Review: It's Only Death by Lee Thompson

its_only_deathAbout It's Only Death

Six years ago James blew town after killing his cop-father in a bank job gone bad. When his sister informs him that their mother’s health is fading fast, he returns home, wanting to make peace with her before she passes.

But James quickly finds there is little peace left for him at his childhood home.

His father’s old partner has been biding his time, waiting for a chance at retribution, and finally discovers James is back. But he’s only one of the many shady characters James must face if he is to survive the next few days.

Not only must James survive his return, he must also face the devastation he left behind, the shattered pieces of what remained of his life before he was forced to run.

Now his days on the run are over.

Upon the edge of reckoning, James’s past comes full circle to the final showdown with his personal demons and the devils that are closing in.

It's Only Death is an explosive, gritty tale of urban crime and one man’s descent into the nightmares in the darkest recesses of our society.

About the Author

Lee Thompson is the author of the Suspense novels A BEAUTIFUL MADNESS (August 2014), IT'S ONLY DEATH (January 2015), and WITH FURY IN HAND (May 2015). The dominating threads weaved throughout his work are love, loss, and learning how to live again. A firm believer in the enduring power of the human spirit, Lee believes that stories, no matter their format, set us on the path of transformation. He is represented by the extraordinary Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary. Visit Lee's website to discover more:

My Thoughts

I wasn't completely sold on It's Only Death, Lee Thompson's foray into the crime genre for dark fiction publisher DarkFuse. My main stumbling block was what I couldn't help but see as a flawed premise.

So, here's the scoop - Once upon a time, James was a stupid teenager who hated his father, a cop. He robbed a bank and his father was one of the first responders, and James killed him and took some potshots at father's partner, Don Gray. This incident put him on the lam and he spent ten years on the run. Now, his mother is on death's door and he's come back to town at his sister's behest.

And the way this is executed was my central problem with the book. James makes his return known pretty quickly by getting into a clash with a biker gang in the middle of a strip club where his father's former partner, Don Gray, pulls a side job for a local mob boss. This is also where pretty much everyone James knows, outside of his mother, works or hangs out. It doesn't take long for seemingly every single person in Florida to know that James, a murderer on the run, is back in town to visit his dying mother. Gray, though, doesn't arrest James because he wants to kill him instead, as soon as James' mother passes.

But, surely there must be other police in Florida who would be willing to arrest this cop-killer who is routinely seen coming and going from his mother's house and raising hell all around the neighborhood? And after getting into a second clash with the biker's at his sister's trailer park, which leads him to killing another biker and adding hit-and-run to his growing list of felonies, he actually drives back to the trailer park, now swarming with cops, with a stolen gun where his whole plan is to kill more bikers.

So, yeah...compounding the unlikely event that Florida cops would just allow a cop-killer to wander around freely, James is also pretty frigging stupid. Low-key isn't his specialty, and he's not much of a thinker. When his sister is kidnapped, his big plan is to set fire to building she might be in. I, mean, really?

This book was just too much of a frustrating mess for me, and stacked with implausibilities galore. Typically, it doesn't take too long for criminals as stupid as James to get caught, but somehow he survived on the run for 10 years. I'm having a hard time buying that. And this book certainly doesn't hold a candle to other crime thrillers, like Elmore Leonard, James Ellroy, Duane Swierczynski, or Charlie Huston. Despite a fairly well-done climax, the resolution to these tangled threads of It's Only Death fail to make up for a muddled story.

Buy It's Only Death At Amazon

Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks is the author of the science fiction novels Convergence, an Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2013 Quarter-Finalist, and Emergence. His work has appeared in several anthologies, and he has written for the websites Graphic Novel Reporter and Audiobook Reviewer. In between compulsively buying books and adding titles that he does not have time for to his Netflix queue, he is hard at work on his next story.

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