For Everything a Reason by Paul Cave

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For Everything a Reason by Paul Cave

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A competent thriller set in America, with an injured boxer struggling to comprehend just how dangerous a harmless medical mistake could be to his life and his family.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: April 2010
Publisher: 2QT Limited
ISBN: 978-0956236890

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Meet Joseph Ruebins. He is one second away from a very satisfying climax to his boxing career, and winding up for his ultimate punch, when he freezes, and suffers a stroke, and ends up in hospital. Overnight someone kills the elderly man in the next bed. Meanwhile, a policeman hunts down the man who killed his son. Where are the connecting links - and how could the fact that Joseph was put in the wrong ward due to a mishap with the forms imperil the rest of his close-knit family?

This is a very competent thriller, set in New York, by this British author, who had previously offered darker genre titles in the horror and action fields. It sees him break away from the more florid and overlong books for a much tauter, sharper fiction, and all that is to the credit of this title.

It's not ideal, however. There are cliches aplenty - luckily some are evident through their absence. Joseph really didn't need to be a boxer, as his retiring sportsman physique and mentality do not really offer anything to the embattled, endangered Everyman hero he might have normally been. But it's all to the good when we drop the boxing frame of reference for the drama to come.

If anything the bigger missed opportunity comes with the policeman, Carter. A cop willing to shoot someone after his own shadowy, off-duty investigations is all well and good, but after the highly dramatic events in his storyline, he is allowed to drop everything that that should give his character and get straight into the mindset of a detective. His long shifts and frustration should have shown in his involvement with Joseph's plight.

Said plight does contain a dose of circumstance and the unlikely, but I think that by the time of the end the reader will be more than satisfied. The victim of the bed next door needs sorting by all, and that's just the beginning of this thriller/procedural that strikes me as accurate, and astute. It'll strike many as entertaining as well, and whether this is the start of a second writing career for Mr Cave, or yet another genre he attacks with some blood, some gusto - and here his greatest success - remains to be seen.

I must thank the author for sending me a review copy.

The almost matter-of-fact attitude to threat, violence and bad language made me think of Shaun Hutson. You might also enjoy Punching Judy by David James as a thriller with more boxing.

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