First Time Hard by Colin Holcombe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
First Time Hard by Colin Holcombe is a suspense fiction that I wouldn't really call a quick read. It is a story about how doing such an innocent thing like buying a bronze statue that you like from a pawn shop can turn your whole world upside-down. Richard Drake, an antique dealer and valuer, found this out first hand when he bought what he called 'Tex', a bronze statue of a cowboy on a horse from a pawn shop. Richard liked the statue and wanted it for his home where he proudly displayed it. Little did Richard know that this statue would have him regretting that he ever laid eyes on it.
I do not write spoilers and you can read the author's overview for yourself so there is no need for me to re-write it here instead I rather focus on my personal thoughts of the book. With that said I felt the story was choppy and seemed to jump around a bit in the beginning which at the time I thought it was annoying but later realized that it was because the boys playing with air rifle was an event that took place many years prior to the time of when the rest of the story takes place. The 'choppiness' is the author's style of writing where he opened the chapter with an event, Mrs Harper falling down the staircase, then wrote about what lead up to this event afterwards in the chapter instead of opening the chapter with what lead up to the event and ending it with her falling down the stairs. To me this went against a smooth flowing story since the natural timeline is thrown off and it took a bit of getting use to but it all this came together in the end.
There are many characters in this story and many of them were major and I felt they were well developed for the most part and I found them believable. The author did not have everyone as a hero who saved the day instead he used what I thought could be a normal reaction you would expect from any person put in that situation. Some would be brave, some would totally break down to tears and beg for their lives, and some would lose their bladder control when facing certain death. About the only ones I had a hard time believing were the twins, Craig and Kevin. I found it hard to believe that anyone could be that evil. I also found it hard to believe that others would let them get away with murder and turn a blind eye toward it but as much as I hate to admit it, things like this do/did take place and I only have to turn on the news or look back in history to find it.
The story has a little bit of everything in it from murder to mistaken identity and I found the tortures and amputation a bit gruesome. The twins are the kind of people you not only would fear but you learned to hate them quickly. It did seem to drag in parts and have more detail than necessary for 'uneventful' moments in the story which further added to the dragging. There were some formatting and minor spelling errors, 's' instead of 'z' and the word 'cottoned' instead of 'caught' but nothing that really took away from the story. In fact, I am not even sure if the 'cottoned' is an error or some slang term used where the author comes from. Despite this, I found it to be an enjoyable read and I would recommend it to those who enjoy suspense.
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