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I live in Bristol UK horror dark fiction and crime are my books of choice and when not reading I like to run

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Neatly observed hard boiled noir

A Lesson in Violence - Jordan Harper

Nate McClusky is just out of prison. He knows his life and that of his family is in danger as crazy Craig Hillington president of Aryan Steel,  has put out a death threat on Nate, his ex wife Avis and his daughter Polly. Crazy Craig  has already murdered  Avis..."knifed dead in the dark on the bedroom floor"..... but can Nate save Polly from the threats of the assassins bullet. He collects her from school and there then starts a cat and mouse game with Nate trying to save his daughter from those who might do her harm. He was trained in the art of bank robbery by his dead brother Nick and uses these skills now to wreak revenge on those hell bent on his destruction. He has a need to gain the trust and possibly the love of Polly especially as he has neglected her for so long. Police officer Park assigned the task of looking into the death of Avis soon finds himself embroiled in a much more complicated and dangerous situation when he discovers that she  was murdered some 12 hours after McClusky's prison release....is there a connection here?

 

This is hard boiled noir tale that successfully blends the badness and anger of Nate McClusky with the innocence and youth of Polly whose one real friend "Bear" is nothing more than a child's teddy yet always a confidant and protector. A Lesson in Violence is also a coming of age story showing that the bond existing between a daughter and father is resilient to the harsh realities of life. As the story progresses Nate comes to the realization that he needs the warmth and respect of his daughter more than she needs him.

 

This novel grabbed me from the opening page..."She wore a loser's slumped shoulders and hid her face with her hair, but the girl had gunfighter eyes"......and continued with some beautifully observed prose...."That was the way Polly felt, that outside she was quiet and calm but inside her acid winds roared"......"Rod was the king shit of the Nazi Dope Boys"......"That soon as you found something to live for, you found something to die for too. But he guessed in the end it was a good trade"......

 

A neatly observed crime story that successfully pays homage to the writings of such notorieties as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson and at the centre is one cool hero Polly and her close companion "Bear" Recommended.