A Violent Gentleman
reviewed by Eric Ellis
A Violent Gentleman by Danny O’Leary is the debut crime novel featuring British-born Jeremiah O’Connell. O’Connell is a six-foot-nine behemoth, London-to-Los Angeles transplant, who now makes a living solving problems for others when no one else can—or won’t.
O’Connell, while possessing a charming and courteous exterior, is known to be capable of violence if necessary, and comes along with a tough and effective crew of oddballs.
After building a reputation in London as a peace-keeping doorman and later bodyguard, O’Connell has relocated to America where he has further built his reputation as a bodyguard to the famed and wealthy, until moving on to become a personal problem solver. To fund his operations, O’Connell has built professional relationships with a variety of people, ranging from a highly successful escort service madam to that of a degenerate movie producer.
While driving, O’Connell accidentally strikes a tough, young girl on her bicycle. After the girl runs off and leaves her bicycle behind in a gang-controlled fiefdom, O’Connell tries to find her. In doing so he runs afoul of not only violent gang members, but also of a sadistic and sociopathic Ronson Beaufoy. Beaufoy, known for having blood-thirsty cravings, soon takes aim at O’Connell. Not only does Beaufoy rule his kingdom and followers by fear, but he is also aligned with a Mexican drug cartel that is more than willing to step in if Beaufoy shows he can’t control his own environment.
O’Connell’s difficulties increase when he realizes not only does Beaufoy have law enforcement sources, but it also seems he may have possible sources from within O’Connell’s own circle supplying Beaufoy with information.
O’Leary has written an enjoyable debut crime thriller. Reader enjoyment should increase if they accept the novel for its purely escapist nature, especially if from the start. A Violent Gentleman is a novel that hearkens back to the style of the old pulp fiction novels, but in a modern time setting. Let there be no surprise, A Violent Gentleman is a graphic novel, both in violence and less so in sex, but the portrayals of the violence and sex are not overly gratuitous, not found on each page, and are complimentary to this style. Bones are fractured, teeth broken, and plenty of bloodletting runs freely. The novel is also similar in style and nature to two amusing British crime flicks, We Still Kill The Old Way (2014) and We Still Steal The Old Way (2016), which involve an aging gangster reassembling his old crew to fight back against the new breed of immoral street gang members that lack in any sort of standards as those in the past.
A Violent Gentleman is highly recommended to those that enjoy rip-roaring crime novels with plenty of action, and are willing to suspend just a little bit of belief.