Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Acts of Violence / Ross Harrison

Reviewed by: Pete Barber

Genre: Crime / Science-Fiction

Approximate word count: 70-75,000 words

Kindle  US: YES  UK: YES  Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: NO
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Ross Harrison has been writing since childhood without thought of publication. When the idea was planted by his grandmother to do so, it grew rapidly, and after a bumpy ten years or so, here sits the fruit.

Ross lives on the UK/Eire border in Ireland, hoping the rain will help his hair grow back. More at Harrison’s website.


Jack Mason is a private detective living in the city of Harem on a distant planet somewhere in the universe. When a girl he hooked up with is brutally murdered in his apartment, he’s pulled in by the cops and accused of the crime. The story follows his exploits as he tries to prove his innocence.


I selected the book because the sample had a neat noir feel to it. While I don’t read a lot of that genre, I do enjoy the smart wise-cracking hero, and Jack Mason had a number of snappy retorts—the character admits that his default setting is “sarcastic asshole.” Another cute one: when he’s asked, “Can I take you coat, Jack?” he replies, “Why? Yours is so much nicer.” There are plenty more.

Other than a smattering of off-world technology, the book could have been set in any American suburban area—greasy-spoon cafes, strip clubs, gritty bars and stiff drinks--not a lot of sci-fi at all. But, for me, the sample flattered to deceive. There were a lot of gunfights—too many IMO, and the level of detail they were described in created confusion—too many stage directions, or at least more than needed. Jack always won out, despite the odds against him, and after a few fights, the tension just wasn’t there. Also, the stakes (he has to break up the local mafia) didn’t seem high enough.

Jack Mason was an interesting character. The story had a nice twist in the tale. Overall I enjoyed the read. If this is your genre, I suspect you’d get more from the story than I did.


English spelling

Format/Typo Issues:

No significant issues.

Rating: *** Three stars

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the review, Pete!