Wednesday 14 October 2015

REVIEW: William Malmborg - Blind Eye

Genre: Thriller
Publisher: Darker Dreams Media
Publication Date: 19th May 2015
Pages: 616


A copy of Blind Eye was sent to Confessions of a Reviewer by the author William Malmborg in exchange for an honest review. This is said review. This book is published by Darker Dreams Media.

The above is sort of true. I noticed one day someone had a copy of this and happened to comment on it being a nice book. A week later a signed hardback copy arrived in the post courtesy of Mr Malmborg. I was over the moon with it so decided to give it the full Confessions treatment.

I have read a few things by William Malmborg in the past and due to those experiences, settled myself down for a brutal and terrifying journey. By the way if you get this book, it is bigger than a brick!

Alan Miller is at a turning point in his life. Recently discharged from the army, he is living back at his mums with no job and just college classes for something to do. Life is mundane.

Enter Stacey. An old flame from years ago. Stacey is a freelance reporter and emails Alan out of the blue after hearing he was back in town.

They get together for drinks and soon slip into the familiarity they had years ago. Circumstances bring them even closer and force Alan into the middle of an investigation Stacey is doing into a local real estate company after she becomes suspicious the business is a front for a prostitution ring.

Alan soon wishes he had never opened the email from Stacey as the investigation takes some nasty turns. After offering to pose as a client to get “inside” info, Alan and Stacey soon find themselves embroiled in the brutal world of vice and uncover some nasty, unexpected surprises.

OK, where to start with this one. If you have ever read Mr Malmborg’s stuff like Jimmy and Text Message, you will know that he writes horror which at times can be brutal to the extreme, fast paced and blood and guts galore. I was expecting the same with Blind Eye. What we have here though is nothing like what has come before. This is essentially a thriller. It has none of the scares of his previous works. You still have plenty of the blood and guts and some scenes that will turn your stomach just as effectively but I missed the horror element.

That being said, if this is a conscious new direction that Mr Malmborg is intending to take, he certainly has a flair for it.

There is a wide range and big mix of characters in this story. Alan Miller himself has a lot of similarities with William Malmborg – he has an illness which can be very debilitating at times and he loves drinking the finest of teas. Now if you are like me you will always have a picture in your mind of what a character looks like when you read a book? Alan Miller looked exactly like William Malmborg as I read this. Now that wasn’t off putting in any way but there are certain scenes where things happen to Alan and I found it a bit “weird” to be imagining them happening to William. He is a pretty unassuming person in the book. He is ex Special Forces so has all the qualities of a hero but at the same time is quite timid and set in his ways so it is surprising to see him involved in some of the scenarios. He pulls them off very well though and proves to be a very enjoyable and likeable person. Stacey is just so driven in her career you would think she wore blinkers all the time. She can be quite ruthless but at the same time also timid. Whereas Alan becomes stronger, she seems to become weaker although she has good reason to.

A couple called Kristi and Sam Woodman are the main “villains” if you like. They are horrible. They are gross. They run the prostitution ring and are just vile. Especially Kristi. Sam’s brother Riley is also involved but more out of circumstance than a desire to be. You can’t help but feel sorry for him in a way. Amanda is one of the prostitutes. Again she is a victim of circumstance more than desire and again you can’t help but like her.

Obviously, giving the nature of the business involved, there are a host of other characters that I can’t really get across to you just how much I hated them. They are the worst of the worst. Scum that you would buy a ticket to watch being taken out by the most painful and slow methods possible. There are what I would call some upsetting scenes in the book that may not be for everyone but thankfully they are not over stated and gone into in excruciating detail. If I have a complaint about the book it’s about the amount of sex in it. Now I understand the book is about prostitution so therefore it is part and parcel of the lifestyle but it’s just not for me. I have never been a fan of sex in books.

Putting that negative aside, this is a cracking thriller. I was intrigued right from the very first page to see if Mr Malmborg could pull it off. After finishing it I have to say he has more than done that. He has proved just how versatile his writing skills are. This is quite honestly up there with some of the best I have read from dedicated thriller writers. When it comes from someone who has cut his teeth in the horror genre, it is quite a change of style but if you picked this up as the first book you have read by him, you would think he had written thrillers all his life.

It also showed a certain amount of maturity. William Malmborg is a young lad but this reads like a book that has been written by someone who has been in the game much much longer. The pacing is perfect. Each scene is believable.

There are no big elaborate chases, explosions or people falling from the top of skyscrapers and walking away. If someone gets kicked, something breaks and it bloody hurts. It doesn’t need all that blockbuster stuff. It reads like a lifestyle that none of us are familiar with but one that seems very real and very true.

To summarise: Don’t expect the horror you normally get in a Malmborg book. Do expect a thriller of the highest quality with thrills and spills and twists and turns galore. Brutal and harrowing at times with plenty of naughty bits this develops into a thriller that, if I read things right, is introducing Alan Miller as a recurring character. I, for one, am very pleased at that and look forward to reading more of his adventures.

General rating:

★★★★★ Excellent thriller that pulls no punches. Recommended.

Horror rating:

★★★★ Plenty of thrills without going overboard.

You can buy Blind Eye here:

Book Synopsis:

He survived two wars and the onset of a horrific disease, only to find his life threatened back at home!

Alan Miller is adrift. At thirty years old, he is living in the basement at his mother’s house, jobless, taking classes at a local community college, his promising military career cut short by the sudden onset of an autoimmune disease that often leaves him racked with pain and stuck in the bathroom. And then one morning an email arrives that changes everything, one that he initially believes to be spam and nearly deletes.

“Long Time No Talk . . .”

Though she can’t stand clich├ęs, Stacy Collins is the poster child for the ruthless female reporter who will do anything to get the scoop on a story. Unfortunately, this ruthlessness has done little in establishing her position as a journalist, and, instead, has simply isolated her from being able to obtain friends and contacts within her career field. And then one day she discovers an old ‘no strings attached’ sexual partner from five years earlier is back in town, one that she has always had feelings for and would like to see again.

“Back off . . .”

Initially, Stacy had no plans to bring Alan into her freelance investigation of the local real estate agency that she believes to be a front for a suburban prostitution ring, but following the attack he thwarts as the two enter her apartment, she has no choice. And, honestly, his ability to pose as a customer and hire one of the real estate girls to service him might provide the break her story needs. That is, if their deception goes unnoticed . . .

William Malmborg is the author of five novels, Jimmy, Text Message, Nikki’s Secret, Dark Harvest, and Blind Eye, as well as the short story collection Scraping the Bone: Ten Dark Tales. Future works will include Santa Took Them, Crystal Creek, and A Taste of Pain. When not writing, William spends time reading, doing puzzles, planting peach trees and looking for ghosts in the 100-year-old farmhouse where he lives in with his brother Tom and their two cats Toby and Truman.

And for more about William, visit his site or find him on social media:

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