Top positive review
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Bourbon & Blood - Recommended for crime fans...
on 14 February 2014
As a reader, I love nothing more then a consuming, taut crime novel. I recently bought a Kindle (although I swore I never would, I love real books too much) and I downloaded some of my old favourites. Lee Child, Brett Battles, the usual suspects. I have ventured into writing a novel recently and I heard about this book on Twitter during many follows, retweets and general networking activity. Needless to say, social networking has presented me with many a book to read...which is never a bad thing.
Now, this title has the distinction of being my first downloaded book. I read a few short stories before it, but this book kept me hooked from beginning to end. I have read other reviews for Bourbon & Blood and some have been favourable (rightly so) and some not so much. The problem is, the unfavourable reviews seem to sometimes miss the point of the book and its protagonist, Bill Conlin.
Hayes evidently has a love for the crime genre. As you read the book, it is bred from being exposed to the world via the movies and books. Exposed and inspired. Something I can relate to. With such a love for his craft, Hayes portrays a realistic, gritty, violent portrayal of New York that can only be created from living in the city itself. Knowing Hayes is a resident of New York, it makes sense that he uses this as his setting. It helps keep the book grounded and real. He is also able to minimise the clichés, something that benefits the story as a whole.
Being a huge movie fan myself, its clear that Hayes knows when cliché has a risk of ruining the text. We may have seen this sort of tale before, from many other authors, but Hayes conveys the story from a first person narrative that is both addictive and mesmerising. His spin is truly unique. True, he may veer into unrealistic territory now and then with the shoot outs, the lone hero who takes on the world and violence only comic books would make cool. But isn't this the point of fiction? To suspend your belief and let the ride take you wherever the author chooses? Conlin is clearly a trained soldier who is simply looking for work. Using his skills in a dangerous world is second nature to any soldier. My point is, the book harks back to the days of 80's action movies, quality gangster flicks such as The Godfather and noir thrillers from the 60's and 70's. Whether this was the intention or not, it really makes for a great read.
The book flies by at a rapid pace, not letting up. This is something rarely seen in crime fiction. Personally I love a book that goes into detail and takes it time to get to the point but sometimes I love to sit down, read a book, and let it take me along without stopping. Bourbon & Blood did just that. It had detail, enough to keep you informed, but the action, pace and plot was so frantic, it really gave you an idea of Bill Conlin's plight. Caught up in a world of crime, conspiracy and corruption, our main character is thrown from one dangerous situation to the next, hardly able to breathe or rest. Writing of this nature really allows you to step into the characters shoes and get a taste of what he was experiencing. At one point, I swear I could taste Knob Creek on my lips...during one chapter, my doorbell rang and it made me jump. I was really immersed in the world itself.
Bourbon & Blood is one of those little gems that come along now and then. I can now say I have completed my first Kindle novel, and what a way to debut on the device. Why not five stars? For me, it seemed a little short. Which is a good thing, it means I will definitely buy any sequels to this. There were also a few spelling errors, but this never took away from the story itself. Overall though, this was a great debut novel for a writer who clearly has big things in his future. For this price, you won't find anything better.