Michael is a family man, working long hours to provide for his family.
Things take a dark turn when he and his family are subject to a series of threatening and intimidating phone calls, claiming Michael is not who he says he is.
One night, when Michael is out, his home is attacked and his daughter, Layla is kidnapped.
Only then is Michael’s criminal past revealed. His old gang has finally found him, demanding a ransom for his daughter’s life, the price tag of an old job that went wrong.
With the help of his estranged brother, Carl. Michael must return to the criminal underworld. A journey that will take them both from the streets of Belfast to Dublin.
Layla’s Song doesn’t mess about. Like the main protagonist Michael, once it sets off on a course of action it goes for it head first and without delay. Hardly have we met Michael and his wife and daughter than his life falls apart as his criminal past catches up with him. The plot is straightforward and direct – get his daughter back at all and any cost.
Author Paul McCracken tells us he started writing film screenplays before turning to novels, and that influence is apparent in the sparse dialogue and description as we are swept along on the action-packed journey. The terse and muscular prose style suits the story well as the action heats up – through the streets of Dublin and Belfast we are propelled via car chases, drug deals, shoot outs and fist fights. The tension builds as the stakes get higher and the body count mounts up. There’s hardly time to draw breath, let alone worry about breaking laws or estranged family relations or crumbling marriages.
It’s an highly enjoyable ride, the literary equivalent of a gritty crime action film that will have fans of the genre enthusiastically onboard. Much like a 2-hour film, I read it in one sitting and was totally engrossed in the story.
Like an everyday Irish Jack Reacher, Michael, helped by his brother Carl, leaves the bad guys in his wake, determined to battle until the bitter end, and it’s a helluva journey that he takes us on. By the end your grateful for the chance to lie down and have a well earned rest.
Summary: A terse, action-packed thriller that grips from the start and doesn’t let go.
Similar To: The Jack Reacher books by Lee Child; the Taken films
‘Layla’s Song’ is available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback:
Amazon.co.uk: Layla’s Song
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