A Review of “Club Justice” by Mara McBain

Opening Statement: do not think, by any means, that my work is superior or equal to the authors I review. This is only my opinion. Let’s keep it that way. 

I’ve been warring over doing this review for quite some time. My new publisher has told me on numerous occasions not to review other author’s novels—especially indies—but some rules need to be broken. That advice was not given to keep me mysterious, or make me seem holier than thou. The suggestion has merit. If I find a novel I can’t finish for some reason—bad editing, poor plot, drab characters, unreal dialogue—and I end up reviewing the book, it makes me seem like I know everything, or I’m a better author than the person I hold such a low opinion of. With that being said, I’ve only ever reviewed good books. So shoot me. But, with this review, I’m only going to focus on the bad parts.

Ready?

I hate this book…

…because I didn’t write it. Zeke and Ginny are flesh and blood. Mara writes Zeke real, with all the duality that lies at the heart of every man. I was shocked stupid by how well she got into a man’s brain. So much so, that I continually asked myself who Mara had molded him after in her real life. I think that is a true testament to the astounding skill of character development that Mara possesses. I found myself arguing with myself that Zeke must be real, because no one, I don’t care who you are, can write a character that damn good. I surmise she cheated. But only because I can’t do it myself. Jealousy is a bitch, ain’t it?

Now, what do I say about Zeke’s wife, Ginny. Well, more of the same I said about Zeke, but this character had more sass. As you read Club Justice, you will understand when I say, this book is, hands down, about family. You protect family, no matter the cost, and Ginny, the matriarch of the Brawer clan, gets that. Whether you’re blood, or not, if you’re allowed into her family’s world, you are part of the tribe.

Another thing I can’t stand about this book is, there are an abundance of characters. I couldn’t handle this many souls on a page if I tried. Pisses me off to see Mara do it so effortlessly. You have club members—Sambo, Bowie, Reaper, Tech, Taz—, Zeke and Ginny’s boys, who are, or will be club members—Rhys, Mox, Garrett—and the member’s old ladies—G.G, Kat, Amber and so on. Then you have the cops—Donovan, Kramer, and later, Murphy. You even get a town whore! There are more, but my brain is already hurting. You see, I just named all those characters by memory. I’m sure I missed some, but I got the ones I could think of right now. Not once while reading this book, did I get confused. Mara is just brain-numbingly good with her cast. Once again, I’m envious.

Every once and a while, you’ll come across a novel so engrossing that you can’t put it down. I’m a fast writer, but a slow reader. I could probably write this sentence faster than I could read it back to you. The reason for this is, I like to taste every word, every sentence, and see what ingredients they hold. I want to know how the chef made the dish. I’m nosey like that. I found myself playing hooky from my writing to read Mara’s book. Yep. You can blame the delay of my newest novel on Club Justice. Damn a good book! Damn it all to hell!

She had me laughing when I least expected it, and bawling like a toddler watching the end of Bambi in another scene. She scared the stains out of my shorts, then put new ones in their place, on more than one occasion. The bad guys are bad. The good guys are good, but sometimes in a bad way. Everyone else is along for a rollercoaster of a ride. Every single time I thought I knew where the book was going, Mara put a boot in my ass and shoved in another direction. The back story is fiery and integral to the overall thread of the novel. No one’s hands are clean here. Just the way I like it. Sorry, I forgot, I hate this book. Blah!

And sex! There’s sex. I can’t stand sex!

There really is so much going on in Club Justice that if I drop even a subtle hint at the plot, I will ruin the experience for you. Just go buy it. I’m sick and tired of typing. Either you’re going to read this and give Mara a chance, or you’ve already bought it. Because if you have no intention of reading this book, your brains must’ve leaked out of your head when you used the toilet this morning.

Full Disclosure: Mara and I know each other. She read my debut novel, Bay’s End, and gave it five stars. That fact has nothing to do with the review you just read. Club Justice is good. Deal with it.

E.

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