- File Size: 2624 KB
- Print Length: 278 pages
- Publisher: Bloodhound Books (January 11, 2018)
- Publication Date: January 11, 2018
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B078N4ZR34
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Not Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,049 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Standstill: a cat and mouse thriller you won't want to miss (a Danny Felix adventure Book 1) Kindle Edition
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"The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell" by Robert Dugoni
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Our main boy here is one career criminal Danny Felix. His charmed life is about to end as he is rudely awakened by the cops. But things soon become clear that this is no ordinary raid as we are introduced to DI Harkness who shall we just say, walks the dark side of life. Turns out, Harkness needs Danny's rather dubious skillset and uses his knowledge of Danny's crimes and now the evidence of same, to recruit him for what transpires to be a rather ambitious heist; the likes of which will go down in history.
Meanwhile, we also follow fellow cop Christine Chance who is struggling to combine supporting her terminally ill child with a dangerous job. Luckily for her, things are going great at work and her team's clean up rate is through the roof, removing some rather nasty people from the street. I say luckily, but is it really luck? She has a feeling things are too easy and is desperate to figure out why. Can she get to the bottom of things and prevent the carnage that threatens if the bad guys get their way?
Well, this book hit the ground running and really didn't let up until the very last page as I followed the shenanigans completely transfixed by what I was reading. It is so deliciously well plotted and expertly executed with tight writing that keeps the action and intrigue levels high throughout.
It also has a great cast of very real characters. They were all very well described both physically and by their actions which made them easy to connect with, something I find vital in order to fully enjoy a book. Harkness was delightfully dark and nasty, Danny came across very well as the intelligent guy he really was despite being a wrong 'un. I couldn't help but be very impressed by the way he thought things out and put them into action, notwithstanding the heinous nature of his plotting of course. Christine was more complex but although she appeared to be a lesser character in much of what happens during the book, she is key to what eventually happens at the end. Sort of snuck up on me a bit in a way. She has a lot to deal with personally in the book but that only added to her character development rather than being a distraction.
I've been trying to work out whether this is a series opening book. I believe it could be but at the time of reading I have to admit to hoping that it is as I feel that it contains some cracking characters which the author has taken great trouble to define very well and it would be a shame for this book to be their only outing.
My thanks go to the Publisher for the chance to read this book.
J.A. Marley writes with all the technical skill and self- assurance of a seasoned writer whilst managing to make his characters, plot and dialogue feel vital, realistic and utterly connected to the plot which unfolds at pace throughout this novel. For a debut author Marley’s ability to tell a story, which he fires relentlessly at the reader, is notable.
Written in third-person, past-tense throughout, Standstill is one of the paciest and most engaging novels I’ve read in recent times. The reader follows a number of characters through several weeks in which they are brought together on the road to what is essentially an audacious heist at the finale of the book.
What sets Marley’s characters, and his story, apart from the usual heist romp is his ability to convey the very best and the very worst of each of his characters; exposing their intentions, motivations and desires without judgment.
Marley lays his characters bare before the reader, utilising some lovely flashback techniques that in less able hands could’ve been unengaging exposition dumps. Marley takes these moments and expertly crafts tender, or brutal or, heart-wrenching insights into his main players. This is not an easy technique, that a debut writer is assured enough to utilise, and in such fine manner, is impressive.
My favourite example of this was a scene in which Danny replays sections of his childhood whilst picking locks. This scene was heavy with metaphors and symbolism and was a completely perfect little section of writing.
Marley’s characters are the lifeblood of this wonderfully invigorating read. Each of them pulses into vivid life displaying psychological damage, realistic motivations, flaws, virtues. Each are genuinely lost while still remaining intent on their goals. Complex stuff, from some truly terrific characters, none of whom are minor or act as bit-players.
Dialogue is also a major strength throughout. Always believable, and never wasted, Marley’s dialogue serves to move the plot or the character development forward. Not a ‘spoken’ word is wasted as filler.
Marley writes in an episodic manner. Short, sharp scenes, no nonsense, no fluff; each crafted to accelerate the plot or expose characters’ intentions. I could easily see these characters used in an ongoing TV series. A personal highlight for me, was Marley’s use of Mr Bright Sky to serve as a beat for the heist. Loved this.
The main flaw for me in this novel (and it’s a minor one) was with the main character, Danny. Whilst we saw excellent development with CC, and to a lesser extent, Harkins, I felt that Danny did not change significantly throughout the novel. He remained, for me, largely unaffected by the events unfolding around him, and at moments, a little too in control at all times. His past gave him a lot of doubts and flaws, I’d have liked to have seen more of these exposed in the latter art of his story. Really though, it’s a minor quibble, and one I’m sure there will be adequate time to work with on the follow-up.
A hugely impressive debut novel from a talent to watch.
Danny is one of those cheeky rogues that you just can’t help but fall that little bit in love with. You know you should probably steer well clear but there’s just something about him that grabs your attention and before you know it, he’s hooked you. I did feel a bit sorry for him even though he does tend to spend a lot of time on the wrong side of the law but he does have a big heart.
Christine Chance has a lot going on in her personal life. As heart breaking as it was to read of her terminally sick daughter, the author gets the balance perfect so that the reader feels enough emotion without it detracting from the main story line. I had to give her credit for her out look on life. She tries her best not to let her daughters illness get in the way of her work. Her daughter is very proud of who she is and what she does and in a way I think that puts more pressure on her to solve the case.
Harkness is one very nasty individual but a story like this you need a baddy you can really hate and that has you routing for the police to bring him down. I was nearly jumping up and down by the end of the book as the build up of tension was just electric!
Standstill is a brilliantly gripping debut novel. It is fast paced and will have the adrenaline pumping through your body. I so hope we haven’t seen the last of Danny and Chance as would love to see more of them in the future.
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Danny might be a villain but you just can't help hoping he gets away with it.Read more