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on 17 March 2017
This was a good solid book. The premise is all about revenge when a hit man attacks a mob target and takes down some Police who stand in his way. The only survivor is DI Matt Barnes who seeks revenge. I liked the development of the hitman and there was a good display of his mental health issues. I would say that the ending was fairly predictable and on the whole, the American Mob thing just seemed to be a little out of place in this English set novel - british gangsters would have sufficed. Bit of predictable romance thrown in for good measure. There was nothing particularly special about this however I did enjoy and I continued to turn the pages so it was worth a punt and I would quite possibly read the series for an easy, non stop action read!
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on 21 June 2017
An exciting enough tale with plenty of action and guns, but nothing much beyond that. With Italian gangsters, lots of guns and Americanisms aplenty, it would have made much more sense to set it somewhere in America rather than London.

The characters are fairly one-dimensional and the romance is described in a very analytical way rather than shown through the development of Matt and Beth's relationship.

All of the police officers except Matt are basically useless or corrupt and the killer runs rings around them. Matt overcomes the killer through vigilanteism (while recovering from life-threatening injuries) rather than actual police work.

I'm not sure why the American hitman was in it, he didn't actually contribute to the story or even do anything.

No explanation was given of where the killer learned to become such an expert with weapons, infiltration, tactics, etc - we're told that due to his mental issues he would never have been accepted into the armed forces, so where *did* he learn it?

But if you can switch off your brain, you can just about suspend disbelief far enough to enjoy a few hours reading this.
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on 16 December 2015
The book starts with the suggestion that the job is almost over for the Police team on duty. We know that can’t be true, after all, the book is only just beginning, but for some of the team, it is most definitely over. For Matt Barnes too, it is just the beginning of the story.

It is difficult to work out who your adversary is when the only people who have seen him are either dead, so seriously injured they cannot be interviewed or simply too young to talk. Gradually as the survivors begin to recover, the team begins to be able to put some of the pieces together, but how is the person behind all of this able to keep one step ahead of the investigation and how do they know so many things which they have no business knowing? The answer is obvious and the team are able to work out the who and where and can even make a good stab at the why, so how is it that even after the problem is solved, the bad guys still know too much? This killer doesn’t care what the person who hired him knows, as long as they don’t mess him around, when he feels that they are doing just that, he gets a great deal more dangerous.

As the story progresses our observation of the action becomes less that of a voyeur and we find ourselves drawn into the story, there is scope for much breath holding and jaw clenching as people find themselves in difficult, even dangerous situations. Even when we know, almost from the outset, that Barnes is going to put himself into a dangerous situation to get close to this man, it is still hard to read of him doing just that. When a book becomes too challenging, I can usually set my mind at rest in the knowledge that the investigator has to survive but in this book you can’t even be sure of that as it seems nothing will stop this killer – he’s good, very good, and has a talent for getting in and out of guarded buildings unseen. The perpetrator is charming when it suits his purpose but otherwise is utterly unaware of anyone else’s needs or feelings unless he can make use of them to advance his own cause. He appears to be quite indignant when other people expect any sort of reciprocation of feelings. Despite his inability to relate to other people in any meaningful way, there is a neat touch in that his only real attachment is to his pet – of a species which would make most people shudder.

This is one of those books which play on in your head even after you have closed them up for the night. If one tries to put it away unfinished, the mind will just take over and try to work out what on earth is going on, it is easier to give in and read on to the end. It is a compelling read which holds the reader in thrall and thrills to the end.
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on 28 May 2017
This is a very good book. The story itself is not entirely new but the characters and the way they are portrayed is really top notch. Everybody is well described and none seem to be standard characters. The plot moves quickly and the reader is lead to expect one of 2 outcomes for every scenario with the result being sadness, shock or dismay. You never know how each character will turn out.
There is some swearing but it is all appropriate and doesn't spoil the flow of dialogue. Most pleasing to me is a lack of cleverness and silly humour that seems to spoil many modern stories.
This was a real page turner - well recommended.
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on 12 October 2013
Really enjoyed this book I was looking for some books to read while on holiday recently, i have never read any of mr kerr's books but would look for them more now. Good story.
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on 23 September 2016
I had 2 books packed in my suitcase ready for my holiday, and thought they weren't going too be enough. So I started looking for a freebie that might fill the void.
I found this book, read a few reviews, it was free so why not give it a go. And I'm so glad I did. It was so good!!
I started to read it while I was sat by the pool, and as the cliche goes, it was a real page turner.
As with all books, it has a few bits where you think "oh god, I could do without this bit" but they are few and far between.
As a hero Matt Barnes is a hard boiled British copper who does what's needed to get the job done, even if that means blurring the lines between right and wrong. Kinda like Jack Reacher or John Purkiss. In my head I visualise him as a rather grizzled Sean Bean, buts that's just me. In my head I always imagined David Morse as Jack Reacher, then Tom Cruise went and turned that on its head.
But I digress.
This is a great book, and I will definitely be getting the next in the series.
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on 4 December 2015
This is the first novel in the DI Matt Barnes series which was recommended to me through a book club and i was not disappointed. This book is absolutely brilliant from start to finish. I was gripped from the very first page.

