Heather: A Story of Sydney’s Underworld by A. J. Sendall

Published: 21st August 2014Goodreads badge
 Ascend Digital Publications
Pages: 449
Format: Ebook
Genre: Crime Thriller
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

When ageing escort Heather Todd rescues a stranger riding a wild self-destructive spiral, she discovers she has a chance to avenge the death of her sister, and many others. She taunts and cajoles the reluctant Sam into helping her gather evidence against the notorious Reed brothers.
When Sam agrees to join her, they embark on a daring, high-risk venture that takes them deep into the underworld, and then half-way around the world and almost home again …

Heather is a story about how people are changed by circumstance and pressure; both external and internal. And how when released from that pressure, some are able to become their true selves.

Note: I was provided with a copy of this book from the author for review.

Sendall has developed and executed this story brilliantly, with style and surprise. From the intriguing prologue to the gripping final pages it’s a story that’s clever, captivating and at times heartbreaking. The narrative is exciting and suspenseful, even when nothing much is happening plot wise, meaning you are never sure what is going to happen, and while you often cannot condone what these characters do, they draw you in and intrigue you all the same.

The characters are certainly interesting, and they’re presented in a way that shows just how complex they are which makes them real, meaning even the bad guys got a lot of compassion and sympathy from me as I read. With characters so complicated makes for a great mixture of people working and clashing with one another and adds another level to the story.

Sam and Heather are from completely different worlds and seeing them get to know one another is interesting in itself. Despite their past lives they come together for a single goal and as their relationship develops they end up working quite well together. This goal seems quite unexpected but it isn’t too fanciful either, especially coming from Heather, if it has been Sam then I think it would not have been as understandable.

Sam is a straightforward character; he goes into undercover stealth mode quite quickly, his past career training kicking in most likely. He knows what needs to be done and he is methodical and callous from the start, planning it all out and eager to help make Heather’s idea a reality. He does show some uncertainty and moral debate, but he is also violent at times which was a curious contrast.

Heather is curious because while she seems timid and unsure of herself, infiltrating the underworld was her idea and she plays key roles in their plan just as much as Sam does. In a way you want her to make it more than Sam, hers is a more tragic story than his and you want her to succeed in getting herself a better life. She fights her fears more often than not and seeing her grow is really wonderful.

The story is told via multiple points of view, from both sides, which provides depth and meaning to the story. With Heather and Sam it allows a chance to sense their apprehension and thoughts about their plans, but with the added points of view of Reed and his men it adds extra intrigue to the story, certainly more insight, and a feeling of completeness to the entire story.

The time frame is realistic, taking place across multiple months, though it doesn’t read as slow nor does it drag out and it demonstrates the gradual build up and infiltration Heather and Sam are trying to achieve. While it is possible to see Sam and Heather’s plan as unbelievable and unachievable since they are seemingly just regular people, it still works. Heather was already connected to the Reeds in a small but real way and Sam has the skill set to get himself inside convincingly and realistically.

The simmering suspense and anticipation makes it a great read and one where anything is possible. You want Sam and Heather’s to achieve their goals but at the same time you are fully aware that anything could go wrong and ruin everything. Even up until the final pages when everything comes to a head Sendall makes sure you have no idea exactly what will happen and brings your anticipation to the max.

 This is a five star book not because it is mind blowing amazing and filled with action all the time, but rather because it is clever, and Sendall has built up this story remarkably well and concludes it perfectly in a way that is suitable and agreeable, but also a little bit heartbreaking.

You can purchase Heather via the following

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com | Amazon.com.au

Barnes & Noble | Createspace | Flipkart


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