Overall rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
“You don’t want to go to war with Billy McGinty. You’ll never win. Never, in a million years.”
Another great book from the team at Boomslang Books! The whole journey was so intense, with questions constantly running through your mind from start to finish – just what I love from a book of this genre! The synopsis for this book was brilliant, and I just had to take part in the tour. I’m so happy to share my review on this blog blitz – make sure you check out all the other wonderful bloggers as they share their own thoughts!
Cain Bell thought he had closure over his daughter’s hit and run death after Ted Blake confessed he was behind the wheel just before he died.
Fast forward twenty years and Cain’s fiancée claims the driver was lying. Before she can say more, a savage attack leaves her in a coma fighting for her life. To make sense of the assault, Cain must discover why four friends swore blind to never reveal the tragic truth about the circumstances surrounding the killing of his daughter.
He can only succeed if he persuades Manchester’s most terrifying gangster to talk. But Billy McGinty is in no mood to break his own wall of silence.
Somehow Cain must convince him to spill the beans, even if it means putting his own life on the line.
The way the author began this book was enough to spark anyone’s curiosity. Sentences are quick and sharp, almost effortlessly building up a sense of mystery and suspense without really having to describe much! We learn more about Cain and his family life, and just who the woman he wants to marry, April, really is. The information we learn here really gets the story off to a good start and I already found myself asking questions about what important things April needed to get of her chest. Who is she? Would Cain even want to know her after he finds out why she ‘isn’t a nice person’? We see danger, something that could be very significant later down the line, but it was still very early days to make any connections. A very intriguing opening which made me keen to read more and piece together different bits of information!
There was one particular incident quite early on that was very unexpected, and caused Cain to panic and made me nervous for what was to come. If it wasn’t for a new character we meet, Nick, the story would have played out very differently indeed! I liked the characters we met so far, and already, they each had their own individual role to play to make the story as gripping as it was. They all seemed to fit together well and even though there was still a sense of mystery to some of them, I found them to be characters we could follow and unravel as time went on. As April’s life hangs in the balance, police officers ask to speak with Cain – could there be much more to the previous attack than we initially thought? There was never a dull moment so far and I was loving it!
I was surprised to feel a little bit emotional as we get updates on April’s progress, and I was forced to think of how Cain would cope if he lost her, or how their life could be if she made a full recovery. I couldn’t help thinking of how close she was to disclosing some important information – would Cain ever get to hear what it was she was so desperate to tell him after he proposed? Her path to recovery would be slow, so if Cain really wanted to find out what April had to say, he’d have to find another way to do it. Even so early into the book, I felt so deeply involved in everything that was going on, and I always think this is such a great talent from an author. The ability to transport a reader to any place or any scene is just phenomenal, and that was exactly what happened here. The talent just seemed to multiply!
“You might not love me as much, once you know the truth. You deserve better than my lies.”
As Cain learns the name of his attackers, he can make a start on putting some information together to find some answers. This is where I really started to enjoy the journey – any problem solving and detective work in a book and I’m right there! The stories we hear about Ted Blake were some of my favourite parts of the book so far, especially after reading the synopsis. Was he really the guy behind the wheel at the time Cain’s daughter died? With such a delicate subject, it was crucial he got this information right, and I couldn’t wait to see where the story would go and to fathom out the truth. This was a strong start to the book which really sets the middle of the story up well. Would Cain ever know the truth? Would April ever wake up from her coma? If she did, would she even remember what she needed to tell him? Excitement was certainly building!
An update from the doctor in charge of April brings worse news and it’s looking more and more unlikely that she’ll make a full recovery. However, Cain seems to work hard behind the scenes to to get the information he needs. One really nice and unusual touch that I loved in the book was just how Cain communicates with his dead daughter – Little Miss Red Dress shows up at random points of the story and asks Cain questions about her death and why he didn’t help her when the accident happened. I wondered if this was some kind of coping mechanism for Cain, and maybe it helped him to process things or work out answers or conclusions to everything going round in his head. His explanation of how she died was so traumatic and emotional for the reader to digest, but so powerful too.
I was taken aback at the lengths April’s ex husband was willing to go to to make sure she made a full recovery. He reserved a place for her at one of the top injury clinics in Southern California, which would mean a big move for both herself and Cain who currently reside in Manchester. The decision was tough for him; should he leave his whole life behind, including the restaurant he and April had poured their lives into, just on the off chance that she’d recover? It was a tough thing to read and we’re left imagining ourselves in this situation, something no one on this earth would ever want to be in. There was a good amount of emotion in the book which I’m sure will make readers even more attached to the characters we meet. The plot was getting deeper and I knew there would just be more excitement to come.
