by Jeremy Brown

Medallion Press, $14.95, 234 pages

Woody “Woodshed” Wallace is having a banner week:  he has just won his twenty-fourth mixed martial arts fight and is invited to fight in the biggest venue of his life by the owner of a prominent fighting organization, Eddie Takanori.  Things change, however, when he does a favor for an old friend and finds himself mixed up with deadly men who will stop at nothing to make the right man win the fight.  With lives depending on his decision, Woody must choose whether to fight or fall.

Sucker Punch is the kind of novel that sneaks up on a reader (sort’ve like a punch to the gut).  The novel is written from Woody’s point of view in a noir style.  Woody is presented as an interesting character who has had many one too many brushes with illegal activities but isn’t a bad guy, in general, and is very loyal to those he considers friends.  The pacing of the story is nice, as is the mystery that Woody unravels throughout.  This is an absorbing story and a hard book to put down.

Reviewed by Barbara Cothern