Thursday 16 May 2013




Belfast 2013

Mickey The Rage Rafferty has gone through some tough times, but he's not ready to tap-out just yet. The Belfast widower has to take care of his eight-year-old daughter, Lily. However, his main talent is fighting and the only way he can make enough money off it to support his girl is to take dodgy underground matches paying off in bloodstained cash. Mickey’s trainer, Eddie Smith, doesn't approve. He wants his most promising student to step into the cage as a real martial artist, not as a fool for thugs and gangsters.

With Eddie on the verge of cutting him loose, Mickey is up against the cage – crushed between fast cash and a legitimate career. Mickey has some big decisions to make and some even bigger opponents to face.

The MMA life can be harsh, and it’s never easy ... Welcome To The Octagon.

I have lifted this from bit of detail from the Fightcard website......

The books in the Fight Card series are monthly 25,000 word novelettes, designed to be read in one or two sittings, and are inspired by the fight pulps of the '30s and '40s – such as Fight Stories Magazine – and Robert E. Howard’s two-fisted boxing tales featuring Sailor Steve Costigan.

I read this novelette quite quickly, probably over a couple of days as I had my head half into something else at the time. I found it enjoyable with well described fight scenes. I enjoy watching a bit of boxing when it’s on free to view terrestrial TV, so it was a fairly safe bet that this would be up my street.  I wouldn’t claim to be a student of the sport or its cousin – Mixed Martial Arts, but something in my bones gets excited about watching two guys trying to knock seven bells out of each other. If you can’t watch it, what better than to read about it?

Mickey, our eponymous hero, is struggling to make his way in the game. I think he loves it, but essentially it’s just a vehicle to earn quick cash to support his daughter. The commitment to training helps him keep his head out of the bottle, but he’s struggling to keep afloat. Legitimate bouts can’t come quick enough, and the established route to the top will take too long for him to achieve the paydays necessary to keep the wolf from the door.  Taking on underground illegal matches, fighting above dodgy Belfast pubs where he’s been set up as a fall guy in a betting sting, Mickey’s outlook seems bleak until Swifty, a Dublin gangster steps in. Soon Mickey’s beholden to Swifty and is getting deeper and deeper in the brown stuff. Does he sink or does he swim?

If you’ve a spare pound for a punch or want a bang for your buck, and have a few loose hours and nothing to fill them with, you could do worse than getting this one on your Kindle. You'll see whether Mickey wins his toughest fight or not.

If I’m totally honest, a fuller length treatment by the author, Gerard Brennan would have been more enjoyable. With fewer limitations or constraints on length, I reckon he could have fully developed the tale and delivered a knockout. However, at 110-odd pages it was good enough to win easily on points.

4 from 5      

Gerard was kind enough to ping me a review copy. Check out his website, check out his other stuff. His website is here.


  1. Col - I have to say, MMA isn't my kind of theme for a novelette, 'though this one seems to have some solid character development. But I'm glad to hear it moved along well for you and that you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, thanks - agreed it's not going to be everyone's cup of tea, but it worked for me and was a pleasant few hours spent reading it.

  2. Col, I like the idea of a novelette and you make this one sound pretty good, but it probably isn't going to make my list. But you have added a lot to my list. I am glad you liked it.

    1. Thanks, Tracy. You can take a pass on this one then.