Burntbridge Boys: John F. Leonard
Reviewed By Steve Stred
If you’ve followed my reviews, you’ll have seen that I’ve raved about all of the books I’ve read from Leonard. These have all been within his Scaeth Mythos and for the most part have been filled with grime and gore, hurt and sorrow.
‘Burntbridge Boys’ is a completely different lad.
Now, don’t get me wrong, it falls into Leonard’s normal world and we even get the town of Bledbrooke popping up, but if you are going into this looking for gore – like within Night Service, don’t expect it.
What I liked: this was essentially an autobiography. We get told the tale of a footballer (soccer player for the North American crew) who rises to the highest highs as a player, before his career ends and he tries to find his way in the administrative/coaching side. Leonard painted a beautiful portrait of a man coming to grips with no longer being the star. It’s a tough road for an athlete to find their competitive days have gone and passed them by, I know from personal experience, and John made our main character such a compelling person that you want to know more, you want to see what happens. This is ‘Doggem’ on a football pitch.
What I didn’t like: While I did like the tie-ins from the other stories I’ve read, I wished there was a bit more. I liked the book and the ending was great, but I wished for more of the Scaeth stuff to arrive. I feel like we could be in for a part two of sorts with this character and if so, then my minuscule annoyance would be moot.
Why you should buy it: Leonard has truly created a grand and engrossing world here. With each new release we get things expanded and more and more bits and pieces compelling us to read more.
I’m a big Leonard fan, to the point that Gavin pretty much emails me the review copy as soon as it’s arrived in his inbox, knowing it’ll be jumped to the top of my TBR. Leonard is an outstanding author and I suspect the next few releases are really going to elevate the Scaeth to new proportions.
It’s 1979 and Sammy Rafferty is on the run. From the past. From the police. And, perhaps more importantly, from some rather unfriendly criminal types.
He thinks his football dreams are over, but that might not be the case. He’s run to Burntbridge Lye. A place where dreams don’t always die.
Sammy “the butcher” Rafferty has long since kissed his playing days goodbye. Never kicking a competitive ball again was a hard pill to swallow and he’s not ready for his managerial career to come to an untimely end. The thought of forever being shut out of football makes his heart sink and feet itch.
There isn’t any choice. The cards have been dealt and you have to play the hand you’re given. Sammy grits his teeth and gets on with it. Life settles into monotony and offers only boredom and frustration …until he comes across an old football ground nestled in the back of beyond.
He can almost hear the roar of the crowd as he parks at the gates of the deserted Burntbridge Palmers, a decaying stadium on the outskirts of Bledbrooke Town.
The club that won’t die could be just the place for a man who still has a gleam in his eye. After all, they’re both ghosts that won’t go away.
Steve Stred writes dark, bleak horror fiction.
Steve is the author of three novels, a number of novellas and four collections.
He is proud to work with the Ladies of Horror Fiction to facilitate the Annual LOHF Writers Grant.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
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