REVIEW: Brotherhood by David Beckler (Mason & Stirling #1)

Series: Mason & Stirling Thrillers

Book Number: 1

Read this book for: fast paced, action thriller, violence, UK thriller, diverse cast, complex plot

Quick Review: A summer blockbuster action film in book form, this packs action on every page around a web-like plot.


Manchester, England, 1998

When Byron Mason’s estranged nephew, Philip, rings him out of the blue in desperate need of help, he knows he must put his personal feelings aside to protect his family.

A teenage boy has been murdered, and Philip is one of the suspects.

Worse than that, the dead boy was the nephew of Ritchie McLaughlin – a local thug who Byron has clashed with in the past – and Philip has now gone missing.

Desperate to clear Philip’s name, Byron enlists the help of his old friend Adam Sterling to track down the real killers.

Is Philip in danger? Can Byron and Adam find him before the police do?

Or has Byron’s violent past with McLaughlin come back to haunt him…?

BROTHERHOOD is an ultra-fast-paced thriller with a tightly interwoven plot and more action than your typical action movie.

It’s the first in a series of thrillers featuring ex-military friends Byron Mason and Adam Stirling. A warning to the sensitive: this novel, and judging by its style, the rest of the series, is full of violent action and relatively graphic descriptions of injuries. If those things make you uncomfortable, this is likely not the series for you, as Mason & Stirling are experts in physical combat, and take a lot of injuries as well.

This is absolutely a thriller to its core: breakneck pace, shifting plot, and almost entirely consisting of action. It’s almost like reading all of the Die Hard movies at the same time — every page turn brings a new fight, various improvised and dangerous weapons, a large amount of hand-to-hand combat, quite a few liberties taken with the law on the “good” side… minus some of the explosions and car chases.

That is not to say that the plot is straightforward. Beckler does throw in quite a few twists and turns, and a large variety of crimes committed by a large number of different reasons. Without spoilers, we can tell you that it contains: gang violence, theft, breaking and entering, home invasion, arson, and many, many casualties (and much more, but describing them would involve spoilers). This story never lacks for excitement or body count. Also, Beckler has achieved quite the feat in managing to tie together so many seemingly disparate plot threads and characters; this story is a web of interconnected items, which makes the relentless action a little more interesting.

The non-henchman characters are also fairly complex; all of them have fairly tragic backstories or difficult items in their past, many of which have a bearing on the way they approach the story. In fact, those backstories are where much of that clever unconnected weave takes place. Beckler has clearly put a lot of time and effort into making these characters credible — Byron and his friend Adam are so good at their dangerous covert operations and skill at fighting because of their military history, for example. He also draws in global influences, with the heartbreaking childhood story of a former child soldier playing out alongside the plot.

If you are looking to take your summer blockbuster to the beach in written form, BROTHERHOOD is a good option for you!

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