Publisher: Book Guild Ltd
Publication Date: 24th Sept 2015
A copy of The Corruption of Chastity was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author Frank Westworth in exchange for an honest review. This is said review.
Third book of Frank Westworth’s in a week. All loosely connected using the same “hero”, JJ Stoner. I read two short stories featuring Mr Stoner, the reviews of which you can read here. This one is a full novel featuring the same character. I was expecting more of the same. I did get it, but I was left wanting a little more of the action stuff and a little bit less of the talking stuff.
Chastity is one half of “The Killing Sisters”. She is in the middle of a run of hits that are all part of the same “contract”. Something isn’t right though. Each time she completes her mission, she very nearly gets caught. Someone knows what, where and when she is going to do her job and for some reason is trying to get her “taken out”.
The mysterious people in the background who hired the Killing Sisters want someone to help find out what is going on and how to stop it. In their eyes there is only one person who can do this. JJ Stoner. Only problem is, no one knows where he is.
Stoner is enjoying himself on a round the world cruise. A cruise where he thought he would be invisible and get away from all his troubles. How wrong he was. His troubles are just about to begin all over again.
So Frank Westworth amazed me with his short stories using the Stoner character. I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into this one to read more of his adventures and reacquaint myself with the man that could eat any other “action hero” you have read about before for breakfast. This book is set some ten years later and Stoner still has the moves. The only problem I had is that he can talk a hell of a lot as well.
Characters wise in this little jaunt. You obviously have JJ Stoner. Once in the army, he had to leave under “circumstances” and was hired by some secret government person basically as a hired assassin. I said after reading the short stories he was as hard as hard could be. He still is. He has it all. Wit, charm, seemingly unlimited access to anything he desires and one of the most effective killers the world has seen. We have Chastity, one half of the Killing Sisters and the main one in this story. She is the hired assassin that keeps getting into trouble. A young, beautiful girl, she also has an uncanny knack for being pretty effective in the killing department. Her sisters Charity and Charm are her backup back in the operations department but take a back seat in this one. Stoner’s old friend Shard is back but again takes more of a back seat in this one.
Villains wise? There are tons of them form evil goths back in England who seem to be able to find anyone in the world at any time to mysterious Israelis who seem to pop up all over the place offering the hand of friendship with one hand while the other is behind their back holding a knife. Lastly, there is Blesses. A mysterious woman from Stoner’s past that has an almost hypnotic hold over any man that is stupid enough to look her in the eye.
The plot is simple. Chastity has a number of “hits” to do. Someone that shouldn’t know her plans obviously does. Her employers want the interference stopped and bring Stoner in to help. It’s like any number of thrillers out there. It’s like any number of James Bond films you might have watched. In fact it’s like any sort of hitman, espionage or films that claim the mission might be a bit impossible, that you may have watched. The one thing they don’t have though is Stoner.
Frank Westworth has written a character here that is instantly likeable. Let’s make no bones about it, in many respects he is the baddie in the books. He is a trained killer who is out for hire and seems to have absolutely no remorse or even a flicker of emotion in his psyche when it comes to his work. He will kill and not lose one seconds sleep over it. But he’s brilliant. I cannot emphasise enough how much I like this character. In many ways I wish Frank Westworth had been born fifty years earlier (sorry Frank) because I honestly think if he had been then kids these days would be playing outside fighting over who was going to be JJ Stoner instead of James Bond.
There is a lot of action in this book. A lot of the sort of planning and covering of tracks and bloodshed and more covering of your tracks like there normally is in some of the above mentioned films. The one thing it lacks, and trust me this is a big positive for me, is the gadgetry. There are no exploding handbags, no pens that shoot poisoned arrows, no watches that turn into zip wires that let you watch Netflix as you plummet off the top of a two thousand foot high building. There are, however, guns. Big guns and little guns, oh and knives and even a catapult. What does this prove I hear you ask? Simple – you don’t need all the other stuff to write a good thriller. That’s exactly what this is. A really good thriller.
But hold up. Can I be negative for a minute? Two things spoilt this book for me. Not to the point of wanting to put it down and not pick it up again but it did make it drag a bit for me. Dialogue. Way to much dialogue. When it is pertinent to the story it can be as long as it needs to be because Stoner is witty and as well as being serious, there is a certain dark humour throughout that does make you chuckle. But when we first meet Stoner he is on a cruise ship. What is there to do on a cruise ship but talk? Talk some more? Then some more? Yes, Stoner talks a lot on the cruise ship and it really dragged for me and slowed things down a lot. Most of the action didn’t get started until about seventy percent in and that disappointed me a bit. The other thing that spoilt it for me? People who read my reviews regularly will at this point be screaming “SEX”! They would be right. Absolutely no need for this amount of sex in a thriller. Stoner is a fantastic killer. Let him kill people not, well, you know.
To summarise: It’s JJ Stoner. If you have read about him before then you will probably read this anyway. If you haven’t, then pick it up. You will enjoy it. It is a really good thriller with some clever twists and turns. This is advertised as book two in the Killing Sisters series but also advertised as a stand-alone novel. I would however read book one first. I didn’t and there were a few things that confused me at times. I will be picking up book one shortly though cause I want answers!
★★★★ loses one for too much dialogue.
★★★★ and again.
If you would like to help support Confessions of a Reviewer then please consider using the links below to buy The Corruption of Chastity or any other books from Frank or indeed anything at all from Amazon. This not only supports me but also lets me know how many people actually like to buy books after reading my reviews.
The solitary female sniper squints against the scorching desert sun. Takes the shot. Men die.
The solitary female assassin slashes her target's artery. Fades into the Alpine forest. Men die.
The betrayed covert operative silences his sadness with the howl of blues music and carnal recreation.
What will happen when Chastity, the ice-cold contract killer, encounters underworld investigator JJ Stoner?
Frank Westworth shares several characteristics with his literary anti-hero, JJ Stoner: they both play mean blues guitar and ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Unlike Stoner, Frank hasn't deliberately killed anyone. Instead, Frank edits a monthly classic motorcycle magazine (see RealClassic.co.uk) and has written extensively for the UK motoring press.
Frank's 'Killing Sisters' series starts with 'A Last Act Of Charity' and continues in 'The Corruption Of Chastity'. However, you can start with any of the books in the series; they're written to be enjoyed if you come in halfway through...
You can also meet key characters from the Killing Sisters series in the JJ Stoner short stories, which begin with First Contract.
Please note; the Stoner stories and Killing Sisters series are intended for an adult audience. They're violent and explicit and contain the occasional intellectual challenge.
And for more about Frank, visit his site or find him on social media: