M. Stratton is a new to me author and I thank Netgalley for the opportunity to read this and offer an honest review. Possible spoilers.
I wasn't sure what I was getting when I started this book but the blurb intrigued me so in I dove and I have to say I really liked it. Yes, there were a few issues and I will detail them in a bit but over all I enjoyed the story, I liked (for he most part) the characters and hated the characters depending on if they were good guys or bad guys. I found the setting dark, gritty with an edge that really had me believing neighbourhood and those living in it were dangerous and wouldn't stop at anything to get what they wanted.
Although I found Ms Stratton's writing style a bit choppy at times with many loose ends or unexplained characters I thought the story was well thought out. Jake Bender our hero was a boy from the ghetto who was heading in the direction of so many young people today given a chance to be something more than what he is.
Question 1, Murdoch...how did he find out about Jake Bender, who exactly was he connected with...yes law enforcement of some kind but the connections were never explained and I felt that background was integral to the story.
Question 2, Bender went from bad boy delinquent to someone who wanted to protect people and save the world. We were given no background as to how this happened. How did Murdoch turn his life around. I think it would have been easier to connect with Jake and understand his character if we were given more information. I liked Bender and loved the dark, grittiness his character offered but I think to be totally believable he needed his character to be more dimensional and back story would have done this. Possible 2 books might have been better?
Question 3, Stormy, my issue is much the same as I had with Bender. Things were mentioned but never really filled in. How can she be rich from a farm especially after her parents roaming ways. I understand being lost in the world of your favourite books because well I'm a bookworm too but to be that involved that you don't know you are living in a deadly neighbourhood after employees have quit after numerous robberies, this I don't get. I also got she was scared of Nutter but from the meeting in the book store to her other confrontations with him...she just seemed to have no self preservation instincts. I kinda really wanted to smack her at times.
A few other dangling pieces were the men Bender worked with..they just appeared out of no where...no real explanations or knowing their role in this "police" type group.
I enjoyed the craziness of the badguys...they were totally over the top ..possibly too much as Nutter came off like a comic character. The intense scene between Nutter and Stormy near the end didn't play "real" for me either. Other than a mention of a scream when Bender entered the house...we heard nothing from her during the big confrontation scene. Trust me if she was conscience she would not have been quiet.
This sounds like I didn't like the book but I truly did in fact I picked the book up at 10:15pm and didn't stop reading until I was finished. I was captivated. I don't know if M. Stratton is a new writer if so a lot of what I mentioned could be forgiven and with some good beta readers most of the details would have been caught and ironed out. I will look for me novels by this author.
I give this book a 3.5 star rating for creativity, fresh prospective and a nice fast read. A warning there are some really dark aspects of the book that may disturb some readers. If you don't enjoy graphic violence this may not be a book for you.