Wednesday 15 April 2015



The world is an ugly place, and I can tell you now, I fit in just fine.

Lily is the only person Leon ever loved. When she left a suicide note and disappeared into a murky lake ten years ago, she left him alone, drifting through a silent landscape.

Or did she?

A postcard in her handwriting pulls Leon to the winter-cold concrete heart of New York City. 
What he discovers unleashes a deadly rage that has no sound.

A grisly trail of clues leads to The Bear, the sadistic Russian crime lord who traffics in human flesh. The police-some corrupt, some merely compromised-are of little help. They don't like Leon's methods, or the mess he leaves in his wake.

Leon is deaf, but no sane person would ever call him disabled. He survived as a child on the merciless streets of Nigeria. He misses nothing. He feels no remorse. The only direction he's ever known is forward.

He will not stop until he knows.

Where is Lily?

A bit of an imponderable for me here…. I never really got an understanding of why Lily left in the first place.

That aside, the efforts by her deaf, adopted brother, Leon to track her down and either rescue and save or revenge her make for a compelling and brutal read. Leon learned to kill as a child in Nigeria, before coming to America. (Any similarities between his journey and that of an Eddie Murphy-esque African prince end now.)    

Violent, graphic, uncomfortable, disturbing and dark. I loved it. Not an easy read and those of a sensitive disposition may be better skimming at times, as Leon when he is unable to draw answers from witnesses with his pen and pad and lip-reading is just as adept with his fists, or feet or an item of cutlery.

From a standing start, Leon soon picks up Lily’s trail via a diner and then a strip joint controlled by some Russians. Breaking a few laws to get some answers, Leon comes to the attention of the cops and the Russian mob family that Lily has become involved with, albeit indirectly by her marriage. A video of Lily being raped and beaten by the Russians as her husband looks on, fuels his rage.

A tad of a stretch totally buying the police complicity in allowing Leon to continue to pursue his vendetta in the face of evidence (or strong suspicion at least) linking him to murder and arson, but regardless to that, I read on compulsively. 

Bent cops, straight cops, people trafficking, rape, murder, arson, strip clubs, burglary, safe-cracking, videos, underground prison ……..death, destruction, violence, rescue, rage, family, loyalty, revenge. No regrets.          

You never doubt the depth of Leon’s love for Lily. In the end we have some answers, but no happy ending.

Overall – an extremely entertaining and satisfying ride, with an intriguing protagonist.
I will look forward to seeing more from the author in the future.

4 from 5

Brett Garcia Rose’s website is here

He has previously had a short story collection published – Losing Found Things and has another novel due out this year – Ren.

Thanks to the author and Kelsey McBride for my copy.


  1. This sounds like a really interesting premise, Col. But I have to confess I don't think it's for me. It sounds a little too brutally violent and unrelenting. Still, Leon sounds like a different sort of protagonist, which I always respect. Glad you enjoyed it.

    1. Margot, you are probably right. It's a very harsh book which I really enjoyed, but I think my sensibility radar is tuned slightly different to yours. Gruelling and unrelenting indeed, but it worked for me. Not the type of book I want to read each and every time but quite regularly if I'm honest.

  2. I'm with Margot on this one - we'll leave you tomit and enjoy the reviews.

  3. Col, I generally like to read novels set in New York and Leon's character and his background sounds more appealing than the plot.

    1. I really enjoyed this one Prashant. Short, sharp, action packed, pacy - a lot to like about it, not least Leon and New York!

  4. I am not sure about this one, Col. Sounds interesting but very grim.

    1. Perhaps a bit too dark for me to recommend it to you Tracy.