Cain’s unwanted involvement with a Manchester gang could be out of his hair if he made the move to California, but was it the right thing to do with so much left uncovered? He needed the truth about what happened on the night of his daughter’s death, and even with so much danger in front of him, he wasn’t going to let it go without a fight. Even with so much going on for him and just how unlucky he seemed to be, I admired his bravery and determination to get what he wanted – learning how to fight and talking to people who knew things definitely helped. My curiosity and excitement continued to build, and I became so involved in Cain’s journey. I was loving Nick’s character at this point and was grateful for just how helpful he was being. Would it be enough? Conversations we hear are really well thought through and build up the story incredibly well.
“Think of the worst possible pain you could ever have and then double it again and again. Mark my words they don’t do half measure when they want something. Nothing or nobody gets in their way.”
I enjoyed how so many scenes help Cain and the reader put two and two together, but it proves difficult to get the right people to talk or to spill the beans about what happened on the night of his daughter’s death. Throughout the middle of the book, the reader is plunged into a journey with so many dangerous and unexpected turns that really make the story what it is. I found myself feeling so sorry for Cain and his immense confusion at the world at times, but also happy that he was working his way to a conclusion he may be able to get closure from. However, it would come at a price. Such an addictive chunk to the story, and I was looking forward to seeing how the author wrote the finale! Would Cain ever find out what he needs to know? Would the danger and uncertainly ever subside?
Cain soon learns some important information about Ted Blake after a deep conversation with Billy McGinty’s his wife, Violet. Billy was the only person who would tell him the truth, but trying to get the truth out of him would be a task in itself. I didn’t know exactly how he’d manage this, but I sensed a great ending coming up with some intense scenes (or so I hoped!) His first task was to find him, then ensure he stayed safe while he got the information he needed. The more we read about Ted, the more I liked the idea of this character. Even though he’d passed away, his presence in the book was strong and it was something I’d never really seen before. Learning more about his history was fascinating, and the more we read, the more we know he wasn’t the one behind that wheel…
After reading a number of journal entries, Cain is well on his way to finding out the truth. I loved reading these entries and I also loved how both Cain and the reader find out this information at the exact same time. He’s clear about one thing, and he knows exactly where he’s going, which both excited and terrified me at the same time! Does he really know who he can trust and who he needs to be cautious of? We find out even more about April’s past, and the possibility of her not being entirely truthful about her experiences. Could he even trust his own fiancée? At this point in the story, there were endless questions running through my mind, and I needed answers! Cain’s personality seemed to change dramatically the more we start to uncover… just what was in store for him next?
With an immensely difficult decision to make, Cain has so much more to think about (even though he had so much on his plate before!) The final showdown was a brilliant scene to experience, and Cain’s way with words was very impressive. The reader is constantly in a state of ‘will he, won’t he’ as Cain searches for a weapon, and the possibility of a bit of blood shed really turned up the heat. The twists we experience at the end of the book are very well executed and keep us guessing right until those very last pages. We see the true colours of a number of characters, and it was brilliant to see how all this action unfolded. Could Cain ever get back to a normal life after everything he’s experienced in such a short space of time?
“He looked over at Little Miss Red Dress. She was playing with the coffee cups and the free biscuits. She wanted to know her killer as much as he did.”
A well rounded off ending gave us a lot of closure and tied up many loose ends. From shocking discoveries to making peace with the past, Cain does what he has to continue living his life. The author leaves us with food for thought and I couldn’t help but to mull over everything I’d experienced along the way, and admire just how much it grabbed my attention and kept me interested! I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves a crime and thriller, but also those who love a bit of drama too. A solid four stars from me!
Field is a brilliant author who effortlessly captures his audience and pulls them into the lives of some very real characters. We’re dragged into the fast-paced life of Cain as he navigates his way through love, loss, confusion and danger, seeking answers to his traumatic life. I loved the excitement and the unexpected twists, even the characters you think you know well may surprise you. The intense emotion we share with Cain is just the icing on the cake! A great book which I’d definitely recommend.
A huge thank you to the author of the book, Andrew Field, and Emma at Damp Pebbles for my copy and place on the blog tour! You can pre-order your own copy of All Down The Line on Amazon now, published on December 7th.