Beer, Balls and the Belgian Mafia

Fiction - General
135 Pages
Reviewed on 05/27/2014
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Michael McManus for Readers' Favorite

The coal mines in the town of Worksop, England have closed, leaving the local economy in a downward spiral. The spirit of the population has decayed; crime and drug abuse are on the rise. Vincent McLean, a former resident of the town, who spent several years in America amassing a small fortune and making important connections, has developed a vision for reinvigorating the town and restoring it to what he remembers as a great town to grow up in. He convinces two other former residents, Ricky Larwood and Samantha Harding, to return with him to help found a new company called “TATM”, the meaning of which McLean seems reluctant to reveal.

Vincent’s plans for the town run in two directions. He has already bought the old brewery, which he plans to revive and expand, and he has purchased other properties that are the beginning of a redevelopment project for the town. Ricky, an expert in public relations, is tasked with building a positive image for the brewery, while Sam works closely with Vincent to organize the development projects. The two form a relationship that falls just short of romantic. Everything is going swimmingly until Vincent gets involved in the local football team and a roughneck hooligan named Frankie, a free-wheeling, fun-loving, trouble-making player who is brilliant on the field, but somewhat less than brilliant in his off-field escapades. When Vincent plays fast and loose with some limitations in Frankie’s contract, all hell breaks loose.

Sam Holberry, the author of Beer, Balls and the Belgian Mafia, has put together an excellent story with memorable characters, especially Vincent McLean, who appears to be able to move through any circle of people and take control. The setting of the story is primarily England, but trips to mainland Europe give a variety of locations that add much to the book’s appeal. I am happy to recommend this book to a broad audience.