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Born Under Punches (Stephen Larkin) [Kindle Edition]

Martyn Waites
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Switching continuously between 1984 and the present day, Born Under Punches follows the intertwined lives of a small group of characters, all linked in various ways to the 1984 miners' strike: Tony Woodhouse, a professional footballer who can't escape his shady past; Tommy Jobson, cruising the streets of Newcastle, violently collecting debts, about to be sucked into something far more dangerous; Mick Hutton, a striking miner, increasingly desperate to find ways to support his wife and growing family; Stephen Larkin, an idealistic young journalist, determined to expose the truth about the strike - as he sees it; Stephen's sister, Louise, in love with Tony Woodhouse, stalked by a shadowy figure from her past. As the lives of these five characters unfold, it becomes clear the strike will have devastating repercussions - not only for those directly involved, but for future generations too.

Product Description

About the Author

Born and raised in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Martyn Waites worked as a professional actor before becoming a writer. A former Writer in Residence at Huntercombe Young Offenders' Institution and HMP Chelmsford, he currently runs arts-based workshops for socially excluded teenagers.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 923 KB
  • Print Length: 431 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0743449517
  • Publisher: Sphere (23 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #302,717 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a brilliant book 17 Aug. 2003
By A Customer
I've read all of Martyn Waites' other books and really enjoyed them. He writes some of the best crime novels in Britain. (Candleland is especially good). However, with this one he has gone right to the top in my opinion. He's taken a theme, the miners' strike and its legacy, that no other writer would touch and turned in a book that's moving, exciting and angry by turns. But never boring, worthy, or dull. His characters are so well drawn, particularly the women, and his evocation of picketline violence mesmerising. I felt I was there. Yet he never forgets it's the people that are important. Anyone interested in Britain today should read it. And weep. And get angry.
It's brilliant. Waites' masterpiece.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could have been run of the mill..... 12 Jan. 2004
...but Martin Waites have produced a gripping noir thriller for the 21st century.It so easily could have been on of the uaual production line crime thrillers that seems to act as shelf fillers for every charity shop in England but this is different. Drawing upon recent history to add colour to the characters,it does not fall into the trap of being predictable or cliched. IT may not be an entirely uplifting experience, but it is worth taking the time to read it. This is what modern British writing is about!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Present 4 Mar. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I ordered the book for my brother when he came home he wanted a load of book so he ordered them he was pleased with it
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 16 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Fantastic book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.0 out of 5 stars  1 review
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorite authors, and the best you are not yet reading 12 Aug. 2012
By ObiWanCanubi - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
When someone tells me I am missing out on an author I usually check out their bibliography and if they have 8 or 10 books and have really no following and poor/average Amazon ratings it is a good indication that I should just stay away. Music and writing are both arts forms, but I think it is far easier to be a misunderstood or undiscovered musician then it is an author. Music is so diverse and complex. While writing is simple, you string words together to form stories and some people and make beauty in their literary symphonies. Now this is not to say people don't have opposing tastes in reading, science fiction may not be a subject you care about, but H.G. Wells is still a great writer whether you care about alien invaders or not. Good writing is good writing, its about the stories we enjoy.

As I digress, if I haven't heard of a writer and they have a fairly respectable size catalog or their books have low ratings, it is likely the masses are right, the author is probably not very good.

Martyn Waites is an exception to that rule. Not because he has bad ratings or that he is misunderstood, but because he is British. As Jerry Seinfeld would say, "Not that there is anything wrong with that." But here is a fact, British music across all genres invaded the U.S., authors, not so much. Sure you will bring up Shakespeare, Orwell, Dickens, even Austin, but those are classic authors, dead authors. Name me 5 living British authors not named J.K. Rowling, that sell atop the U.S. sales charts. I am not saying British authors are bad, just saying the transition to the U.S. has not been taken as openly as their music.

Into the forth paragraph and I have still yet to mention the book, that is because I want to make it clear, Martyn Waites is worth the time to invest in a new writer that you have yet to explore.

Born Under Punches is one of Waites older works finally released in ebook format for the new age of readers and hopefully a new generation of U.S. fans. This was my first delve into a non-Joe Donovan book which I believe is number four in the series. While you can read these books without the others I do wish I had actually read atleast the first title to get a better feel and background for the Stephen Larkin character who helms the series.

If by chance you have read the Donovan Series, and if you haven't you should start, you will find Born Under Punches far grittier and blue collar focused than the sometimes upscaled lifestyles Donovan encounters. Bouncing from 1984 to present day (2001ish) the story begins with a once vibrant coal mining industry town torn apart by teamster strikes that planned to bring England to a standstill and resume a more lucrative profit margin, instead the government took their ball elsewhere and left the citizens jobless, poor and angry. Now controlled by gangsters, bookies and hooligans the town not only barely survives but similarly its residents hold on from day-to-day as it could be their last.

As it seems common in a Waites' novel seemingly unattached storylines converge in the end to bring a larger picture to the reader. Instead of one storyline that follows a sole character, multiple angles converge and bring together what could be nearly multiple novellas with a single shared ending. Very much like the 6th Season of Lost, what could have been two separate shows that all tie up nicely in the end.

Waites has a way about his writing a raw, undisturbed talent to make you fear the dark alleys, quiver during the hooligan shakedowns and feel the flow of the football (soccer) match when Woodhouse takes to the pitch. His knack for dialogue gives characters a voice that can identify individually and bring their personality closer to the page. Not as wordy as Stephen King, but what he does use to describe a neighborhood will give as vibrant an image in your mind, so much so you should need a passport to travel to Tottingham, London and Newcastle as you dart from location to location through the his stories.

Call me foolish, but romance, sci-fi and fantasy all seem to be not exclusive to, but very much do certain genders dominate the reader pool, not so with mystery and suspense. It is a genre with no boundaries, this book should be passed to your mom, brother, aunt, uncle and grandpa, it is a story that anyone old enough to enjoy a good ass kicking will say, "thanks, do you have any more of his books I can read."

If you are going to start reading Waites books I really would encourage the Donovan series first, the writing is more polished and characters are just better. But a seasoned reader with an appetite for more will enjoy the new characters, new settings and and the same grainy tales expected of his work.

It is easy to call Martyn Waites one of the best contemporary noir writers in the business today, but I would go so far as to say Waites is on of my top five (living) writers in the business.
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