Publisher: Bloodhound Books
Publication date: 8th November 2016
Whatever the opposite of the ‘Midas Touch’ is, Ben Stephens has perfected it. The brutal murderer of his first wife has never been caught, he’s constantly walking in the shadow of his twin sister, he works for his filthy rich father-in-law with dubious degrees of success, and has accrued massive personal debt. In fact, none of his efforts have made a positive impact on the world lately.
Tired of being herded in ways he doesn’t want to go, despondency erupts into rage causing him to take some pretty drastic action to try and regain control. The effectiveness of his decisions remains to be seen throughout as he gets very few lifelines thrown to him due to his reckless efforts.
Several laws are broken, as are noses, provoking unwanted interest from his detective sister, who is another source of irritation for Ben. It’s all he needs while the unsavoury characters he’s had the misfortune to become involved with are trying to flush his life down the pan.
I was intrigued to learn whether Ben was brave, desperate, or just plain foolish. I mean why else would a placid bloke with a wife, two kids and a mortgage end up crossing the path of one of the most notoriously dangerous men in Birmingham? Well, the scenario of anybody finding themselves in the situations Ben Stephens did feel a little ludicrous at first. But as he is pursued by bad luck (most of it self-inflicted) and questionable decision making (most definitely self-inflicted) his story intensifies and begins to hint at the reasons behind his quest for retribution and personal salvation.
As the story is told in the first person it feels slightly intrusive to be in the thick of things – it’s almost uncomfortable at times, especially when events go from bad to worse. These events are peppered with interviews between an unnamed source who attempts to encourage our man to validate his actions. The casual and insightful exchanges gnaw away the layers of Ben’s problems to reveal the true strength of his character and put a whole new spin on his story.
For a while I was only getting a flicker of a connection from the characters and just when I was on the verge of becoming furious with them for holding me at arm’s length everything ignited, big time.
Dark Fragments is extreme life wrestling in every possible way. It’s one man’s persistence to challenge his failures, yet he opts for the way only a disturbed professional should attempt. With his judgment clouded his mind goes off-piste until he’s truly lost and he’s left clutching at the shards of his life with both hands – and the outcome is startlingly unexpected.
Well worth a read if you get the opportunity.
(I received a digital copy of this title direct from the author with my thanks, and this is my unbiased review.)
(Courtesy of Author’s website)
Murder. Money. Revenge.
Outwardly, Ben Stephens appears to be a normal, hard-working family man. In reality, his life has been in turmoil since the murder of his wife, Alice, seven years ago. The killer was never caught.
Now re-married – to the woman he was having an affair with while still married to Alice – Ben’s life is once again spiraling out of control, and he’s become heavily indebted to an unscrupulous criminal who is baying for Ben’s blood.
When Ben’s estranged twin sister, a police detective, unexpectedly returns to his life, asking too many questions for comfort, it becomes clear that without action, Ben’s life will soon reach a crisis point from which there will be no return.
In order to avoid falling further into the mire, Ben must examine the past if he is to survive the present – but just how much pressure can one man take before he breaks?
Dark Fragments is a fast-paced thriller with a blend of mystery, suspense and action that will appeal to readers of psychological thrillers, as well as a broad section of crime, thriller and action fans.
(Courtesy of Author’s website)
Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan.
His explosive debut, Dance with the Enemy, was published in 2014 and introduced the world to the enigmatic Carl Logan. The second novel in the series, Rise of the Enemy, was released in April 2015, with the third, Hunt for the Enemy, being released in February 2016.
Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.
Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.