Pallbearer by Shaun Baines Review

A Daniel Dayton Thriller - Book Two

Reviewed by Helen Wyatt

This book is the sequel to Woodcutter, the first in the Daniel Dayton thriller series. This story is all about revenge and, as the blurb describes, stars our “anti-hero” Daniel who is trying to rebuild his gangster family from the ground up, following the gritty and gory endings most them supposedly suffered in the last book. This is not my normal genre of novel so I did struggle with it. I didn’t think it was as well written as the first book, and I would say it was a bit of a stretch to keep the story going in places. I also don’t particularly like gore, but even so I thought the book went too far in places also. If that’s your thing then I’m sure you’ll love it!

The story follows Daniel Dayton, a known and well feared gangster, struggling to lead the family following his father’s death. It also sees his try to be a father to his daughter, Eysha, who shows signs of following in his gangster footsteps, even as a young child. Daniel further needs to deal with crazy family and in laws, revelations about family and those he thought he could trust, and a rival gangster family set on flooding the streets with a drug that could ruin everything.

We discover, along with Daniel, the truth about his brother and where he has been. Sibling battles ensue, despite Daniel’s revelation from the previous book that he was in fact adopted. He struggles with his feelings about this still. We encounter the mad Ma Dayton who still tries to control things but fails dramatically and bloodily in the end.

There seemed to be a strange theme of people sticking cutlery into body parts through the book, which I found funny rather than thrilling. It just didn’t seem realistic at all! Daniel’s daughter Eysha is also a bit of a strange character that I couldn’t quite get behind. She is intended to be made from Daniel’s mould, and you see hints of her dramatic and unnerving behaviour through the book. I also struggled with some loose ends in the book which weren’t quite wrapped up, although perhaps that will happen in the next book, if there is one.

Daniel is a funny character really, being a sort of good bad guy. You want to root for him but know that he is seconds away from beating someone to a bloody pulp at any given moment. Daniel however seems to be a product of his terrible upbringing and we learn more about his father’s treatment of both brothers as the story plays out. You do develop some sympathy with Daniel but deep down he’s definitely a bad guy, just one who needs to protect his slightly unhinged daughter. There are twists and turns throughout the book which do keep you guessing, particularly over who can be trusted and who can’t.

If you enjoy crime, gore, thrillers and suspense then this one is probably for you. With gory violence throughout, just make sure you haven’t had your breakfast before you start reading!

Rating: 3/5

RRP: £6.99 (Paperback) / £2.99 (Kindle)

For more information visit Available to buy from Amazon here.

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