I love Stephen Leather novels, they are always thrilling and exciting. So before I started to read Penalties I was a little bit apprehensive as it is a different subject matter than previous novels I have read from this author. Although still a crime thriller, it is based around the world of Premiership football.
Gabe Savage is a professional footballer playing for Walford United. He is one penalty goal away from breaking the record for the scoring the most consecutive penalties and life is good. That is until before kick off he receives a phone call from his wife saying that she and their young son have been kidnapped and if he doesn’t lose the game against Chelsea they will be killed. He is faced with the choice of throwing the game or seeing his family killed. He cannot go to the police so he turns to his estranged gangster brother, Ray, to track them down and save them.
Ray has 4 hours to track and save his family and enable Gabe to win the game.
Overall, the story was quite interesting looking at the murky world of high stakes gambling within the world of professional football. It focuses more on the gambling side and the violence associated with it, more so than the football, and the footballing side is done very well. My only issue with the story was it felt a bit rushed taking place over 4 hours.
Once Ray came into the story the action started and was great and at times brutal but seemed over the top at times (and all in such a small time frame).
I love Stephen Leather novels and although this was slightly different from the norm, it was still a good story, although I felt rushed at times. Packed with action and violence and is definitely worth a read.
RRP: £8.99 (Paperback) / £3.99 (Kindle)