Last week I was on holiday in Ibiza. I took about a dozen books to read on my kindle. I’ve posted reviews on the eight I managed to finish on Amazon & Goodreads (as Father Ted). A mixed bag of genres and a mixed set of results; par for the course I guess.

One book in particular grabbed my attention. It was ‘Closure’ written by Randall Wood. ‘Closure’ was book #1 in his Jack Randall novels and was published in late December 2009. Even though my review would be lost among the hundreds that the story has received in the intervening period, I needed to record my thoughts and the impression that the book made on me.

There was a lot to like in the way the story was written; the descriptive passages were superbly handled for sure, but it was a little ‘quirk’ at the start of each chapter that encouraged me to write this piece for my blog.

Before moving on to chapter two, I knew there were a minimum of fifty chapters. Of course, I could have looked at the index, but Randall Wood had posted a big clue to save me the bother.

He had researched the figures for the prison population by State. In addition, he knew the proportion of recidivists by State too. In time, I discovered the overall number of prisoners. I also knew that between sixty and seventy percent of them were repeat offenders.

This was in 2009.


‘Closure’ concerned an ex-sniper who had lost his family in a car crash. I won’t give any other details of the story in case you haven’t read the book. Safe to say, Randall Wood exploited the facts of the vast numbers of prisoners, many of whom were in and out of jail all their lives. The prisons were no more than training grounds for the inmates, turning them into more efficient criminals rather than reformed citizens.

Killers languished on Death Row, lodging appeal after appeal; lawyers found all sorts of loopholes to ensure their clients didn’t serve time. Politicians defended the ‘right to bear arms’ despite all the evidence that the easy availability of firearms has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths.

It is now 2015.

Are we any further forward? My new series ‘The Phoenix’ which was launched with the publication of ‘The Olympus Project’ in December 2014 deals with a stone cold killer, Colin Bailey.

In ‘The Final Straw’ the death of his daughter at the hands of a sexual predator tipped him over the edge. Already hell bent on righting the wrongs he perceived had been done to him by his parents; he lashed out in a killing spree that eliminated two gangs of thugs and drug dealers. Ten years later in the sequel ‘Unfinished Business’ he set about removing several more sets of criminals – drug dealers; people traffickers; his daughter’s killer. To Colin Bailey every death seemed righteous.

In the new series he works for a secret organisation ‘The Olympus Project’. The ideals and methods they follow echo those of the terrorist in ‘Closure’.

He targeted people who had used every trick in the book to avoid paying the price for their crimes. He gave their victims ‘closure’ and sought it for himself, to make some sense of his family’s deaths.

How many people like ‘The Phoenix’ are there out there? Will they increasingly take responsibility for righting wrongs, giving closure, while the ‘system’ continues to fail us? Is a man like Colin Bailey ‘The Phoenix’ a necessary evil?

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Categories: The Long Hard Road