Reviewed by: Keith Nixon
Approximate word count: 30-25,000 words
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Martin Stanley studied to be a graphic designer. A love of crime fiction at an early age led Martin to start writing. He has previously released two novels and a short story collection.
You can learn more about the author at his blog.
The Stanton brothers return in the multi-stranded noir crime novella. Local thug Terry Allbright is being set up, but doesn’t know it. The Stanton brothers are after £50,000 of Terry’s money, generated through selling drugs, but there are plenty of equally bad guys out to stop the pair. As the best laid plan goes awry the brothers have to fight their way out. Whatever it takes.
I’ve previously reviewed two of the author’s works which followed the actions of the Stanton brothers. Both were strong and entertaining – this latest follows in their footsteps with ease.
I really like the Stanton brothers as characters. They’re like modern day Robin Hood and Little John, except they steal from the criminal rich and keep it for themselves. However the brothers also have a softer side to them, typically righting a human wrong on someone else’s behalf – provided it generates a return for them.
Bone Breakers is this time written in the third person, giving the narrative a different twist on the previous outings. The prose has a hard edge – there are plenty of violent scenes and a heavy dose of swearing. But these fit with the situation, neither are utilized for the sake of it. Besides the Stantons the author paints some great secondary characters as well – all are less than salubrious. I particularly liked Dave ‘Bell End’ Bellman.
Over the first quarter of Bone Breakers the author introduces several characters. In the opening chapter local thug Terry Albright takes over a takeaway for his own purposes, ensuring the owner, Al, does as he wants by carrying out some pretty nasty persuasion techniques on Al’s son Danny. Then we meet another dodgy character, Tommo, who picks up a girl in a bar but she is much more trouble than he initially envisaged.
Finally the Stanton brothers enter stage left once all the cards are stacked. As usual the grand plan doesn’t quite work out as expected and the pair have to use some creative ideas to extract themselves from the position they’re in, with a deal of black humour thrown in.
All in all Bone Breakers was a fast paced, highly entertaining read. Anyone liking the seamier side of crime fiction would do well to pick this up.
Plenty of swearing and violence.
Rating: **** Four stars