BrickBrick by Conrad Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brick: an action-packed crime thriller (DI Braddick Book 1) by Conrad Jones.
It is always a delight to discover a new author. I found Conrad Jones purely by accident. The word ‘serendipity’ springs to mind because I was delighted to have found this book and author.
It certainly lived up to the description of “action-packed.” I was breathless as I followed the action from chapter to chapter.
The writing was fresh. Mr. Jones writes in a popular genre, yet he is different. Different in a good way. It was like a breath of Spring air to read a crime fiction author getting away from all the tired, clichéd protagonists. There was a protagonist of sorts – DI Braddick. And, this is not a criticism, the DI took a back seat as the action unfolded.
The story, set in Liverpool and greater Merseyside, starts off with the character Bryn Evans, a 14-year old schoolboy. He’s a character we get to know well. He is also the conduit to the rest of the story.
That story is about Liverpool organised crime gangs, the Farrells and the Tuckers. They are violent drug lords aided and abetted by some heavy Russians – the Karpovs.
Yes, it’s fiction but all too realistic. That’s one of the stand-out things for me in crime fiction. The setting and tale must be realistic. This author scores heavily in these departments. The book has a contemporary feel to it. As an exiled Scouser who relies on an online Liverpool Echo to keep in touch, this book reflects the sad reality of the current ‘drugs wars’ being fought out on the streets of Liverpool.
The author builds tension and the story excellently through some longish early chapters. That was necessary to include the back stories of all the main characters. But the pace is always spot on and increases as the reader nears the final denouements. Yes, plural not singular. The increase in pace is enhanced by deliberate shorter chapters. I liked that writer’s device as it increased the ‘page turnability’ of this book.
I will be reading more of Conrad Jones.

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