Friday 30 August 2019


Carl Duggan has worked as a Detective in the City for a long time. The kind of ‘long’ where you’ve seen everything, and seen it twice. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise to him when a pregnant nineteen year-old girl washes up on the banks of the Styx. But something about this one is different, and before Carl gets any answers, two more bodies join the pile; a corrupt Judge and a big-shot lawyer. Carl’s gut tells him there’s a connection, the little things, the tiny details that others would ignore. 

The bodies keep on coming when a second case rears its head; three young men with nothing in common except their sexuality, each murdered in their own home. Gaining little assistance from his fellow officers, Carl goes it alone into the darker regions of the City. Along the way he makes acquaintances and enemies of the City’s more colourful residents, including the beautiful sister of the first dead girl, a Catholic hit-man dubbed “His Holiness”, and a shady casino owner named Dice. The closer he gets to the truth the more Carl’s life is put in danger, forcing him to move further and further away from the rule of law. Never once does he suspect that the two cases are so intimately linked, or that the truth could be so close to home.

I received a copy of this book from HellBound Books Publishing, and I'm really glad I did because it didn't disappoint.

Carl Duggan is a rough and tough detective in the dirty, overcrowded City. There are two sides to the City and they're separated by a river they call the Styx. The East side is full of the poor, homeless, prostitutes, pimps and crime. The West is full of rich, the successful, escorts, businessmen and crime.

Both sides are mirrors of each other--same criminal activity, but one tries to conceal the ugliness beneath a veneer of money.

When Carl starts investigating several unrelated homicides, it doesn't take long for him to solve each case. Except, the more he figures out, the murkier everything becomes when the solved investigations keep coming back...

You know, even though the blurb caught my interest, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy this book. I thought it might be the kind of disturbing I might not enjoy. But I was wrong. 

Well, I was right about the filthy feel of the story, but I was wrong about not enjoying it. Every moment I spent reading the pages of this book made me feel like I was actually there. I could feel the cold and bleak air, could see the dilapidated nature of the streets, experienced the weight of despair on both sides of the City, and couldn't shake the filthy sense every word imprinted inside my head.

All of the characters are simultaneously likeable and easy to dislike. They're complicated and not very nice or giving. The police department is overrun by corruption, the medical examiner is a junkie, the only future prospects for the young is crime or prostitution. This stinky City digs its claws into the residence and refuses to let go. 

The main character, Carl Duggan, is a prickly asshole who doesn't seem morally-inclined and is quite the violent cop. Yet, he pushes for justice and isn't easily corrupted. Plus, he's helpful and although he likes to pretend he's heartless and doesn't give a shit, Carl's quite a helpful man. He's got heart. He might not possess much finesse and has quite the acid tongue, but you know what? This made him the best noir voice to narrate most of this dark story.

And this book is dark.

I also liked the City's descriptions. They're done in a way that makes the location into its own character. This awful place reminds me of Gotham or Sin City, an urban playground for criminals. A place where the bad thrive and the good are squashed. A location where there's no definite good and bad.

The pacing is great. The story takes you down one path, makes you feel comfortable and then switches everything on you.

The Other Side of the Mirror is a gritty noir story that grabbed a hold of me from the first page. It's full of unapologetic, foul-mouthed non-PC people who just DGAF about who they're offending or hurting. But instead of turning me off, it totally fit the narrative.

It's full of twists and turns, keeps circling back to the beginning in a way that ties everything together in a messy bow. And by the time I reached the shocking and quite sad conclusion, I was on the edge of my seat. OMG, I can't believe it went THERE.

Of course, the suspicion bloomed inside my mind during the backend of the book, but even then, more unexpected surprises popped up.

I REALLY enjoyed this insanely awesome book.

Also, I'd like to thank HellBound Books for sending me a copy.

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