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Reviewed by Romuald Dzemo for Readers' Favorite
A delightful blend of crime, coming of age, and psychological thriller, The White Hat Ruffian by James McVan features sophisticated characters and a tightly written plot full of twists. The narrative begins with the protagonist’s backstory with dramatic childhood episodes, a parent arrested, and the uncertainty of life. Little Benjamin McGuire grows up in a dysfunctional family. Abandoned by his father and neglected by his mother, he eventually finds himself navigating the underbelly of the city’s crime world. Follow him through a journey involving drugs, sex, and violence. Can there be a point of redemption for him or will he find himself entrapped in a low-life existence?
Few are those books that inspire empathy while drawing laughter from the reader’s lips at the same time and this is one of the few. James McVan makes readers care about the characters and from the very start of the story they get acquainted with the protagonist’s loneliness and the frustration of not meeting his father because of an arrest. The author weaves the theme of family and relationships brilliantly into the narrative and the conflict develops around the protagonist’s search for meaningful connections and attention. The writing is simply gorgeous and the narrative comes out compellingly in the first person.
The White Hat Ruffian is psychologically appealing, a novel that plunges the reader into the psychic landscapes of the protagonist, emotionally charged and filled with adventure. There is a deep sense of humanity that goes along with the masterful character development and readers can’t miss this. I loved everything about this book. I felt I was walking alongside the characters because they are so real and relatable. This is a story with great entertainment and characters that remain with readers long after the tale is done.