Tuesday, 26 February 2013



Maybe you grow up in the gutter with no one to lend you a hand. But that’s okay – nobody owes you nothing no how.

Maybe you meet your one true love, have a son, and leave the Life forever to become a Citizen. You obey the law, think maybe you’ve paid your dues. You fool yourself into believing you’ve got something coming to you; you think the past is past, no more than a bad dream long gone.

But sometimes that’s all shown up as a load of crap. Sometimes reality slices through all your illusions and bites you right on your flabby pale ass.

It didn’t matter you were innocent of the horrible crimes they accused you of – your violent childhood meant you were born to hang the frame on. Seven long years, gone from your life – and along the way you lost everything that ever mattered.

But now you’ve been exonerated – free! – and you have a second chance you never expected and don’t pretend to deserve. They’re calling you a hero for what you did that day: blood everywhere, and multiple homicide in front of all those screaming kids.

Everyone wants in on the media feeding frenzy; paparazzi and news crews follow wherever you go now. Unfortunately they’re not the only ones hounding you.

What are you supposed to do, when you discover fifteen minutes of fame is the worst thing that could ever happen? What can you do, now that your town is hunting ground to serial killers and rogue cops working together – and the shadowy force behind them is turning its cold, deadly eye straight your way?

Welcome home to Stagger Bay . . .

Stagger Bay is a battle of wills, where every moral choice seems only to increase the body count, in the tradition of Paul Cain’s Fast One, Ted Lewis' Get Carter or Geoffrey Household’s Rogue Male.

I read Hansen’s first book Street Raised a few years ago (published 2006) and whilst I can remember next to nothing about it today, (ok, totally nothing) I’m fairly sure I must have enjoyed it enough to keep my eye out for any further books from the author.

Fast forward 5 or 6 years and there I was Saturday afternoon racing through this, eating up the pages keen to finish. I feel no real need to expand on the blurb above, so I’ll have a quick Q & A with myself.

Did you enjoy it? Yes,

Best book you’ve ever read? No,

Would you read more from the author? Yes,

Do you feel inclined to rush out and find anything else by him this very moment? Err, no,

What impressed you the most? Hansen’s narrative skills; culminating in a taut, pacey tale with an interesting main character, trying to get his life back on track after an injustice has been served on him and he’s spent time inside during which his partner has overdosed  and died and the son he loved has grown up and grown away from him.  After that cheery start, things take a turn for the worse as Marcus the main man turns from villain to hero and gets embroiled in combating small-town corruption and a sadistic killer.

Read the 220-odd pages in an afternoon.

4 from 5

Bought late last year on Amazon for Kindle.


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