All or Nothing by Ollie Ollerton: A fast-paced, unpredictable and explosive adventure - book review -
Already waging a losing battle against the booze, Alex is facing a new life-and-death war… against an enemy who might be closer to home but is just as ruthless as the foe he daily confronted in the Middle East.
Welcome back to a perilous world of murderous villains and gut-wrenching crime, and a flawed and fascinating hero in the second explosive adventure in a thrilling, all-action debut series from Ollie Ollerton, the former Royal Marine Commando and Special Boat Service team leader who magically morphed into the bestselling author of Scar Tissue, and non-fiction titles Break Point and Battle Ready.
Ollerton, who was also one of the founding Directing Staff on Channel 4’s hit show SAS: Who Dares Wins, is using his post-military life to help others and, tired of reading about ‘heroes who never put a foot wrong,’ he brings us instead an all-too-human and likeable anti-hero that we can all relate to.
Alex Abbott, a troubled veteran of war zones, is estranged from his family, making a living as a hired gun, and is far from perfect. A once-promising student, he drinks too much, can’t hold together relationships with women, and makes big mistakes, but he’s also a man with heart and decency, always ready to risk his life for those he loves and make sure that justice is done.
Still haunted by the recent death of his teenage son Nathan in Iraq, Alex drinks to dull the pain of his memories, not least the tragic death of his young brother Chris in an accident that tore apart the family and led Alex into juvenile crime.
He found new purpose when he joined the Royal Marines who managed to instil in him both discipline and organisation, but now his life is on a downward trajectory again and only one woman, Tess Lacey, the ‘love of his life,’ can stop the slide.
But lawyer Tess is married to someone else and when Alex meets up with her, she has a bombshell revelation about the truth behind the death of his brother all those years ago.
Not only that, Alex has a lead on the killer of Chris and he’s determined to follow it… if only he can stay off the booze long enough to hunt it down.
But the skeletons in Alex’s closet are mounting up faster than the bodies in their bags, and he needs to get his focus back if he's going to get his revenge.
His pursuit takes him to his home town of Burton-on-Trent where Alex infiltrates a local gang and is forced to carry out jobs to maintain his cover. As he gains their trust, he ventures deeper into the organisation, uncovering a long-established international network of rich, depraved thrill-seekers, with a sadistic side-hustle in child trafficking.
Can Alex stay ahead of his quarry and keep those who matter to him safe? The answer will take him into Eastern Europe, and a deadly game of cat and mouse where he will face a terrible choice between his past and his future.
It’s winner takes all and Alex has everything to lose…
Ollerton sets off at breakneck speed in this adrenalin-fuelled and terrifyingly authentic trip to some of the darkest corners of the criminal underworld and, in true commando style, he holds us prisoner in his powerful grip right through to the brilliant, jaw-dropping cliffhanger finale.
At the heart of the twisting, turning and often gut-wrenchingly brutal journey is the unforgettable, complex and compelling Alex, haunted by his past, constantly fighting the demon drink, and filled with the fears insecurities not often associated with tough-nut military men.
With an addictive brand of dark humour to leaven the guns and gore, a broken hero who is always only ever a step away from the grave, and a plot as tightly wound as a coiled spring, this fast-paced, unpredictable ride with Alex is a must for adrenalin junkies!
(Blink Publishing, hardback, £16.99)