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Out of Bounds by Angel Milan
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Out of Bounds

by Angel Milan

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Out Of Bounds is an interesting interpretation of a crime-thriller standard from a new author. Take an ordinary joe, muddle him up in something seriously grim, set the dogs on him and watch the innocent guy try to thrash his way free from an ever-tightening noose, beset by bad guys and the long arm of the law alike.

Give the unwilling hero something to fight for – a loving wife and two young daughters who may pay the ultimate price for his moment of weakness. Take away everyone he can trust and make sure all his workmates, friends and associates could be complicit in the conspiracy. Set a pugnacious but honest and even-handed cop on his trail. Scare him witless with a series of encounters with a seriously tough hombre, an enforcer for a drug cartel. Then watch the rabbit run and see if he can twist out of the snare…

All this is familiar territory but author Simon Duke introduces some interesting twists to the constantly evolving plot, swapping back and forth between the investigating cop and a first-person perspective of the fall guy who is desperately fighting for everything he holds dear.

Out Of Bounds is a first novel and it’s self-published. It’s better presented than many similar books but could have been improved by a professional edit, with tweaks to the occasionally odd style of dialogue. There were also a few sections where the narrative stopped flowing and felt somewhat stilted; big chunks of exposition and less-than-snappy dialogue to wade through. The female characters don’t do too well, either: the woman-under-threat felt like a plot device more than a person. She, and a couple of the DEA / FBI guys, felt like characters straight from central casting.

However, if you can cope with an occasional clunky moment then you’ll be rewarded with several deft plot twists (especially on the ‘who can you trust?’ theme), and a truly wince-inducing finale where the author really puts poor old Kyle through the wringer. The ending was all the more rewarding for being unexpected – and pretty brave – in its outcome.

(There's more thoughts on the characters and plot over at http://murdermayhemandmore.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/out-of-bounds-a-first-novel-... )

Simon Duke has real potential as a writer: this is a neat plot packed with ongoing action, a strong narrative thread and some snapshots of stylish, atmospheric writing. Hopefully Duke will develop more of this kind of style in his next novel.

7/10
( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
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