Fresh Blood

Name: Amen Alonge

Title of Book: A Good Day To Die

'...a talent who has violently exploded onto the crime fiction scene and is taking no hostages. '

It's been ten years since Pretty Boy left the big city - today he's back. No one knows why, but it's clear that revenge is on his mind: he is determined to make the person responsible for his exile from the London scene finally pay. But his plans seem derailed when he takes possession of a bracelet, unaware that its original owner has set a high price for its safe return. Suddenly, the hunter becomes the hunted and Pretty Boy will have to find out if it is indeed a 'good day to die'.

Pretty Boy is back and ready to make waves in one single day. Revenge is on his mind. Revenge may not be sweet, but after ten years it is certainly well damn cold! I can't really make a comparison, but Alonge's debut certainly makes the film, 'The Long Good Friday' a walk in the park. I would highly advise you desist from getting comfortable with any character as the chances are quite high that they will be despatched in a violent manner. The language can be as colourful as the characters, and I have to shout out my love for the two Nigerian mercenaries, Tosin and Jide. These guys could have their own book! Despite the high body count, Alonge wonderfully manages to add some humour to the mix. There were points I laughed out loud and then felt hugely guilty for doing so!

I loved how Alonge juggled his chapters, the way they go back and forth without being confusing. The ending is quite open, and according to the author in his Q&A, we shall see more of Pretty Boy... I hope immediately following on from 'A Good Day To Die'. I am looking forward to seeing where he takes us with his next book. Amen Alonge is a fresh, new talent who has violently exploded onto the crime fiction scene and is taking no hostages. Massively enjoyable.

Reviewed by: C.S.

CrimeSquad Rating

Fresh Blood Questionnaire

1) The main of your story takes place over one day. How difficult was it to stay in control of the timing of your plot?
It wasnít difficult. Iím from an Engineering background, so I plan and plan again. Measure twice, cut once as they say.
2) Pretty Boy, despite being your main protagonist, stays an enigma throughout the book. Was this deliberate?
Yes. I wanted the reader to find out about the character as you read. To make their own decisions on the morality, or lack of, of his actions. Plus, itís told mainly from the first person, and Pretty Boy isnít the character to say much about himself.
3) There is a high level of violence in ĎA Good Day To Dieí. One gets dispatched by a machete in the head. I think the brothers, Tariq and Khalid along with Terry the stuttering assassin has to be the most bizarre collection of killers in a book! Did you have to rein yourself in, or did you want to shock your reader?
Ha! Thanks for the compliment. A bit of both. I wanted to shock the reader, but I wanted to stay in the realm of reality/plausibility as much as possible.
4) Two characters really leapt out at me were the Nigerian hitmen, Tosin and Jide. Please tell me weíll hear more from the both of them?
Oh, absolutely!
5) Your story involves drug dealers and gangs in black society. As we all know this gang rivalry leads to teenagers being stabbed in the streets. Did you do any research with regards gangs? Also, did you research firearms as there a good many of them detailed in your book?
Yes. I researched gangs. And I try to address the socio-economic factors that lead young people, particularly of colour, to accept this life as their only opportunity for success. I took a subtle but hopefully poignant approach. And yes, I researched firearms. My browser history was incredible!
6) Your debut is left pretty (pardon the punÖ) open, so will we be hearing more of Pretty Boy?
Yes. I actually took a well-deserved break from completing the second novel to answer your lovely questions.
7) What bit of advice would you give to anyone starting out writing their debut?
First, and this advice applies to anything, donít stop pursuing your dreams. The only sure-fire way to fail is to quit.

Regarding writing your debut, have a framework of your plot (as much as you can), so you know where you are going. That way, even if your characters meander (and they will) you have a certain destination. And the meandering will only make for a more fun novel.

Also, rewriting/editing is just as important as writing. Read through several times, and then you might decide the detour your characters took was a tad too long or unnecessary. But it will tell you things about your characters, which you can use in other ways that benefit the plot.
8) Are you a fan of crime fiction? If so, which three crime novels would you like with you if stranded on a desert island?
1) The latest Harry Bosch book by Michael Connelly

2) The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

3) Gone Girl Gillian Flynn