REVIEWS FOR 180⁰ CHORD
5 out of 5 stars
"Wonderfully written! I was drawn in right away by the author’s flowing style and captivating imagery, not to mention the instant mystery of murder. Expertly woven characters create a storyline that makes it all too clear that the course of a life can change in mere moments, a system of cause and effect. This book kept me hooked from start to finish. Highly recommended!" - Amanda C Rosendale - Amazon - 19th May 2021
4 out of 4 stars
"What is the difference between murdering and killing? How far should one go to ensure justice? How far are you willing to go to avenge the death of a loved one? 180⁰ Chord by Chris Leicester evokes these questions and more as one reads along. It is an unconventional crime novel where no one is good or innocent; it is about the lesser evil. Vince, an inmate at a Manchester prison, has been planning this day for over three years. It started with a simple request for a potted plant, and now the prison is in utter chaos with an ongoing riot. The riot serves a purpose, and Vince is on a hunt.
Detective Sergeant John Gray was once a decorated and feared police officer, with an extensive list of achievements and criminal incarcerations. However, those days are long gone, and Gray is now an inmate and fighting to survive. Connor Fitzgerald, an uncharacteristically polished prisoner, seems to be Gray’s savior as he hides him and helps him escape from Vince and his men. However, it is not an easy task as Vince is highly motivated and yearning for Gray’s blood. On the other hand, Connor’s past life is also tied to Gray, so how genuine is his gesture of help? Most importantly, who is Gray?
The book’s introduction instantly hooks the reader as the story immediately unfolds in a prison environment with an ongoing riot. The characters are many, but the introduction of each is excellent, making it easy to perceive and follow their roles in the plot. Chris describes each of them vividly, clearly bringing out their physical and personality attributes. Additionally, the book is unique since the dominant setting is the prison environment and associated activities. The author also creatively uses comparisons and metaphors, further making the story enjoyable.
My favorite aspect is about the novel is the alternating timelines. For instance, one paragraph can be about a tense prison situation, and the next, the reader is taken back in time to one of the character’s lives or backgrounds. This creates immense suspense and anticipation as one gets to consume two stories concurrently and is eager to get back to the tense scene. What I dislike about the read is the heavy use of profanities. I thought it was a bit overdone, despite the prison setting. However, this is a personal opinion and does not affect the rating.
The book is excellently edited; I did not find any grammatical or spelling errors. The language employed is intelligible but suitable for mature readers due to the substantial use of explicit expressions. The book also has some gruesome depictions of murder, which may affect sensitive readers. 180⁰ Chord is a blunt book that presents the extremes of life. It will have you weigh whether a crime is justified or not or the degree of correctness of a wrong. The book takes the reader through a world where being ruthless is the ultimate survival mechanism, a world of gangs, dirty politics, despair, and a quest for vengeance. I, therefore, award it a rating of 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend the book to those looking for a fast-paced and thought-provoking crime novel with a poetic take on crime and life choices."
Guda LM. onlinebookclub.org 21st March 2021
5 out of 5 stars
"Thoroughly enjoyable farce. Set in a prison, a detective sergeant finds himself on the wrong side of the bars. A riot ensues as inmates come searching for his blood. A fellow inmate offers a helping hand to escape - but why? A game of cat and mouse with humour and the odd thrown punch. Recommended."
Dereena White - Netgalley - 2nd February 2021
4 out of 5 stars
"My first from this author, found it an excellent read from start to finish. Thankfully it did not leave you quessing at the end, finished the story nicely. Would certainly recommend this book to anyone who likes mystery novels."
Terry Self - Netgalley - 15th March 2021
4 out of 5 stars
"This book is brutal and seriously gritty, not for the fainthearted.
Set in a prison but with the story of the characters interwoven into how they're there is cleverly worked through this tale of fear and nail biting moments. The viewpoints of the characters are laid out and allow the reader to question motives and consequences. The motivations of the three main characters are slowly leaked while the pace of the story comes back to the events of the prison incidents. It comes with some heart stoppers.
I liked the brutish front of Vince, the hard man. I questioned the motive of Connor, the seemingly ordinary man whose life unravels and the policeman turned criminal who finds himself in the worst place a police officer ever wants to be. A good book if not a little wordy in parts but well worth a read."
Samantha Keegan - Netgalley - 28th February 2021
5 out of 5 stars
"There is no disguising this savagely violent tale that will unfold in this account of an alleged prison riot. It is an extremely well thought out plot of vengeance and long harboured hatred accumulated over many years amongst the characters. The 'riot' is not the actual story, it has been purposely orchestrated to enable the main protagonist, Connor, to avenge his many demons. Connor (without too much of a spoiler) is an angry man, a very very angry man. He has lifetimes of betrayals (in his mind or not) involving a disappearing wife/ex wife, other women, business associates and long held bitternesses (in his mind he is not actually a criminal) that all comes to fruition later on.
Connor has held a dangerous grudge for a very long time against the man that put him down. (Why gets revealed later in the book) He has now come up against that man in the same prison. The balance of power has now changed.
Connor is very much a loner in the prison but commands respect from the various 'crews that drift around'.
One crew is led by Vince, with his team of very disturbed violent and volatile 'comrades' behind him, (some of which are lifetime friends) all of which have extremely damaged and abusive backgrounds and are eager to avenge basically what their leader wants. Grudges are brutally and viciously played out.
Well executed storyline, beautifully descriptive, and fast paced narrative.
Look forward to more from this author."
Alexandra Adams - Amazon - 20th April 2021
4 out of 5 stars
"An interesting,well researched book set within the sturdy perimeter of a maximum security prison. A riot takes place with prison officers held as hostages. Rather than a demand for changes to regime the key players are intent on pursuing a former policeman. As we follow the ex-coppers trail we learn of each individuals back story. It is pacy, original and highly enjoyable." - b. johnston - Netgalley - 19th April 2021
“Enjoyed the book a lot. Grabbed me from the beginning and had trouble putting it down. Well written.”
Louetta Walters on Hurricane Hill – NetGalley – 5 stars
“Essentially, I enjoyed the novel, it is extremely well written. The author applies a very descriptive style of writing to full effect. The story is carefully crafted and the reader is drawn in bit bit.”
Tony Walsh on Hurricane Hill – NetGalley – 5 stars
“It's a well written and worthy read. I didn't know what to expect at first, but I found myself enjoying this far more than I expected to.”
Melanie Kimble on Hurricane Hill – NetGalley – 4 stars
“This is a very moving and timely book.”
Kate Nelson on Hurricane Hill – Goodreads – 4 stars
"Hurricane Hill certainly remain in my memory for weeks to come. Should you get a chance to see this play in any potential future performances, you should look forward to it immensely." Sebastian Gahan on 'Hurricane Hill' 19/10/2013
“Naturalistic, gritty writing – reminiscent of Mike Leigh.”
Camden New Journal on ‘The Baby Box’ 2008
“Leicester's writing is confident and powerful...”
Hampstead and Highgate Express on ‘The Baby Box’ 2008
“Chris Leicester’s clever, acerbic, unpredictable play.”
The Stage on ‘The Fourth Wall’ 2005
"Achieves moments of mesmerising realism that Stanislavski would have applauded." Time Out on ‘The Fourth Wall’ 2005.
"Beg, borrow or knee-cap for a ticket!"
The Scotsman on ‘Mafioso’ 2003