Friday, May 26, 2017

Brick by Conrad Jones

Liverpool is in the midst of a gang war between two rival gangs, each determined to control the flood of drugs into the city.  When one gang steals a shipment of drugs from the other, it sets the scene for a war.

Bryn is a fourteen year old boy, trying to concentrate on his education and find a way to escape the life of poverty his family lives.  He idolizes his two older brothers and worries about his parents who seem resigned to their lives.  He is a good kid.  One day while taking his dog for a walk in the local park, he has an encounter with a man who seems to take exception with his dog.  The two have words and Bryn moves on, never thinking the encounter might escalate beyond words.

But escalate it does.  The man is a member of one of the drug gangs.  He calls in reinforcements and soon a younger, stronger man arrives to teach Bryn a lesson.  He chases him down in the park and starts to attack him, brutually beating him.  During the fight, Bryn reaches out, finds a brick and hits the man, instantly killing him.  Far from being relieved, Bryn is horrified at what has happened and scared by the violence he has encountered.  The disastrous situation becomes even worse as it turns out the dead man is the son of the leader of one of the drug gangs.  Now Bryn and his entire family are in the sights of the gang as the leader is determined to get revenge.

DI Braddick leads the Liverpool Major Investigation Team.  They are investigating the conflict between the two gangs and the murders that have occurred when the incident with Bryn happens.  Now they must also try to protect him and his family while unraveling the intricacies of the drug rivalry and the betrayals and brutality their war brings to them and the city itself.

Conrad Jones has written a gritty police procedural that is not for the faint-hearted.  He portrays the inhumanity found in the drug world in which any man's life is considered fodder in an intricate game of betrayal and torture as each group attempts to reign supreme.  Jones's own life has been affected by the violence of organized groups and his experiences play out in his books.  The betrayals and violence come fast and hard, taking the reader on a heartstopping tour of man's inhumanity when the respect for life has disappeared.  This book is recommended for mystery readers.

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