Arabesque – Colin Mulhern

“Be the best. 
It was a philosophy her dad had taught her. Her mother might have been content that amy was healthy, happy, comfortable and doing well, but there were occasions when her dad would check that they were alone and quietly say, ‘Sometimes, Amy, there’s no prize for second place. Do you know what I mean?’”

Mia and Amy are gymnastics partners; in training together for many years, the two have become best friends. Amy’s on the road to Olympic glory but missed out by a few months for the most recent competition. She has always been told to be the best by her father, who loves her but is never home. So when a botched kidnapping goes wrong and the girls are thrust into the arms of a local arms dealer Amy knows that she has to do what her father taught her. She has to be the best and get her and her best friend out of the criminal underworld they have found themselves involved in. 

Wow! Arabesque… where do I begin?! A brilliant book that gives a fascinating and terrifying look at the world in which we live. It after the initial build up it is hard to put this book down, because trust me, you’ll worry about what will happen if you do! 
Amy has found herself trapped; from a morning at the gym training, her life has been turned upside down for simply being in the papers that day. Her and Mia have some serious bad luck that gets the notice of head gangster, Mr Galloway. He soon realises that there’s more to Amy than just being a rich gymnast and figures she’s might have had some training in more advanced combat than what is average for a 15 year old girl. After moving Mia to the house of hell he threatens Amy, using Mia, and forces her to join him in his criminal activities. 
I loved each and every aspect of this criminal underworld and just how right Colin Mulhern sounded in his descriptions of it. The place where Amy is kept is like a palace and she was fine but in sharp contrast the place where Mia is pretty much locked up is awful and made my skin crawl. I could really see this being how a major player in the criminal underworld conducts his businesses; if they do exist! I can seriously see this book being part of a TV series or a film about gangsters and a criminal underworld and think it would make a brilliant watch! 
I liked the characters, even though there wasn’t much depth to a lot of them. Amy and Mia were close and you could tell the connection they had to each other was strong. Mr Galloway was interesting and I liked having a little bit of background to him, knowing his military connections and the reasoning behind what he does, even if they aren’t good reasons. Michelle was kinda annoying, I got the feeling that she was kinda put there to act as a deterrent, the reader is meant to assume something about her that’s not true and if it wasn’t for this she wouldn’t really be there, but I guess she was also needed to settle Amy in to life at the mansion. There were a lot of other characters but some I can’t really go into because it will ruin the story, others were just there. I do think there needed to be a little more knowledge given, like for example with Kyle, I wanted to know why he was doing what he was doing, how he got to where he did. 
Arabesque is a fast, action packed crime book but it only gets that way about half way through, the first half of the book is slower and gives quite a bit of background, which is all needed to understand why the characters act in the way they do. The third person voice gives a little more distance to the characters and makes it so you feel like you are watching them and I really enjoyed what it added to the book. I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are a reader who enjoys contemporary books and doesn’t necessarily want there to be romance involved. 
Arabesque will be published on September 1st by Catnip Publishing. My copy was received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher. 
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