK's no.1 Kindle pre-order. Kerry is the first formerly self-published British author to have an ebook no.1 and reach the top 20 of the UK paperback chart.
Since then, the Jessica Daniel series has continued with PLAYING WITH FIRE, THICKER THAN WATER, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, CROSSING THE LINE and SCARRED FOR LIFE.
A spin-off from PLAYING WITH FIRE - the Andrew Hunter series - started with SOMETHING WICKED in 2014. The follow-up, SOMETHING HIDDEN, will be released in 2016.
Pan Macmillan - Griffin in the US - are also publishing Kerry's young adult/fantasy/adventure series - the Silver Blackthorn trilogy. The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2014, with RENEGADE following in 2015 and RESURGENCE in 2016.
He is an occasional sports journalist and can frequently be spotted cycling the hills of Lancashire. He was born in Somerset but now lives in the north west.