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April 10, 2012 / John Sheridan

Review: Stagger Bay by Pearce Hansen

Links: Amazon USAmazon UK

Stagger Bay is a Kindle only release as far as I’m aware. My copy was provided by the author for review purposes. Given that it’s a Kindle release (and this is where Kindles and other ereaders come into their own) reading the first chapter will give you a good idea of whether this will appeal to you or not.

The main character is named Markus and he greets us with a first line thus “The morning I went to hell I was passed out drunk”. Things don’t improve too much for him over the course of that first chapter which concludes – “That’s when I had the sneaking suspicion I was royally fucked.”

Markus hails from a criminal background but has gone straight for the sake of his family and now wrongfully accused and convicted they are stolen from him firstly due to his incarceration and subsequently by the deaths of his wife and brother. Given that it kicks offs as a story of wrongful conviction you could be forgiven for expecting it to become a story of how he seeks to prove his innocence and avenge his circumstances but it morphs into something completely different.

On release following his exoneration he returns to Stagger Bay but nobody wants to know even his son until he becomes a bystander as a robbery involving ultraviolence goes down including using grenades on incapacitated cops. The getaway vehicle grinds to a halt and the gang enter a nearby school amped up on drugs and armed to the teeth forcing Markus to intervene. Surviving a close range shot to the head, he surmises “this was the only shot I’d ever get to avenge my own murder.” Intense hardcore violence ensues with M16’s, grenades and multiple bodies. This sequence alone deserves an award for the graphic intensity of the violence.

Thereafter Markus is greeted as a hero for saving the children in the school but there is something much more sinister at work in the town and if he can get to the bottom of it he may just save himself as well as the residents of the Gardens on whom the Driver – a serial killer operating under the protection of the local police has been preying.

The cover doesn’t work for me at all but my rating overall is 4 out of 5.

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