Sunday, 25 January 2015

Book Review: Hell to Pay-Die Hard for Girls by Jenny Thomson


Nancy Kerr refuses to be a victim - even when she walks in on her parents killers and is raped and left for dead. Fourteen months later, she wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no knowledge of how she got there. Slowly her memory starts to return. Released from the institution, she has just one thing on her mind two men brought hell to her family home. Now they re in for some hell of their own.

My Review:
Nancy walks into the home of her parents to find them both murdered, execution style, and the killers take the chance to rape her, leaving her for dead. But Nancy has somehow survived and wakes up in a mental hospital, recovering from her ordeal. She is obsessed with the idea of finding the thugs herself and making them pay.

Firstly, for those of you who shy away from scenes of graphic rape, you are safe to read this one. The rape scene is implied at the time and briefly remembered but there is no full minute by minute description of the act. There is less graphic violence than the book implies in the blurb so it is not a horror gorefest either. It is more of a thriller with a few violent scenes than anything else. So I think perhaps the 'die hard' and bloody revenge ads for the book might put off a few people who could happily read it.

It did make a change to see a book set in Scotland that doesn't involve snotty American girls complaining about everything and having horrible Scottish steriotypes. This book is set in the Glasgow criminal underworld so you expect it to be dark and grim, as that fits the plot perfectly. It was nice to recognise landmarks and get a lot of the references in the book. Usually in American set books I have no clue about some of the celebrities, shows and references being joked about! The plot is decent, the writing is uncomplicated and there is enough happening to keep you interested to the end.

Nancy feels pretty normal despite her hairbrained plans. She knows what she wants to do to the men but she is scared to do it and has the morals to question it. She is a good person whose mind has been filled with revenge because of what has happened to her family. She is terrible at planning and lands herself in a few dodgy situations because of it. I felt no sympathy for the bad guys-I never do feel bad when they get what is coming to them.

I did have a few niggles about the book. The police seemed to spend far too much time visiting Nancy and hinting that she knew more than she let on, was lying to them and was involved in what happened to the thugs. I just don't see how a cop could add 1 +1 and get 10 like that. The story was a little unrealistic especially taking the risk of going in disguise to have a drink with the guy who raped you and hope you weren't recognised. I also wondered why a woman raped by thugs would be jumping into bed with a man she barely knows in the middle of a revenge plot against them. I felt that the sex scene was included because it was felt there should be one, rather than it adding anything to the plot. I also felt it was a bit too feminist for me, with so much man hating going on. Men were bashed for having sexist views on women but Nancy was always coming out with thoughts that were sexist again men which seemed a bit hypocritical.

The good bits? Well there was some decent humour scattered through the book. I liked the showdown with the gangland leader, which had a nice twist to it that I wasn't expecting. I was also interested in the reveal at the end which was unexpected and a bit different.

This was a decent story that kept me interested to the end and it is a novella that could have a pretty broad appeal if you can ignore a few issues with spelling and formatting. I can ignore a few mistakes and found it an entertaining short read.


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