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Review of BLOQ by Alan Jones

See full issue for 2017 03-20
by Chantelle Atkins

The Rundown

Bloq is an accomplished crime thriller, which pits an unlikely pair of heroes against a particularly vile enemy. The first chapter sets up the tone and style perfectly, with a gang of thugs burying an unknown girl on a building site. You know you are in for a dark ride when the first chapter starts with such a brutal scene.

Bloq is the name of an up and coming London nightclub, run by smooth Albanian businessman Aleksander. Bill Ingram, devoted father and grieving widower, is excited that his only daughter Carol is on her way home to Glasgow for Christmas. He arrives at the station to meet her, but she never turns up. Alarmed, Bill ends up driving all the way to London to search for her. The police are not interested as twenty-five-year-old Carol had recently been experimenting with drugs. In the present day, Bill tries to piece together the last movements of his missing daughter and in the process finds out how badly her life had been unravelling. The novel also jumps back in time and reveals what actually happened to Carol before she went missing. Through Carol’s viewpoint, we learn how she became involved with the enigmatic Aleksander. Meanwhile, Bill is approached by Anna, the manageress of Bloq, who reveals that she is actually working undercover there in order to find out what happened to her missing sister Susie, who was also mixed up with Aleksander.

Bloq is full of nail-biting moments of tension, such as the moment when Bill discovers Carol’s fate and attempts to rescue her. It’s hard to go into the story too much for fear of spoiling it, so I will just say that what happens next is dramatic and explosive for all involved. One moment you sag with relief, duped into believing everything is going to work out, only to have the next scene rip this certainty away from you. You can’t help but be drawn into Bill’s nightmare, and the story has you wondering what lengths you would go to in order to save your child.

The story then takes a different turn, which involved the believability becoming stretched somewhat. Bill and Anna become ever more industrious in their obsession with obtaining justice for Carol and Susie. What put me off at times, were the long sections of narrative where certain procedures and plans, technical or otherwise are explained to the reader. However, I was attached to the characters of Anna and Bill, wanted them to succeed, and dearly wanted to see the bad guys get what they deserved. I was still turning the pages at a steady pace.

Another issue for me was the later explanation offered for Aleksander’s behaviour towards women, which again, didn’t quite convince me. However, he was a brilliantly drawn antagonist, and the dialogue and interaction between characters in this book are believable and realistic. The other let down for me was the ending. In some ways, it worked, and again, I can’t say much in case I spoil it, but I was really expecting a final showdown between Aleksander and Bill face to face, and that wasn’t quite how it panned out.

At times the author explains things too much and for too long, but everything else in this novel works well. The characters are real, the storyline hugely emotive, the dialogue is perfect and the atmosphere is suitably bleak, as well as genuinely tense and dramatic. There is everything here a solid crime thriller needs, so I don’t think fans of the genre will be at all disappointed.


The Recommendation

Bloq is an accomplished crime thriller, which pits an unlikely pair of heroes against a particularly vile enemy. Bill Ingram, devoted father and grieving widower, is excited that his only daughter Carol is on her way home to Glasgow for Christmas. He arrives at the station to meet her, but she never turns up. With the police uninterested, Bill is forced to turn detective and drive down to London to try to piece together Carols’ last movements. He soon discovers a link between his daughter and Aleksander, the owner of Bloq, an up and coming London nightclub. What lengths will an ordinary father go to in order to rescue his daughter?


The Rating Reviewer Rating: 4 Stars

4 Stars (out of 5): Recommended. For the right audience, this book is a great read. It can hold its own against any traditionally published novel in its genre.

The Pros & Cons

Pros: Characterization, Dialogue, Page Turner, Prose, Strong World-Building
Cons: Slow in Places, Suspension of Disbelief

The Links

More about Bloq on UBR

The Reviewer

Chantelle Atkins

Chantelle Atkins is a mother of four from Dorset, England. She is addicted to both music and books and is currently on a mission to become as self-sufficient as possible. She has self-published four novels and has just released her first short story collection. She writes for both the YA and adult genres. When she’s not writing books, she’s busy running her writing business Chasing Driftwood, which delivers creative writing clubs and workshops to local children and adults. She also writes regular articles about writing for Author’s Publish magazine, as well as short pieces for a local parenting magazine.

 

Visit Chantelle Atkins‘s website.

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