Monday 21 May 2018



Friedrich Nietzsche wrote:

You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.

So it is for Jason Dean a hitman, enforcer if you like, lying in the gutter looking up at the stars. In defiance of his brutal upbringing and bullying father, Jason has learned to appreciate fine literature and classical music. At his father's insistence he learns to box from a young age and thus has ensured that he is able to contend with the brutal world he now inhabits.

A story that pulls no punches as we journey with Jason through a typical day, experiencing his highs and his lows. A tale with violence and heart, of normal folk living desperate lives.

The second in our Knuckle Cracking Novella series. Near to the Knuckle are proud to bring you One Day in the Life of Jason Dean by Ian Ayris, author of the critically acclaimed Abide with Me published by Caffeine Nights.

An eventful, climactic day in the life of our main character Jason Dean unfolds gradually. Normal everyday interactions - spousal indifference, breakfast in the cafe, a walk through the market - escalate slowly with increasing tension into violence as the workday commences - a meeting, a list of chores - must get much-loved, daughter Sophie a birthday present and several confrontations, each leaving their mark on Jason.

Reflection, regret, an event in the past, an erosion of the spirit. I could elaborate but to do so would risk spoiling things for a new reader.

A bit of high brow culture (Nietzsche, Wagner and Shostakovich) combines with a local history lesson, which documents the passage of time, combines with the mundane elements of working for a local criminal and money lender and the tedious but necessary application of some physical punishment. Today might just be different though.

Jason's inner monologue throughout provides some insight into a more complex character, than his job title might have you believe he is. Throughout, fierce parental love pervades.

Despite the melancholy nature of this one, we do have some occasional slapstick, which momentarily lightens the mood.

A moving, thoughtful and considered piece.

4.5 from 5

I've enjoyed Ian Ayris previously - Abide With Me and April Skies both last year.

Ian Ayris has his website here.

Read in May, 2018
Published - 2012 originally, (2016 republished by Near to the Knuckle)
Page count - 108
Source - purchased copy
Format - Kindle


  1. It does sound thoughtful, Col. I think it's interesting that Dean is portrayed as a human being with multiple facets to his personality. It sounds as though he's a very interesting character.

    1. Margot, I really like this author's work. There's a bit more bubbling away beneath the surface.

  2. Sounds a complex and interesting character

    1. I really liked it. As an added bonus it wasn't to long either. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  3. You liked this so well, I may have to give it a try some day. I am working through two other hit man series so this one will have to wait.

  4. Sounds as if it could be interesting, although I do worry sometimes about normalizing serial killers -- which is, after all, what hitmen are.

    1. I suppose when you put it like that....
      Oh well, I'm a fan.