Thursday 3 October 2019



Two years ago Wilson left his old boss alive in exchange for a clean slate, keeping up his end of the bargain and staying off the grid. Then, thousands of miles from the city he once escaped, a man comes calling on Wilson with a gun in hand and a woman in his trunk. Wilson is pulled back into his old life as a "grinder' to work under the radar to quietly find out who is responsible for a dangerous mobster's missing nephews--and this time all bets are off.

Grinder is the second book in the Wilson series from Mike Knowles. After events in Darwin's Nightmare, Wilson is eking out an existence working on a fishing boat miles away from Hamilton. A heart attack suffered by one of the boat's clients and Wilson's efforts to save the man's life are captured on camera. Unfortunately the victim is a prominent politician and the photograph appears on the front pages of the national newspapers. Wilson's cover, unbeknown to him is blown.

A man comes a-calling, courtesy of Paolo Donati. Dusting off his skills, dealing with him and freeing his landlady, Wilson's quiet life is over. He heads back to the city and a meeting with Donati, Hamilton's top criminal boss and the man Wilson crossed previously. Donati's idiot nephews have gone missing and he needs Wilson to find out who did the deed. With paranoia and mistrust, two ever present fertile seeds in the mind of the crime lord, he needs an outsider  to look into things.

Cue more mayhem as Wilson investigates who in Donati's organisation would have had the front to challenge him like this. The nephews, wannabe gangsters have been gobbing off on You Tube about the mob and gossiping about who's been up to what in a bit to impress viewers and establish some street cred. Donati has a few under lord candidates who might have wanted to teach them a lesson and thereby challenge the top dog.

I like books where it's one man against the tide. You kind of have to suspend disbelief a little bit, to invest in the unlikelihood that sheer weight of numbers wouldn't count for anything when the guns are drawn and the bullets start flying. Knowles manages to convince me though.

We get an investigation followed by bloodshed.

Wilson is fast becoming an old friend. I like witnessing the thought processes behind his moves. I enjoy seeing him get the upper hand and I enjoy his normal exchanges with everyday folks not in the life. When he goes nuclear it's a wild ride.

Lots to like here, not least the dual settings. I was enjoying seeing him recuperate away from the big city and making a new life, albeit transitory in Charlottetown away from the dirt and criminality he deals in in the city. I enjoyed being back on his Hamilton stomping ground also.

Plenty of action, plenty of violence, plenty of blood spilled, but not overly gratuitous, all in keeping with the tale. I liked the story line and meeting characters we crossed paths with and had dealings with in the earlier book.

My cup of tea.

4 from 5

Darwin's Nightmare is the first in the series. Grinder is followed by In Plain Sight. 

Read - September, 2019
Published - 2009
Page count - 182
Source - purchased copy
Format - omnibus paperback edition


  1. You know, Col, I was just thinking of the 'suspension of disbelief' thing while I was reading your post. For this sort of story, I think that's a part of it. If you let disbelief go, this sounds like a tight, well-told story. I like the settings and the premise. It sounds like the pacing and timing are done well, too.

  2. I think there's a buy in from readers every time they read fiction, Margot. You kind of know Bosch or Rebus or Poirot aren't going to be in mortal peril and will live to fight another day. Same goes for Mr Wilson!

  3. Glad to see that you're really getting into these, Col! How soon before you get to #3?

    1. Cheers. I read #3 a day or two after this one. Just haven't yet had time to post on it.

  4. I might have to give this series a try, although it is going to have to come down in price first. Maybe too gritty and violent for me, but worth trying out.

    1. Some of the later ones might be a bit cheaper. I am enjoying the ride reading these.

  5. Replies
    1. I'll be looking forward to the next three in the trilogy, after a breather.

    2. trilogy???? doh - it's a six book series!