Wednesday 10 February 2010

THE LEVELS by Sean Cregan

On the outskirts of Newport, on the US East Coast, lies an abandoned, feral housing project: the Levels. Inhabited by Newport's forgotten homeless population, the Levels are run as a personal fiefdom by the all-powerful Sorrow.

As THE LEVELS opens, ex-CIA agent Nate Turner, who is in the Levels to find out who has just tried to kill him, meets a 14-year-old girl Ghost. Ghost is a Fury, one of Sorrow's trained, drug-addicted assassins looking for a way back to her normal life.

Also in the Levels is Kate, a suspended cop, who has been told that she has only days to live after being attacked, and infected, by the Beast, a serial killer working the streets. The Beast is out for revenge on Kate's new employer, who he believes created the infection that's killing him, an infection that has also been released into the Levels.

Now Ghost is trying to escape Sorrow, Kate is looking for the Beast and Turner is looking for answers. One thing's for sure, some people aren't going to survive the fallout...

This is the debut urban thriller novel by Sean Cregan.

Turner's dead. Well, he's actually still very much alive but someone died in his place and no one rectified the error. It's not surprising in a town where the cops are as dirty as the criminals. He decides to keep to the shadows, to try and figure out what's going on. But someone's following him and he goes to hide out in the Levels.

Kate is a suspended cop. Her only real crime was being involved with a dirty cop dealing drugs on the side. When he got caught, she also suffered the consequences. The night she's attacked, a group of men save her. Except, is that what they really did? They're a secretive bunch who want her to work with them, since she apparently ruined their one chance at getting their target. Oh, and they also mention that she's got a deadly virus that'll kill her in several days. So, it's in her best interest to help them find the Beast, which will lead to the cure.

Ghost is a teenage girl. Turner finds her sleeping in the dingy apartment he's staying in. But she's no ordinary teen. She's got several secrets and addictions, and desperately wants a way out. Still, Turner teams up with her. She knows the Levels and those who reside there.

In a twist of fate, Turner and Ghost also stumble on Kate. And together, the three of them are able to delve into the darkness of the Beast who wants everyone dead because he wants revenge. And also figure out that the group Kate thought she could trust are actually keeping their own secrets. A lot is at stake, and it all leads to an explosive conclusion.

The Levels is a fast-paced, interesting story that is woven by switching from what's going on with Turner, and Kate. It keeps the story fresh and unfolding at a pretty quick pace. The events were unpredictable too. Yet, I don't know why I didn't like it as much as I thought I would. It has tension, secretive vibes, a realistic feel, yet seems alien at the same time. It's gritty and violent, a good story, but... Maybe it's because I found myself a little disconnected from the two main characters and was instantly drawn to Ghost, instead. I'm not sure.

Still, it's a good book and I'm glad I read it.

The Levels, February 2010, ISBN 978-075-535786-4, Headline Fiction Paperback


Sean C said...

Hi Yolanda,

Glad you liked the book, and ta for the nice words. You're not the only one to go more for Ghost than the other characters, so I don't feel bad about that. :)

Yolanda Sfetsos said...

Hi Sean! Thanks for popping in and leaving a comment. It's great to meet you. :)

Ghost is just one of those characters that intrigued me a lot. But you wrote a great book, anyway.

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