I have received a free e-copy of the book “For The Love of Grace” by Andy Blackman to review.
Here is the book blurb.
Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom’s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.
A nurse during World War Two, Grace Backer had an early life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she had her young son Tom whom she raised with her dark secrets intact. So when the police come knocking on her door, telling her that Tom has been accused of murder, she refuses to believe it and instead helps her teenage boy escape from East London on a cargo ship bound for Russia. Heartbroken, Grace fears she will never see her son again, but she knows that she’s done all she can to help him embark on a new and prosperous life.
After meeting an ambitious Russian called Sebastian on the journey East, Tom quickly becomes embroiled in his new friend’s family haulage business, even falling for the charms of his sister Natasha. As years pass, and with memories of his mother and childhood fading, Tom feels like he’s finally building a secure new life in Odessa, enjoying success, marriage and even welcoming a young daughter. But all that comes crashing down after a bomb explosion at one of their factories which sets of a sequence of events that expose Tom to the unscrupulous side of the “family business”. Under the guidance of Uncle Vlad, Tom is dragged down a violent path of revenge which has devastating consequences; after an assassination goes wrong his family become the unintended, tragic victims.
From Odessa to Belize, Tom’s thirst for revenge cannot be quenched, and he gains a reputation amongst top intelligence agencies as a cold-blooded assassin. Only through an unlikely new friendship is he able to slip back into London to carry out his last hit, reunite with his mother and fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets has never been easy.
Explosive, fast-paced and with vivid and complex characters, the first in Blackman’s series, For the Love of Grace, is the perfect next read for modern crime thriller fans.
The book starts by introducing Tom in the current time. We then move back to his school days and then further back to introduce his parents in WW2. Tom’s mum, Grace was a nurse and she helped a Russian sailor Ivor on the road to recovery after a stabbing, befriending him and teaching him English over a few weeks before he returned to Russia. Tragedy strikes twice with Grace losing her unborn child in an air-raid and then her husband was killed in the war.
Meanwhile, Tom age 14, is wrongly suspected of murder, so Grace calls in a favour from Ivor who is port and Tom flees aboard Ivor’s ship to start a new life in Russia. But tragedy strikes again firstly when Tom’s best friend is killed by a bomb and secondly when Tom’s wife and 4yr old daughter are killed in a car accident involving gunmen.
Tom wants revenge. He follows the trail of the gunmen to Belize. There he makes a new best friend, Duke. Over the next few years the trail takes him via America, eliminating the chain as he goes, eventually to London, where a twist awaits, plus he finally gets to see his mum again.
I loved this story and highly recommend it. A real page turner.
Here is an extract from the book to whet your appetite.
This is where Tom meets Grenville for the first time, and decided to intervene changing their lives forever:
All of a sudden Tom heard a plea for help, from a voice of impeccable English. It had been years since Tom had heard such well-spoken English, and for some reason, even to this day unknown to himself, decided to interact, and break a golden rule: ‘never get involved unless you are involved’.
Tom moved with lightning speed, smashing the bottle in his hand over the aggressor with the knife’s head, who went down like a dropped sack. Tom moved with the fluency of years of training and had rendered the other assailant harmless even before he knew what had hit him. Tom quickly looked at the two friends, who looked stunned with what had just gone on in a split second.
Tom said, “Grab your stuff and follow me if you want to live.” He walked towards the door and down the road; the two recently sobered friends grabbed their belongings and staggered in his wake.
After reaching the harbour Tom jumped onto his boat, and told the friends to jump aboard. Running to the cabin he quickly switched on the engine and it roared into life. He shouted for one of them to cast off the jetty. Just as they were pulling away from the jetty, a stream of screaming locals were running towards them, stopping short on the jetty as by now they were far into the fast flowing river, quickly disappearing from view.
After about an hour Tom made sure they were not being followed, throttled back the engines until they were on idle and let the river’s current take them along. He then moved to the back of the boat to greet his guests. The two friends were huddled in the bow of the boat, both looking shell-shocked by recent events; an hour ago they were having a fun game of darts in a local bar whilst having a few beers with the locals, now they were on a tug boat heading up a river to god knows where, with a complete stranger.
Tom introduced himself to them both and asked if he could look at the cut, and explained in these parts an untreated wound could fester and can go gangrenous in hours if not treated. Tom held out his hand in friendship, which the other man took, and said, “Grenville St Louis, eleventh Duke of Hampshire, second son.”
“Blimey,” Tom said, “that’s a mouthful, I will call you Duke,” to which they both laughed.
About Andy Blackman
After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.
This book can be purchased via Amazon.
I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.
Disclosure. This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free. All opinions are my own.