First Contract: great stortytelling

FirstContractFINALA discharged military sergeant is sent on a mission to assassinate a target in order to acquire a clean record that was tarnished by executing Iraqi prisoners.

A lot of people will read the above description and think they’ve already read this story many times over with nothing new or original to offer. They may look at it as a simple and predictable plot, but what they may see as a fault I see as a great strength. Sergio Leone similarly took very basic plots in his Spaghetti Westerns and managed to imbue them with enough visual style, detail and character that they became forces to be reckoned with amongst plots that are original, fresh or unpredictable.

Frank Westworth appears to be cut from this same cloth of great storytelling, with a writing style that I’ve found to be wholly unique, and not just for its own sake, but to serve the story. It is a highly visual style where the characters are defined and brought to full bloom by their actions and dialogue rather than laboured physical descriptions and backstory. The sharpness of the dialogue and characterisation, combined with a very tight, almost action-adventure serial-like plotting snowball with great narrative momentum, spear-heading the story forward without having the wonderfully descriptive prose interrupting the pace or bringing it to rest. Everything here moves together, and both the writing and plotting seem to be in harmony, which I think is a very rare gift.

Some people will say that the story moves almost a little too quickly, without any proper or slow build but I honestly preferred this type of suspense and enjoyed it immensely. It’s been a while since I’ve read something as tight, sharp and engaging as this. I live to read books that are this visual and immersive in their storytelling, and so I’m very much looking forward to reading more this author’s work. I think this a great start to a series that I’ll be keeping an eye on.

5starFive Stars

Reviewed by Elias Zanbaka, author of ‘Environmentally Friendly’

First Contract by Frank Westworth is available as an ebook

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