Brotherhood (Mason & Sterling Thrillers #1), by David Beckler

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to David Beckler and Sapere Books for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

David Beckler takes the reader on a harrowing journey as two men try to save the life of a boy who finds himself in a world of trouble, some of his own making. When called to a local fire, Adam Sterling and his crew work diligently to put out the flames in quick order. During the process, they come across the scorched body of a teenage boy, though the scene plays out more as a body dump than a victim of the smoke and flames. Sterling’s friend and former Royal Marine, Byron Mason receives a panicked call from his nephew, begging for help. A gang of boys with whom he associates is looking for him after a punitive measure went terribly wrong. Byron drops everything to help, but soon discovers that things are even worse for Philip than first imagined. It would seem that the group accidentally killed young Liam McLaughlin, son to one of Manchester’s dirtiest gangsters. As the forensics confirm the horrible news that Liam was the one found in the fire, a search begins for answers, headed-up by DCI Siobhan Quinn. She takes her team around to interview those who may have answers, including the young boys, all of whom point to Philip. As they seek their own justice, McLaughlin has his own men looking to find Philip, hoping to exact their own form of justice. DCI Quinn tries to run things by the books, though is quick to discover that no one tends to wait for the law to solve crimes, particularly this lot. As Byron and Adam seek to save young man’s life, there is one whose life story emerges throughout the book, trained to hunt and kill. Called only ‘The Boy’, this machete-wielding fellow will ask questions later, donning steel to solve all his problems first. A wonderful piece that keeps the reader flipping through the pages to discover just how justice is doled out in Manchester, and whether those responsible will receive their needed punishments. Recommended to those who like a good thriller, peppered with police procedural aspects throughout.

David Beckler offers readers quite the ride in this piece, which seeks to mesh some police work with the politics of family honour. The protagonists throughout, Byron Mason and Adam Sterling, prove to be loyal to a fault, but take no guff from anyone. They are hard-core, attributed to their Royal Marine pasts, but full of compassion when the need arises. As Beckler offers a little backstory for them both, he also paves the way with some decent development and shows their determination, which may prove useful in any future story about the men. With a handful of interesting secondary characters, the reader is introduced to many people who colour the story in such a way that there is no choice but to follow their every move. Be it gangsters wanting retribution or detectives trying to piece a difficult case together, these folks have something to say and add depth to a fast narrative. The story was strong and the multi-layered cat and mouse game proved effective at keeping the reader’s attention. I know that there are two more pieces (novellas) to entertain the reader and can only hope they pack just as much punch. A wonderful piece by David Beckler, who is able to juggle all aspects of this story without losing any of the intensity.

Kudos, Mr. Beckler, for an entertaining first novel in this series. I can only hope that there is more to come, dazzling readers at every turn.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: