Book Review: Pallbearer by Shaun Baines

This is the second book in the Dayton series, after Woodcutter, and also the second book I’ve read in the series (would you look at that).

As with the first book, we follow the Dayton family, or should I say what’s left of them after what happened in the first book. I’m not sure how much more I want to say about the plot, but Daniel Dayton is trying to scrape together a life for him and his daughters while his former associates do what they have to do to get by. And at the same time, there’s some new players on the field…

I’d say this book is darker, faster, cleverer, and generally better than the first one, and that’s not to say the first one isn’t good. But here we’ve taken it a step further, we’re on a different level now and you notice it straight away. More grit, more darkness, more death.

Baines writes thrillers just the way I like ’em: with enough pace, plot, and mayhem to keep your interest piqued from page one, but at the same time with little enough back-drop and fluff so that it doesn’t feel bogged down. You’ll be invested without feeling like it’s a chore to keep reading; emotionally captivated without being overwhelmed. And did I mention that the book is really good?

This series is in a particular type of gangster-mystery genre where you know what’s going to happen, you can see it all unfold, but at the same time you don’t really know how it’s going to happen. Most people’s motivations aren’t hidden (let me repeat that: most), but we’re not really sure how they’re going to go about doing what they’re doing. There’s an openness to people’s motivations, just not the way they go about realizing them. It’s awesome, I love it.

And the ending… I don’t even know what to say. It caught me off guard.

As I said, this is the second book I’ve read in the series and I can wholeheartedly recommend both. If you’re looking for some British grit from the heart of Newcastle, check out Shaun Baines.

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