September 24

Breathe: Meat Puppet Trilogy Book 1 – David Ince

breathe 2Sebastian suffers from acute asthma. He’s ex-military, but the asthma meant he never saw combat. It’s held him back his whole life, and now he has a chip on his shoulder and a lot to prove. Working as a courier, Sebastian arrives in town with a bag to deliver. He doesn’t know what it contains, he doesn’t want to know, but he’s pretty sure it isn’t drugs or money.

An hour before the hand over he hooks up with Isobel, a weary nurse in need of a ride. But Isobel is slave to a man she calls Mr Punch, the overlord of a criminal empire built upon manipulation, blackmail and fear.

Anonymous and terrifying, Mr Punch is almost legend, haunting the lives of ordinary people, forcing shopkeepers, office workers and nurses to become henchmen and assassins. Believing he is trapped between Mr Punch and his mysterious employer, Sebastian’s best chance of survival is to run. But running isn’t Sebastian’s style. It’s not an option for a man with acute asthma.

My thanks to Caffeine Nights for my review copy.

It is a wonderful thing when you start to read a book and get totally gripped from the first page. Breathe did just that for me and I was devastated when it finished. However, the over riding sensation was one of shock – David Ince is not into sugar coating and the characters in his book get a very rough ride.

Sebastian is our lead character, acting as a courier (of what he prefers not to know) he manages to lose a bag he was meant to deliver to some rather unpleasant ‘businessmen’. This is not the greatest of his immediate problems as someone has locked him into a room and two men are waiting outside to kill him – just as soon as his starring role in a traumatic home-movie has ended.

Falling back on his military training Sebastian manages to escape from the room and soon negotiates 24 hours to track down the lost bag he was due to deliver.  Thus begins a desperate race against time for Sebastian as the consequence of failure will almost certainly result in his death at the hands of the aforementioned ‘businessmen’.

Sebastian will have his work cut out. Although he does not know it, he is a pawn in the game of the notorious ‘Mr Punch’ – a sinister figure who blackmails everyday people turns them into killers and thugs. Mr Punch and his associates have decided that it is time for Sebastian to die and they are not interested in any 24 hour grace period to recover a lost bag.

Breathe is fast paced, action packed and often brutal and unforgiving. I want to rave about how good it was, share certain scenes with you and tell you how I was blindsided by some of the twists. But that would spoil your enjoyment – this is a book you simply have to read for yourself.

Breathe is the first part of the Meat Puppet Trilogy (which is quite possibly the best named trilogy I have encountered for many a long year!)  Having rushed through Breathe I cannot wait to see where David Ince takes us in the next book. I just hope I don’t have to wait too long to read it.

An outstanding 5* read – Breathe is  going top of September’s recommendations and it will take something pretty special to stop me thinking about some of those plot twists!  I cannot recommend this enough – a must read for crime fans.


Breathe is published by Caffeine Nights and is available in paperback and digital formats.

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Posted September 24, 2015 by Gordon in category "5* Reviews