Thought-provoking, suspenseful, heart wrenching, gritty – these are just a few words that can describe Dennis Sweeney’s novel, “Southpaw”, and they certainly aren’t enough. This is one of those books that offer so much more than what the cover and synopsis promise. It’s one of those memorable novels that readers will think about long after they have turned the last page. “Southpaw” eludes all genres because it is so difficult to place in a single one. It has the depth and realism of literary fiction, but, at the same time, it is as action-packed and fast-paced as any suspenseful thriller out there. What is sure about it is that it is absolutely mind-blowing.
The main character is Dennis, a young Scottish boxer who has lived a life of crime and is now in prison, paying for his mistakes with his freedom. One could say that he is a product of the environment he grew up in. He was unfortunate enough to be the son of a boxing champion who had no mercy when it came to training him and his brother. Dennis grew up hating the sport and feeling inferior to his brother, who was more athletic and more skilled. However, it seems that this was his future, whether he liked it or not, so young Dennis tried to make the best of it in his own way. The novel follows his extraordinary journey. From Dundee, Dennis ends up in London, then Hong Kong, where his main occupation is to smuggle goods into Korea and gold into Taiwan. He later reaches Tokyo, where his drug addiction worsens, and he eventually ends up in prison in Bangkok. Knowing that he will be old by the time he gets out of prison, Dennis has nothing left to do but to think of his life, of what he did wrong, and try to achieve some kind of redemption.
Author Dennis Sweeney is a brilliant and talented writer. He has created some powerful, complex characters that truly develop as the action unfolds. The way he describes the places and people Dennis sees as he gets more and more involved with boxing, prostitution, and drugs makes the background and atmosphere extremely realistic and believable. There will be moments when readers will stop to ask themselves if what they are reading is indeed just fiction, not reality.
Readers will root for the main character even when they will realize that everything he does is harmful to others and himself. Thus, “Southpaw” is a powerful novel that invites them to discuss problems of morality, ethics, and what’s right and wrong.
“Southpaw” will be free on Amazon starting December 19 through December 23, 2014, so don’t forget to download your copy.
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