Sunday 8 April 2018



It’s down to fathers and fatherhood.

Ben Bracken, ex-soldier, has just got out of Strangeways.

Not by the front door.

With him, he has his ‘insurance policy’ – a bag of evidence that will guarantee his freedom, provided he can keep it safe – and he has money, carefully looked after by a friend, Jack Brooker.

Rejected by the army, disowned by his father, and any hopes of parenthood long since shattered, Ben has no anchors in his life.

No one to keep him steady. 

No one to stop his cause…

The plan: to wreak justice on the man who had put him in prison in the first place. 

Terry ‘The Turn-Up’ Masters, a nasty piece of work, whose crime organisation is based in London.

But before Ben can get started on his mission, another matter is brought to his attention: Jack’s father has been murdered and he will not rest until the killers are found.

Suddenly, Ben finds himself drawn in to helping Jack in his quest for revenge.

In the process, he descends into the fold of Manchester’s most notorious crime organisation – the Berg – the very people he wants to bring down…

This action-packed and fast-paced story will keep you turning the pages. Manchester is vividly portrayed as Ben races around the city seeking vengeance.

Praise for A Wanted Man

'Narrated with page-turning mastery... A stunning crime thriller' – GOODBOOKSTODAY.COM 

‘A dark, gripping, revenge thriller’ – Thomas Waugh

An enjoyable book with an interesting main character, Ben Bracken but a little bit marred by my unwillingness to be totally convinced about Bracken’s motivations.

Bracken is ex-army and has escaped from prison. He wants revenge on the man responsible for putting him there, I get that. His willingness to fight other people’s battles, less so.

That said when he goes up against a secretive Manchester underworld gang it was an entertaining, series of encounters and meetings, almost akin to a chess match, before it turned brutal and bloody with more than a few casualties.  

Bracken doesn’t have many friends and those who do help him seem to live to regret it. He is estranged from his family. There was one particularly moving scene when Ben revisits his old family home on the off-chance of maybe reconnecting. Gone with no forwarding address, greets him and you feel his loneliness.

Lots to like, a Manchester setting, plenty of action, a quick-moving fast-paced narrative, a main character that grew on me as the book progressed and an ending that paves the way for a continuation of the series and Ben Bracken’s main goal – revenge, without feeling like a cliff-hanger.

3.5 from 5

Robert Parker has his website here and is on Twitter – @robparkerauthor

A Wanted Man is his debut, Crook’s Hollow is his second novel and a stand-alone.

Published in 2017
Read in March, 2018
Page count – 320
Source – review copy received from publicist, Linda MacFadyen

Format - paperback


  1. Sounds interesting, Col, and I like the setting, too. You've got a point about wanting to 'buy in' to Bracken's motivations. Still, I'm glad you found some things to like about this one.

    1. Margot, there was more to like than not, but yes I wasn't totally convinced by the rationale.

  2. Liking the main character helps a lot. And I like a fast pace in a novel. Looks like a good debut for this author.

  3. I'm afraid this was a DNF for me. I just didn't buy into why he was so easily diverted from his real objective - strange for an ex-soldier wanting revenge. Plus, for someone who is supposed to have seen action in the field, he seemed very naive in 'combat strategy' (eg jumping into a river where he knew the bank was high & unclimbable). Liked the writing style though, so may try Crook's Hollow that you reviewed.

    1. Sorry to hear this one wasn't for you. It wasn't the perfect read by any means but I wasn't inclined to stop. More to like than dislike for me.