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Phillip Harben
Note from Auld-Yin: It is not often I re-print a review but for some reason the original got lost and the author, fellow Arrser, had asked about it. As the book got a good review, and is still available, I thought I would put it up again.

Since leaving the Army, Chris Mason had been working for a small welding company whose managing director, Peter Jefferson, was only concerned with how much money could be made from it rather than concerning himself with the staff. To that end, he tells Chris to sack Dave, who had been sent home by Chris because of the sudden death of his mother. To make matters worse Peter later called Chris into his office to tell him that he had sold the company, which was to be relocated to Essex, and all the staff would be made redundant.

On his way home, Chris’s mood is not improved by a “road rage” incident and eventually he stopped at Dave’s home to see him and let him know what was happening. They got on well together as both had served in the Army, Dave doing several tours in Northern Ireland while Chris had served in both Bosnia and Iraq. Eventually he arrived home and told his wife Gemma what was happening.

The next morning Chris’s mood is not a good one when he he encounters youths with dogs who are friends of his next door neighbours, but he has not been at work for long when he receives a garbled phone message from Gemma regarding his son Daniel, and something about dogs. He races home to discover that a dog of one of the youths has savaged, and killed, his son.

From here on, life does not seem worth living for Chris and Gemma appears to have withdrawn into herself. Eventually Chris snaps and confronts the youths, including the one who owned the dog which had attacked young Daniel. He then determines the only thing worth doing is to take revenge on the death of his son and retrieves some equipment he has hidden. The equipment turns out to be firearms and ammunition which he had illegally brought back from Iraq by hiding it all within his secure Royal Signals truck.

As he tries to exact revenge he is drawn into a confrontation with the police with an almost expected ending but there a few twists along the way before the final conclusion.

The book is relatively easy to read and moves on at a good pace, making it one not too easy to put down, incorporating humour, emotion and considerable violence.

This is a relatively short book which seems to raise several questions and an indictment of our present society. Messages seem to be there about society in Britain reaping a harvest with a system which trains men to be violent within the armed forces then to suffer no ill effects in future years, people living a certain lifestyle who have no fear of the law and care not about other members of society, and the police where politics are taking the place of maintaining law and order. It is well worth reading.


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