A reason to kill starts off with DI Matt Barnes ending up in hospital with an injury. I was like wow where is this book going, how can the main character be in hospital at the beginning of the story?! I was totally sucked in and couldn't put it down.

I love the style of Micheal's writing it is well written,face paced,dark and gruesome. And definitely not for the squeamish with lots of action and violence. The characters are well described and believable. With an incredible insight to the evil twisted Gary Moon.

I honestly think this book should be up on the shelf's of waterstones with all the big author Micheal Kerr would defiantly give Chris Carter a run for his money. I highly recommend this book and i am giving it a well deserved 5 stars.
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on 16 April 2015
(Spoiler alert)

Fantastic. A real page turner. I loved most things about this book including the characters. A lot of other negative comments here focus on the fact that Michael Kerr didn't develop his characters, but I disagree with them. I think he did develop his characters enough for this kind of book. I'm not reading a Jane Austin novel, I'm reading a crime thriller and Kerr used his page space brilliantly. I understood all of the characters, their motives and I liked most of them and was rooting for them, especially the baddie.

The one complaint I have about this book, which is why I am giving it four instead of five stars is that the author suddenly changed his baddie's character at the very end and in quite a drastic way. Gary Noon had displayed no urge to rape women at any stage in this book, because his character was a coldblooded murderer without "those" kind of desires. I couldn't understand why suddenly in the last scene he was going to rape Beth, it didn't fit with Gary's character - HE should have cut and run (or shot and run should I say?) but he didn't.

the other niggling issue I have is that for every character (no matter how minor) Kerr gave them a convoluted backstory. This really wasn't necessary as they were not the characters I am interested in.

On the whole though, this had a fantastic plot, yeah it seemed a bit american with the guns and everything, but you know what? London England can be like that too, just walk down Harlesden High Street one evening and you'll see what I mean. I'd love to meet the author and shake his hand for this. He kept me interested up until the last page, there were no "dead zones" and although his writing style may not suit all, I thought it was great and perfect for a crime thriller.

Thanks Mr. Kerr!
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on 2 December 2015
.....However, the book is needlessly dragged out! I honestly don't normally noticed a book that is so. I normally get loss in the book anyway and tend to disagree with people who say "what a long winded story". But Michael Kerr's "A reason to kill" is about ten chapters to long. Not read any other reviews that stated the same.
The story is great, the characters are engaging and believable. The story is very easy to get involved with so a need to drag the story out is unneeded. By the end it just gets annoying!
But please don't let this small fact deter you. I tend to lose interest in a book that is long winded, either at the start or a slow burner at first, only to pick it up and finish the rest after about two weeks. I DID NOT do this with this book, as i said its a great read.
Please read, you won't be disappointed. I always say...read and write your own review.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 March 2014
A Reason To Kill (DI Matt Barnes) – Michael Kerr

D I Matt Barnes is “babysitting” a witness whose evidence will help bring down the notorious Santini family run business who have never been brought to justice because they have always managed to find out what the polices’ next move is going to be. This babysitting turns out to be just another occasion when information has leaked from a source inside the police and Matt Barnes is left critically wounded when a hit man (Gary Noon) gets into the “safe” bungalow and executes Matt’s fellow team members.

Matt can’t relax and heal until the man is captured and Dr Beth Holder is brought in to help understand and analyse his next move so that he can be stopped before too many more bodies pile up.

There have only been a few times that I’ve finished a book and immediately downloaded the next in the series. This was one of those occasions. I found that I was so involved in Matt’s life, his thinking, his quest for justice that I HAD to find out what happened next.

Michael Kerr has that wonderful knack of making characters into living, breathing people. You can “see” the people he’s describing and although the story is not for the faint-hearted, it was a brilliant idea and a very believable plot.
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