Monday, 1 September 2014

Out of Bounds: 2 New Reviews

By Rowena Hoseason at MurderMayhemandMore

Out Of Bounds: a first novel packed with potential
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 – in this case 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, the kinda guy whose knife never takes ‘no’ for an answer and from whom you really shouldn’t ever, never, not even when threatened with redundancy, poverty and domestic strife, accept $20,000 in cash. 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. He turns out to be a tougher character than first appearances suggest. Initially Kyle-the-patsy is a bit of a whiner, complaining about his long hours, and soppily doting on his perfecto familio, harking back to his days in psychotherapy for anxiety attacks as a teenager. As the situation goes from awful to catastrophic, and he endures emotional angst, physical violence and cold-blooded killings at first hand, so Kyle discovers hidden resources, a tougher inner self. There’s a particularly compelling scene where he digs deep to convince himself to man up, to reach for the next threshold, to push himself past his previous limits.

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 and was wonderfully good at stupidly putting herself and her kids at risk. She also switched from shrill squawking to devoted loving in a single sentence: from yelling to smooching in an instant. 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.

Simon Duke has real potential as a writer: this is a neat plot packed with ongoing action and a strong narrative thread. Out Of Bounds gives us glimmers of what the author can do: f’rinstance, on a midnight drive, the hero starts seeing the tail-lights of cars on the freeway as the red, glaring eyes of the demons that beset him. Powerful stuff. Hopefully Duke will develop more of this kind of style in his next novel.


Reviewed by Rowena Hoseason



By Louise Hunter at Crime Book Club

Out of Bounds by Simon Duke - Review

Book Blerb – Framed for murder and trapped in a conspiracy set in motion by a narcotics trafficking network, a cash-strapped man soon regrets accepting an easy and well-paid job. It was simply too good to be true. Kyle Hunt, an over-anxious thirty-three-year-old security equipment installer, living in Charleston, South Carolina, with his girlfriend Pilar Tellez and their two daughters, is having difficulty making ends meet. When local businessman Hector Ramirez and his tough associate Ray Dupree call on him for an off-the-record installation of a surveillance system and offer twenty thousand dollars in compensation, Hunt recklessly carries out the task. In the process he inadvertently sees private information, which ultimately backfires on him as a cargo facility is soon after robbed and a homicide is committed. Relentlessly looking for the killer of the cargo facility employee, veteran homicide detective Jacob Bornholm has earmarked Hunt as his prime suspect. And, to make matters worse, Dupree also reckons Hunt is responsible for the heist.

Review – I really enjoyed ‘Out Of Bounds’, a normal sort of guy gets mixed up in a felonious underworld. I love is fast pace and detailed plot.

It is a book you will want to read in one go!

When Kyle Hunt needs some money he accepts a job from a local businessman, he regrets this when everything starts to fall apart around him and his family are in danger. When Kyle is set up to take the fall for murder and is also in the frame for other crimes he needs to start his own enquiry.
The many different characters are well written and make ‘Out Of Bounds’ an exciting read, from the cop that has to cross the line to the many members of the underworld.

Overall score: 4 out of 5