Breakout First Novel

The Pits by Greg Smith is definitely an Action/Crime Fiction crossover novel. Starting in the midst of governmental-sanctioned war and moving through the war on crime, it can be nothing but such a knockout combination. Even though Smith deals with seriously horrific happenings, he has found a good balance. Scenery that could turn the stomachs of most, is treated with tact and heart-felt respect, but still manages to get the message across to readers. I have to say that for me, as an animal lover and rights activist, it is an added bonus that the author is donating a large percentage of proceeds from the sales to aid the battle against dog fighting. If the book were horrid, this might sooth my aching mind a bit, but luckily, the novel is a wonderful accomplishment.

The main characters, Captain Kramer and Corporal Shadow are a great match. The connection between these two is clearly strong and dominates the tale by lending a feeling of complete integrity to the piece. Readers will find that events and periods are painted vividly and succinctly. Like a well-oiled machine, Smith’s work trudges on through the worst of times, yet maintains the best of attitudes. As I said, Smith paints clear and precise images of events and times, but not individuals. In many tales, allowing the landscape to overshadow the characters would leave the storyline lacking connectivity and the personal imagery would be sorely missed. However, Smith’s work is not ‘most stories’. The fact that individuals are not completely in focus adds more focus to the story and its events. Again, the author has managed the balancing act with nary a word out of place.

The plot is well thought out and transitions smoothly from each locale and happening. The violence of war and blood-sport are difficult for some readers, myself included, to get past, but this story is worth it and the scenes are treated with care and precision. Some coarse and vulgar language is included in the book, but only when fitting the tale’s direction. Well written, The Pits places its focus where needed the most- on the story.

by C.M. Truxler, Book Reviewer

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