Review - Marshall’s Law by Ben Sanders
The Marshall Grade series is American noir of the minimalist, dark kind, bought to you by New Zealander Ben Sanders.
The first book AMERICAN BLOOD (reviewed at Reviewing The Evidence(link is external)) introduced the central character of Marshall Grade. Grade is a classic lone wolf, vigilante machine, with no discernible soft spots and a past littered with dodgy characters. Hence his long list of enemies and a contract killer on his tail. Flushed out of hiding when somebody as close to being a friend as you can get is kidnapped, it becomes obvious that somebody's after him. Equally as importantly, you simply don't mess with people who have helped Grade in the past. Period. (Yes I know, pathetic current day political reference...).
Leading on straight from the action in AMERICAN BLOOD, it's actually not that necessary to read the earlier book first. There are some absolute givens here - the good guys are really good, and the bad guys are really bad. Everybody's violent, everything is action packed and very few people are coming out of this upright or at the very least unscratched.
Having said that, there are some inklings of resolutions to elements from AMERICAN BLOOD in MARSHALL'S LAW built into a conclusion that's not just action-packed, but violent, desperate, and very bloody. Needless to say it's hard boiled of the most solid kind. In your face, with little concession to explanation, or even dialogue, it's the action, the carnage that is centre-stage.
You really have to give author Ben Sanders points for his execution and control of that American styled noir environment. Everything works from the settings, to the dialogue and vernacular, all the while avoiding any feeling of contrivance or style over substance. It's very much that darker than dark, violent, hard-boiled, whatever it takes type of action thriller that will really appeal to fans of this style of novel.
Marshall Grade is back, still trying to escape the remnants of his old life. The gritty, explosive new novel from the bestselling author of American Blood is a white-knuckle ride that will have you ducking for cover!
Ex-undercover cop Marshall Grade is hiding out in California when he learns that federal agent Lucas Cohen has survived a kidnapping. Cohen was Marshall's ticket into witness protection, and his captors have a simple question: where's Marshall now?
Marshall's undercover work gave him a long list of enemies, and the enemy in this case is a corrupt businessman named Dexter Vine. Vine's almost broke, in debt to people even worse than himself, and he wants to settle old scores while he has time. He's hired Ludo Coltrane - a nonchalant psychopath and part-time bar manager - to find Marshall at any cost. Ludo's no stranger to killing, but his associate, the cash-strapped ex-con Perry Rhodes, may prove more of a liability than an asset.
The question is: what has Marshall done to make Dexter want him dead? And are the contacts from his old life - ex-colleague Lana, and the heroin dealer Henry Lee - prepared to help him, or will they just sell him out?