122 Rules My Rating:
Published by: Pandamoon Publishing on April 5, 2016
Genres: Adult, Contemporary
Series: 122 Rules,
Also by this author:
Disclosure: I was invited by the publisher to read this title in exchange for my honest and unbiased review. I received no monetary compensation, and all comments are subjective and mine alone.
In his black and white world, Sam Bradford--former Marine turned government assassin--finally sees a speck of grey. He has always followed orders without question, but his latest assignment threatens to disrupt the precision of his universe and may either sever or redeem his last remaining sliver of humanity.
Using his mastery of the 122 Rules of Psychology, Sam hunts down everyone The Agency sends him to find and eliminates them. Just as he has his rifle scope focused on his latest victim, Monica Sable, a SoCal girl entangled with the mob, his long-dormant conscience reappears for a final performance...one last ditch effort to save the sinking ship of Sam’s soul. He’s killed innocents before, but tarries on pulling the trigger this time.
When Monica escapes his crosshairs and fumbles her way across the country in a pathetic attempt to elude capture, Sam gives chase. But he’s not the only one after her. Ruthless henchmen, hired by the mob, froth like bloodhounds and nip at Monica’s heels. Now Sam is faced with a choice: turn his back on the rules and jeopardize his way of life by helping her or join the pack and rip her to shreds.
So, I was asked to review a book. Not a total surprise since I sometimes do that. But not just any book… one far outside my “normal” comfort zone. But not too far. I do love the Jack Reacher series by Lee Child, so when I was asked to read 122 Rules by Deek Rhew—his debut mystery-suspense-thriller novel—I was quick to say yes.
And, you know what? I was quick to fall in love with the book too.
Deek Rhew has a unique voice that I found very easy to read. The words flowed into each other nicely, like puzzle pieces. It made reading almost effortless. And his vivid imagery kept me right in the story with the characters.
“Tyron wrapped his hand around Sam’s throat. The man’s vise grip squeezed until black roses encroached on the periphery of Sam’s vision, and his heart pounded in a desperate attempt to force blood past the blockage.”
Add in a dash of humor, and 122 Rules has the recipe for success. More than once I laughed at something the characters did, thought, or said. Often reading it aloud to anyone who’d sit still and listen.
But Tom couldn’t convincingly pretend to be a pancake if a piano fell on him.
Character development is on point. They are flawed (Sam will be everyone’s favorite assassin). And while the events may not be something readers can relate to (not that this is a bad thing), the characters are relatable. Except maybe Chet, Sam’s conscious. Yes, Sam named his “gut-instinct” Chet, which makes me believe that men will name anything. And once it’s named, they talk to it: “No, I’m not talking to myself. I’m talking to Chet!”
For the record: I loved Chet.
Monica kind of gets the shaft in the book; okay, she does get it. But she’s strong. She’s a fighter—give the girl a Louisville Slugger and she will come out swinging! Most importantly, she’s a survivor. But when she View Spoiler »told Peter who she was… breaking her undercover, witness protection alias… and told him what she’d seen and heard in the library? Well, I wanted to smack her upside the head. As my grandmother would say: what a dumb bunny. « Hide Spoiler
Secondary characters were awesome. If you read my blog even a little bit, you know what I’m going to say… I sometimes love secondary characters as much as the lead. And I did have my favorites (Crew Cut—no, I’m not going to explain. Read the book, I say!)
Rhew’s mechanics were spot on. The writing was solid. The story line was interesting—I loved the 122 rules of psychology that Sam used when making decisions. It was a unique angle.
122 Rules reads like a book from a seasoned pro, not a debut novel. I think Rhew has the beginning of an excellent series… and career, because I think we’ll be seeing his name around the writing community for a long time.
Bottom line: I highly recommend. Buy the book.