February 2015

Michael J. Malone - Beyond the Rage

"Every once in a while, a book comes along and redefines the term unputdownable. ‘Beyond the Rage’ is one of them."

Even though he's a successful criminal, Glasgow villain Kenny O'Neill is angry. Not only has his high-class prostitute girlfriend just been attacked, but his father is reaching out to him from the past despite abandoning Kenny as a child after his mother's suicide.

Kenny is now on a dual mission to hunt down his girl's attacker and find out the truth about his father... but instead he unravels disturbing family secrets and finds that revenge is not always sweet.

Every once in a while, a book comes along and redefines the term unputdownable. 'Beyond the Rage' is one of them. I read it in less than two days despite having all the usual work / life / family commitments.

Kenny O'Neill is a kind of anti-hero, but he is depicted in such a clever way I was on his side from page one. With Alexis, Callum, Dmitri and Vi he has a great supporting cast, but Malone never lets any of them steal the limelight. Ray McBain puts in a couple of welcome appearances but it is most definitely the Kenny O'Neill show.

The plotting is sublime as Kenny's once perfect life descends into chaos. Each page has revelations or events driving the story towards a furious conclusion. As I turned the pages, I tried to outguess the author and failed miserably such is the deftness of his scheming.

The prose is faultless throughout and I loved the shots of dark humour injected into the narrative. If I had to voice one criticism it is that I think Malone may have painted himself into a corner by turning a side character into a more commanding lead than the mercurial Ray McBain.

Reviewed by: G.S.

CrimeSquad Rating:

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