Originally posted here.
An adrenaline-fuelled tale of mercenaries vs. mafia.
Full Disclosure: This review was a reciprocal review with the author JDT. Happily, before I agreed to the review, I’d already read through this serial to-date and enjoyed the hell out of it, so conflicts of interest are few, here!
An exciting page-burner, ‘The Darker Side of Paradise’ brings modern action-crime-drama to the web serial world. When a small team of mercenaries profiting from criminal enterprise in near-lawless Sierra Leone get caught between much larger and more powerful powers-that-be, a desperate group of survivors take the fight back to the untouchable. Packed with exciting gunplay and solid dialogue, JDT proves he can write fun, adrenaline-fueled action scenes.
The work is in occasionally sore need of an editor, with occasional doubled or dropped words, but the prose is solid and the dialogue snappy. Combat is visceral, and violence and wounds are treated realistically but without focusing too much on the bloody aftermath. Sierra Leone’s underbelly is presented with unflinching honesty, both in the humdrum and extraordinary.
Content advisory: There is both sex and violence in this story, but neither are gratuitous or even particularly explicit. It’s a good balance between showing the underbelly and wallowing in the gutter.
Overall: This is a solid, exciting tale of mercenaries fighting for survival, and then revenge, against the criminal groups that slaughtered their friends and destroyed their life. The action scenes are gritty, pulse-pounding fun, the dialogue holds up well, and while occasional proof-reading and editing mistakes trip the reader up, the momentum will carry you through.