Saturday, May 11, 2013

City Knight by T.A. Webb

Reviewer: Jon Michaelsen
Publisher: A Bear on Books (Feb., 2013)
Pages: 44

Two Broken Hearts; one powerful story. 

I love discovering new authors (new to me, anyway), especially when said writer lives in my hometown and whose stories are set in the city I live and love.
Recently I came across such an author by the name of T. A. Webb, or “Tom” as he soon became known since I reached out to him on Facebook after he posted a message about his upcoming release, “City Knight”. I was instantly interested because I love a good mystery/thriller novel mixed with romance, a genre I’m partial to in my own writing, and the fact the soon-to-be-released novella’s setting was Atlanta sealed the deal for me before its release date.
I marked my calendar, followed every snippet, blurb or excerpt the author shared on social media, waiting with baited breath. I am so glad I did, too. I purchased City Knight the day of its release, but didn’t get to start it until a couple days later. Once I began reading, I knew right away I’d not want the story to end anytime soon.
From the blurb of the novella, the first in a planned trilogy, the author asks, “What happens when two broken men collide?” Could there be a better tag? The protagonist, Marcus, is an ex-cop who long ago buried his heart. He works the streets of his neighborhood in Atlanta to keep them safe in honor of his lost love. Ben is a young man who works the streets to earn money for college. Having experienced a horrible crime, he has simply decided not to care about his life, anyone in it or whatever might happen to him.
City Knight begins with a lurch, grabs on tight and doesn’t let go until your eyes are burning and blurry from reading too fast to find out what’s on the next page, not wanting to put the story down until done. Ben or Benjamin, depending on who’s asking, is on the street one night working and lamenting having one year left letting johns “paw” all over him for cash until he earns his Masters and begins his internship. He’s unaware a stranger has been watching him from these nights, studying him even.
The mystery man turns out to be former cop, Marcus, a self-appointed neighborhood bodyguard, an all-around protector of the worst kind. One night, Marcus is on his watch when he spots Ben leaning against a brick wall, obviously selling himself. Intrigued because the young man reminds Marcus of someone he loved dearly, a man named Jeremy he lost violently not long ago.
The two men, Marcus and Ben, each laden with broken hearts and damaged souls, collide one night when a john tries to snatch Ben into his car. Marcus sees the attack and rushes to Ben’s aid. After taking the young man to a diner to get some food, Marcus convinces Ben to come home with him.
To share more would be revealing too much since City Knight is a short at 44 pages, yet it is a novella tightly written and mesmerizing, a must read. There is mystery, suspense and thrill - and of course a budding, yet fragile romance between the two in this deft novella, leaving readers wanting more.
The first story in the Knight trilogy, City Knight is a force to be reckoned with, but be forewarned the story ends in a stunning, bone-chilling cliffhanger that almost had this reader throwing his e-reader across the room. 


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