It's been 2 years
Lets get this clear from the start - Dan Matlock is a cold, calculating recidivist who appears to have little in the way of redeeming characteristics. This made it a very hard book for me to actively enjoy reading. Without the desire for the protagonist of the book to overcome his obstacles I found myself not really engaging with the plot that lurches from one criminal act to another. The odd thing is that if this had been a "True Crime" book then I would have enjoyed far more than reading about a fictional criminal.
During reading I likened the book to Nicholas Pileggi's novels on the American Italian underworld and it does have lots in common with them - mainly the acting for the sake of face rather than considering all outcomes first. The big difference is that Pileggi manages to draw some sort of humanity out of his cast of real life villains, sadly Dan Matlock seems devoid of this. even when relating tales of his childhood with his father, Joe, you still manage to feel strangely disconnected from the character. I am still wondering why he carried out the actions he did on release from prison - he definitely got his retaliation in first but I could see no necessity for it at that point.
Whilst the writing is solid and the author works the plot admirably, I was still left with more questions than answers. The set pieces of the book are well crafted and can be shocking in their sheer brutality, a brutality which is treated as mundane. With the denouement looming between the rival factions of Matlock and the Minton/Corrigan families you know it isn't going to end well and you also know that somehow Matlock is going to overcome - somehow I wanted him to fail.
The setting is unrepentantly 1980s but there are one or two anachronisms scattered through the text. Not enough to throw you out of the setting but enough to make the eyes roll (particularly when discussing take away coffees). It's the little things that bother me and this was such a little thing but it REALLY bothered me.
The book leaves on a tentative cliff hanger obviously leaving things open for further adventures of Matlock. To be honest I don't think I am interested enough to read further about this man. He has his moments of humanity but they feel faked and he is not charismatic enough to be a remotely likeable psychopath (for that you really need Thomas Harris).
If you love crime stories or thrillers then you may really love this. I didn't hate it but I couldn't find enough here to rhapsodise about it.
THIS IS AN HONEST AND UNBIASED REVIEW OF A FREE COPY OF THE BOOK RECEIVED VIA THE PIGEONHOLE.