Today I have the absolute pleasure of taking part in the blog tour for Robert White’s latest crime thriller Breaking Bones. I can’t recommend this book highly enough, ask my husband! I tried to force feed it to him (a staunch anti-reader) and, despite some rather vocal protests, later found him hoarding the Kindle – enough said!
Title: Breaking Bones
Author: Robert White
Publisher: Endeavour Press
Publication Date: August 2, 2017
Genre: Fiction, Thriller, Crime Fiction, Period Fiction
Themes: Drugs, Organized Crime, Loyalty, Family, Violence
The streets of Preston are alive with music and banter.
But nothing can drown out the sound of breaking bones.
Inseparable since childhood and feared by their community, Tony, Eddie and Frankie are beyond the reach of justice.
The brutal gang, The Three Dogs, are a law unto themselves.
Detective Jim Hacker has watched The Dogs grow from thuggish youths to psychotic criminals. He seems to be the only one who wants to see their empire fall.
Meanwhile Jamie Strange, a young Royal Marine, finds himself embroiled in the lives of The Three Dogs when his girlfriend, Laurie Holland, cuts off their engagement… to be with the most dangerous of The Dogs: Frankie Verdi.
Jamie vows to save Laurie, before Frankie damns them both.
Every dog will have its day.
This gritty, addictive crime story, fizzes with the energy of the eighties.
Breaking Bones will appeal to fans of Martina Cole, Roberta Kray and Stephen Leather.
Every now and then you come across a book that is so unique and so gripping, that it’s impossible to think about anything else until you’ve read it all. For me, this year, Breaking Bones was that book. Everything from the characters to our narrator, and the setting to the period in which it was written, just seemed to click.
Lets start with our story-teller within the story. When the book opened, I was expecting our detective to be doing some serious digging, and for this book to play out like an action packed police procedural. Rather, Hacker acts almost like an impartial observer, similar to death in The Book Thief. He provides invaluable background information, advances the plot whenever there are time gaps, and draws the reader into the position of feeling that the three dogs are as untouchable they make themselves out to be. Additionally, Hacker brings us back to the realities of evidence and forensics in the 80s. It was nice to have the gentle, inconspicuous reminders on the state of the law and the science in time that the novel was set. I found myself just as frustrated and angry with the dogs’ slippery ways as Hacker, and was out of my chair with excitement when justice finally started to be handed out at the end.
As for the dogs themselves, Mr. White couldn’t have crafted a more dislikable characters than Frankie and Eddie. Their criminal life aside, I just couldn’t get over how they abused Tony. While they may have genuinely looked out for him in the beginning, at some point this friendship morphed into a relationship of dominance and dependence where Tony was eventually seen as nothing more than braun to command and a willing piggy-bank. Of the three dogs, I ended up loving Tony. Sure, he was a murderous, short tempered drug dealer but he was also sweet, loyal, and capable of being honest with himself as well as emotionally engaging with others. Eddie I pitied though, because despite his bravado he was still nothing more than Frankie’s lackey. Now add in the fact that he’s entirely incapable of being honest with himself and those that surround him, and his back seat encounter with Cheryl, and I could’t ever see him as anything more than disgusting and pathetic.
And then there’s Frankie – oh, he’s the kind if character that I just love to hate. Petulant, jealous, controlling and explosively violent – can we sociopath? And his ego was just too much to handle! But, he was so well written that I never once felt that his antics were unrealistic. Not only did I hate how he treated his friends, but also how he treated women. Between Laurie and Maisy I was amply sick to my stomach, and felt so vindicated when Jamie finally came back into play. I’m glad too, that his enormous ego was ultimately his undoing because seriously, that thing had no more room to inflate.
Then there is Laurie, who is quite possible my favourite character out of the whole array. Admittedly she started out fickle and greedy, but her growth as a character is undeniable. She remains strong, resilient, and isn’t afraid to admit her flaws and move on. Also, she is one of the only characters that manages to stick it Frankie despite the fear that he instills in everyone around him. Now add in her warmth, compassion, and fashion sense and I could have done with an entire novel written from her perspective!
Would a recommend this book? In a heart beat! It’s gripping, gritty, and expertly transports you in 1980s English gangland. The constantly shifting kaleidoscope of characters and viewpoints keeps you on your toes, and all of the pieces come together to form one heck of a climax. This is a must read for lovers of fast paced crime fiction, and is highly recommend for those looking to dive into the genre.
Robert White’s novels regularly appear in Amazon’s top ten best selling Crime and Action and Adventure charts.
He captures the brutality of northern British streets in his work, combining believable characters, slick plots and vivid dialogue to immerse the reader in his fast paced story-lines.
Born in Leeds, England, the illegitimate son of a jazz musician and a factory girl, he grew up hating school and was a regular truant.
Joining Lancashire Constabulary in 1980 changed his life. He served for fifteen years, his specialism being close protection and tactical firearms.
Robert then spent four years in the Middle East where he took up a training role, working alongside retired members of the UK and US military.
He now lives a much quieter life in Lancashire with his wife Nicola, and his two terrible terriers Flash and Tia.
Many thanks to Hannah Groves at Endeavour Press for organizing a fabulous blog tour, and for providing an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.