Review published on April 8, 2016.
Joe, the narrator of this story, was a former soldier in the British Army who saw service in the Falklands War and now suffers episodes of post-traumatic stress. These manifest themselves in recurrent, vivid and disturbing dreams about a young Argentine soldier he killed during the conflict. No stranger to violence, both in the boxing ring and as a hired hit-man in the shady, criminal world of gangs in London’s East End, his violence now has a more personal focus. Following the murder of his girlfriend Brenda, he is intent on seeking revenge. She was a prostitute who had been killed when she had attempted to protect young girls who had been forced to appear in illicit, underage-sex videos. He is determined to track down and kill her murderer but who can he trust when, not only is he faced with having to contend with the conflicting interests of rival gangs, but also with corrupt police officers.
This story is full of violence and brutality from page one and at times I found the graphic descriptions very uncomfortable and disturbing to read. For the most part I didn’t find any redeeming features in the characters, although there were times when I found myself warming towards Joe because I felt that he would have liked to be living a different, less violent life. I also liked his relationship with Browne, an old friend who could only face life when drunk, but who cared for Joe and looked after him, nursing him back to health when he was wounded. I think the story, with its many twists and turns, is well-plotted and it maintained an increasingly menacing momentum. However, it was never an easy read and is not a book I would ever have chosen.
This is the third book in a trilogy, preceded by To Die For and To Kill For, and I found it difficult at times to follow the plot because I had to keep on trying to work out which characters belonged to which gang-factions, as well as which police officers were corrupt and which could be trusted! For anyone who enjoys this genre I think that it would probably be better to read the first two books before starting on this one.
To Fight For by Phillip Hunter
Head of Zeus hbk Nov 2015