A while ago on Twitter a call for readers and reviewers caught my eye from a new author – Lisa Bush. I responded and found out she’s relatively local to me and she kindly sent me a copy of her book Hanging Tough for me to read and let her know my thoughts.
Hanging Tough is a gritty crime novel following the life of a man called Tony in 1980’s London. It starts a first in a modern setting, then flashes back right to the beginning and from a small boy the reader follows how Tony deals with life, loss, a tough neighborhood, love, drugs and everything else in between.
From a young age Tony learns to fight to get by, growing up in his tough London community. With everyone wanting to challenge Tony or cause trouble for him, he quickly makes himself a reputation as trouble for the police and as the local hard lad, not to be messed with. I found myself being able to easily side with Tony’s character. Despite his violent nature Tony is often fighting against the bullies and the trouble makers, his loyalty to his family and friends always at the top of his mind. There also the other side to Tony’s character, despite his violent nature, he’s not a thug – behind it all is an intelligent young man and he uses this to great effect. Sometimes dishing out his own brand of non violent justice where it’s necessary.
The story plot doesn’t hold back, with trouble around every corner. The language is raw, the scenes described are very gritty and not for someone who enjoys romantic novels. But from beginning to end the story grabs you as you want to know what happens next and how Tony gets through each situation. There are a few small sub plots that are put into the main plot on their own, I’m not sure if these will make sense later or if they’re just there to explain what happens to the characters involved. As there are planned to be three books, we will see.
Hanging tough ends on a cliffhanger, with several leads into Lisa’s new story An eye for an eye, which is the next book in the series and is due out soon. The release date is yet to be set for an eye for an eye,but it’s imminent and I’m looking forward to it!
I’ve enjoyed reading this as it divided me, on the one hand Tony, the hero of the story is someone you want to see do well and succeed. On the other hand, much of what he gets involved is not only illegal, but blatantly violent an intending to inflict as much damage as possible. What this story cleverly does is challenge your idea of what someone might could consider to be a bad person or someone who’s trouble and see life from their point of view. It also makes you wonder – who really are the bad guys?
This was not my usual reading, but I enjoyed it. If I was going to be completely critical there are odd points in the story that took place before the technology was about – like texting. But I get it, it served the plot and only a geek like me would have picked this up (sorry Lisa, I think I’ve just highlighted it).
Have a look, see what you think, let me know. If you want to let Lisa know too find here website:
I’m sure she would be happy to hear from you and look out for her new book coming out soon.